How to Choose the Right Food for Your Dog

how to choose the ideal dog food
With all the dog foods to choose from on the market, it may not be easy to decide exactly which one is right for your dog. When it comes to feeding your pet, it is not always clear what brands offer the most nutrition and the best taste for your dog. There are some experts that say not to offer your pet a variety of foods, and others that state that you should allow them to have a balanced diet with different brands. Since, we all don’t have the time to cook our pets a home cooked meal, when we choose a dog food, we want to make sure that we are choosing one that offering them the nutrition they need to grow and stay active.

My Recommendations of the best dog foods

But what exactly should we be looking for when it comes to choosing the best food for our pets. This article will focus on choosing a brand and option for pooches and pups of all ages, breeds, and lifestyles. It will help you find a pet food brand that is affordable, healthy, and something that your pampered pooch will enjoy.

dog and foods

What makes good dog food?

Many dog owners purchase wet food or processed kibble for their pets. They may not look too appealing, but they are packed with all the nutrients that your dog needs. Many of the quality commercial brands have gone through extensive testing and are under high regulations. Dogs are not only carnivores and that means that they can derive much of their nutrients from fruits, grains, and vegetables. Therefore, these are not considered simply fillers and should be included in your dog’s food. They offer essential minerals, vitamins, and fiber.

When you are considering a dog food, you want it to contain meat, grains, fruits, and vegetables. Some of the best foods contain versions of these ingredients that are of a high-quality and easy for your dog to digest. Most commercial brands are formulated to meet minimum nutritional requirements, but not every dog has the same needs when it comes to nutrition.

Puppies have different nutritional needs than adult dogs. Choosing the best puppy food for your pup is important. Therefore, you want to ensure that you choose a brand especially designed for puppies. Young dogs should be fed an “all stages” brand. Many nutritional diseases are found in dogs that are fed homemade diets that are imbalanced.

Developed countries have regulations on their commercial dog food products that force them to meet nutritional requirements for your pet. Therefore, many of these types of diseases are not found in developed countries. Feeding your pet a diet that is predominantly meat or exclusively one type of food can cause issues and deficiencies. Many of the foods that we eat are unhealthy and potentially deadly to our four-legged friends. Therefore, it is vital to ensure that your pet eats a commercially produced and regulated dog food.

Dispelling the Dog Diet Myths

There is a lot of information available on the internet regarding dog’s diets. The main issue with many of these sites, is that the information is not backed up with science. These diets may not be tested and therefore, not dependable. For example, there is a huge craze regarding the raw food diet. However, raw meats may contain pathogens and are dangerous and can be deadly to man’s best friend. This section will work to dispel some of the dog diet myths out there, to ensure that you are choosing the right diet for your pet.

1. Animal byproducts

There are many people concerned about their dogs eating animal byproducts. You may have seen the commercials that highlight the use of animal byproducts in certain dog foods. However, high-quality animal byproducts are healthy. These may include the entrails and organs and contain more of the nutrients that your dog needs, than the muscle and meat parts that humans consume. The byproducts are regulated and don’t include hair, hooves, contents of the intestines, or waste.

2. Pass on Pork

There have been some myths that state that you shouldn’t feed your dog pork. Many commercial dog food companies pass on the pork, so it seems like you shouldn’t feed pork to your pooch. However, this is likely because so much of the pig is used in human consumption. A veterinarian for Eagle Pack stated that pork is a protein that is highly-digestible for pets and is considered a strong source of amino acids. It is a unique protein source that not all pets are exposed to, but is recommended, because of its low-fat content compared to beef. Since there is only about a third of the fat, it is less likely that eating pork will lead to pancreatic diseases. It is definitely not a great product for raw food diets, because of the possibility of trichinosis from uncooked pork.

3. Choosing meat over meat meal

When you are looking at the ingredients in your dog’s food, you may see that meat meal is listed ahead of meat and think to yourself that this is not a healthy choice. However, if you are aiming to offer your dog the most nutrients, the meat meal listed first is the right choice. Since the ingredients are listed in order that descends according to their weight, you will see the most prominent ingredients first. The weight also includes the water. So, if you are reading that your dog food contains chicken, it is including the weight of the water too. Chicken meal has the fat and the water removed. So, even though it is not as heavy as the chicken, it contains a higher percentage of the protein your pet needs.

4. Don’t change your dog’s food

Whoever started this rumor is a marketing genius. It is a fantastic way to keep your customers loyal to your brand. However, it is true that a dog who grows up on a limited diet, would prefer not to try new foods. However, if your dog is given a wide variety of dog foods, to begin with, they will benefit from the variety. When looking at it from a nutritional stance, dogs would crave the nutrients from new foods, if their current diet lacks them. Changing up your dog’s diet pretty early on will not only make it easier for you to ensure that your favorite family member has a balanced diet, but it can offer them much-needed variety.

