With several pets of his own at home, Dakota has plenty of experience under his belt when it comes to caring for animals.
How to Choose Dog Food
Your dog’s nutrition is its primary need. Choosing what you have to feed your dog is one of the biggest decisions you will have to make for its health.
As a dog owner, you want to make the absolute best choice for your furry friend to keep them in good health and give them a long and happy life. However, because of the host of options, dog owners often agonize over which one to select. We are here to help you navigate these options and help you pick the ideal dog food for your pet. Even though the choices are overwhelming, there are many well-formulated options, and you are sure to find something to fit your dog’s needs.
Read the Ingredients
This is the best way to make sure you are selecting the right food for your dog. The best types of dog food have whole food ingredients like vegetables, fresh meats, fruits, and grains. Unlike cats, dogs are not carnivores, so they need a very well-balanced diet.
Make sure the ingredients contain a clear protein source. Meat-based items should be among the first three ingredients. Also, make sure it contains healthy fats such as flax oil, canola oil, and salmon oil which are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Avoid foods that contain excess preservatives and high amounts of empty fillers like wheat and soy.
Consider Your Dog’s Weight and Activity Level
Many dog owners accidentally overfeed or underfeed their dogs. You should know your dog’s weight and know how many calories you will need to feed it. Also, you should note your dog’s activity level. Very active dogs need a lot more calories than more indolent dogs. You need to do this to prevent malnutrition as well as dog obesity.
Wet or Dry Dog Food?
The biggest difference between wet and dry dog food is the water content. While both variants usually contain the same ingredients, dry dog food is less expensive and has the advantage of not needing refrigeration after opening. It also has a longer shelf life due to its low moisture content compared to wet food, which tends to go off much sooner and has to be restocked frequently. However, wet dog food usually has a higher amount of fresh ingredients and is available in an array of flavors and textures to meet your dog’s specific needs and preferences.
When picking out the best dog food, it’s important to look for a formula that is good for your pet’s dental health and doesn’t stick to the teeth. You should try out both variants and see which works for you and which your dog might prefer.
Related: Best Dog Bones
Look Out for "Buzzwords"
Some brands use clever marketing tactics to make their product seem more appealing to potential buyers, and it’s important to understand the wording on dog food packaging to make sure that you’re not wasting your money on something that isn’t what it claims to be.
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If a wet dog food variant claims that 90% of its total product is composed of protein, it isn’t factoring in the water content, which can significantly reduce the nutritional value of the food.
You also might want to watch out for keywords like ‘dinner’ in the dog foods which usually means that they are packed with other ingredients that can lower the product’s total protein content significantly.
Try Out Samples
Many companies offer samples or refund guarantees to ensure that the formula is a good match for your pet. It is a good idea to try out different options and see how your dog likes them or reacts to them before settling on a choice. Your dog might have a food allergy or have an aversion to certain ingredients.
If you’re unsure whether your dog is allergic or intolerant to certain foods, look out for signs like excessive licking, diarrhea, vomiting, or any other peculiar symptom that might warrant a visit to the vet. Do not be in too much of a rush when deciding on the best dog food for your four-legged friend.
Consider Your Particular Dog Breed
Not all dogs should follow the same diet because different breeds do well with different ingredients. While the type of dog food you choose will vary with your pet’s age, the breed is an important consideration to make when picking out the best option