Snacks Great for your Dog

There are some foods that you can supplement your dog’s diet with that will work to add the nutrients that their dog food may be missing. Instead of giving your dog pet snacks or table scraps, supplement their meals with these snacks. Not all human food is good for your pet, since they digest food differently. They all help to offer your dog a balanced diet and can be eaten by dogs of all ages.

Apples

Apples as ingredients in pet food

Apples can give your dog vitamin C and A and are high in fiber. Once you remove the core and the seeds, it provides a perfect snack and is much less expensive than those pricey pet snacks

Blueberries

Blueberries as ingredients in pet food

Blueberries are antioxidant-rich and considered a superfood.

Pears

Pears as ingredients in pet food

Pears are high in fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, and Copper. You will want to remove the core and the seeds and slice it up, so it is easier for them to eat.

Carrots

Carrots as ingredients in pet food

Carrots are high in beta-carotene and fiber. They provide a snack that is low in calories and fun for your pooch to eat. It can work great to help keep their teeth clean and improve their breath.

Cucumbers

Cucumbers as ingredients in pet food

Cucumbers are a great snack for dog’s overweight. They work to boost energy levels and have little or no oils, fats, or carbs. They also are full of vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin B1, potassium, magnesium, biotin, and copper.

Dog Food Recommendations

Now that you know what to look for when purchasing dog food, here are a few recommendations to give you an idea what to look for. It will save you time in the grocery store, pet store, or Amazon.com, because you won’t have to look at the ingredients in every bag they offer. There are the top dog food brands that you should buy for your dog.

1. Nutro dog food

Nutro Wholesome Essentials is specially designed for older dogs. The first ingredients listed in the chicken flavor is chicken, rice, chicken meal, and split peas. This brand of food also has apples, carrots, blueberries, and sweet potatoes. The lamb flavor’s first ingredients are deboned lamb, lamb meal, rice, bran, and oatmeal. The bags come in several sizes and the 30-pound bag runs between $ 40 – $ 60 from most retailers. The dog food has been specially designed to maintain your dog’s cognitive health, and provide them with essential antioxidants to support their aging immune system.

Nutro also creates dog food specially designed for puppies and adult dogs. They concentrate on providing the right nutrients to your dog, no matter what life stage they are in. They also provide nutritional snacks and dog treats.
Things We Like
  • Use all-natural ingredients, wide variety of options designed for pets of all ages, offers options for dogs with allergies, such as, grain-free options
Things We Didn't Like
  • Higher priced option

2. Fromm Family dog food

Fromm Family Foods Dog Food is designed to offer your dog the nutrition they need throughout the many life stages. The food comes in various formulas for puppies, large breeds, seniors, and weight management. The sizes come in 5 pounds, 15 pounds, and 33 pounds bags. The price ranges from between $ 25 and $ 30 for the 5 pounds bag to around $ 75 or $ 80 for the 33 pounds bags. The 15 pounds bag is priced around the same as similar brands bags that are between 25 pounds and 30 pounds. They also make treats for puppies and adult dogs. The Adult Gold formula includes duck, chicken meal, chicken, and brown rice as the first few ingredients. It also includes potatoes, lamb, cheese, carrots, lettuce, and celery..

Things We Like
  • Uses variety of healthy proteins, enhanced with probiotics to help with digestion, adds salmon oil to enhance your dog’s coat
Things We Didn't Like
  • Extremely pricey, only three sizes sold with 33 pounds as the largest

3. Iams Dog Food

Iams Proactive Health Adult MiniChunks Dog Food is a smart choice for your active adult pet. It is priced around a dollar a pound, so it is in the mid-range for it’s cost. Most Iams products include beet pulp, which is good for the dog’s intestinal health, and helps them absorb the ingredients, chicken, to maintain their muscle structure and offer them the protein they need, and corn, to help them maintain their energy levels and digest carbohydrates. Many of the brands also include fruits and vegetables to offer vitamins and antioxidants, and salmon and ocean fish, for the omega-3 fatty acids and rich vitamins.

Things We Like
  • More affordable option, uses real chicken as #1 ingredient, offers no wheat, soy, or fillers, comes in many options to meet your canine’s needs.
Things We Didn't Like
  • More affordable option, uses real chicken as #1 ingredient, offers no wheat, soy, or fillers, comes in many options to meet your canine’s needs.

4. Diamond Dog Food

Diamond Naturals Dry Food for Adult Dogs utilizes real lamb protein as a high-quality source of protein for your pet. It includes omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids to help with your dog’s skin and coat. The lamb and rice formula doesn’t include wheat, soy, or corn and is enhanced with probiotics and superfoods. They make a variety of flavors, including beef and rice and chicken and rice. The 40-pound bag runs between $ 30 and $ 40. The first few ingredients include lamb meal, white rice, barley, peas, millet, and chicken fat. They offer a grain-free option as well. There collection has created an ideal brand for puppies, adult dogs, pregnant or nursing dogs, and senior dogs of all breeds and levels of activity.
Things We Like
  • Wide variety of options, use of real ingredients, mid-range pricing, offer quality assurance
Things We Didn't Like
  • Higher priced than some other brands

5. Blue Dog Food

Buffalo Blue Life Protection Formula Adult Dry Dog Food is an ideal choice for your pooch. It is one of the best dry dog food options. Blue offers various natural flavors for dogs of assorted sizes. They make a healthy weight chicken and brown rice formula for dogs who are overweight and special dog food recipes for toy breeds and large dogs.

A 30-pound bag of Blue dog food is between $ 45 and $ 55 dollars. The formulas are designed to maintain and build strong muscles, provide protein for an active life, and promotes joint health. With the inclusion of minerals and antioxidants, it helps to boost your dog’s immune systems and the omega 3 fatty acids provide for a healthy coat.

Things We Like
  • Includes glucosamine for joint health, optimal options designed for various lifestyles
Things We Didn't Like
  • Includes glucosamine for joint health, optimal options designed for various lifestyles

6. Purina Dog Food

Purina One SmartBlend True Instinct Turkey and Venison Formula Dry Dog Food is a high-quality, but low-budget choice for your pet. Purina One includes Turkey, corn gluten meal, soy flour, and beef fat as its first few ingredients. It includes wheats, grains, rice, and soy. The 27.5-pound bag is between $ 25 and $ 35. The turkey and venison formula uses turkey as the first product and real venison. It is twice as meaty and tender as the lamb and rice formula. Purina offers a wide variety of formulas for pups to senior dogs. Purina’s Pro plan offers more vegetables and fruits than their other product lines. They offer snacks, jerky, and meal enhancements.
Things We Like
  • Offer a variety of options for different lifestyles, sizes, and life stages, lower price range
Things We Didn't Like
  • Don’t use many fruits and vegetables in their main line of products

7. Pedigree Dog Food

Pedigree Complete Nutrition Adult Dry Dog Food offers a low-cost option for dog owners. This lower costing option includes vegetables in their formula. The first few ingredients in this formula are whole grain corn, meat and bone meal, corn gluten meal, and animal fat. Out of the options given in this review, this is the least expensive, and also not as healthy as the alternatives. It uses chicken by-product meal which offers some of the needed nutrients and forgoes the natural meat choices. However, research shows that the meat meals are still rich in nutrients. However, the main ingredient is whole grain corn, which is not the ideal choice for your pet.

Things We Like
  • Offers some nutritional value for your pet, low cost option
Things We Didn't Like
  • Lack of meat, use of corn as the main ingredient
HINT: If you choose this brand for your dog, it is a good idea to supplement their meals with fruit and vegetable snacks and meat.

Serving Size Chart

When you are choosing the right type of dog food for your pet, this guide will give you the information that you need, so you know what to look for in your dog’s food. It is important to make sure that your dog has a balanced diet. Now, all you need to know is how much to feed them each day to ensure they have a balanced diet. The following chart can help you with that:

Pooch Size Serving Size per day
10 lbs. or less ½ cup to 1 cup
10 lbs. to 20 lbs. 1 cup to 1 ½ cups
20 lbs. to 30 lbs. 1 ½ cups to 2 cups
30 lbs. to 40 lbs. 2 cups to 2 ½ cups
40 lbs. to 60 lbs. 2 ½ cups to 3 ½ cups
60 lbs. to 80 lbs. 60 lbs. to 80 lbs.
80 lbs to 100 lbs. 80 lbs to 100 lbs.
You want to make sure that your best furry friend is healthy and active, so they can have a long life. Take care of your pet by feeding them right. This guide can help you do just that.

Conclusion

It is important that you feed your pet a balanced diet that includes more than just meat. Many pet owners think that their dog should only eat meat and that any dog food is good enough. Treat your favorite family member with a diet that is balanced and includes fruits and vegetables. They deserve to have a dog food that works to provide them with the most nutrients and variety of healthy foods. This review guide offers you with the information that you need to ensure they have a healthy diet for a long and healthy life.

Author Ratings
  • Nutro Wholesome Essentials
  • Fromm Family Foods Dog Food
  • Iams Proactive Health Adult MiniChunks Dog Food
  • Diamond Naturals Dry Food
  • Buffalo Blue Life Protection Formula Adult Dry Dog Food
  • Purina One SmartBlend True Instinct Turkey and Venison Formula Dry Dog Food
  • Pedigree Complete Nutrition Adult Dry Dog Food
4.5

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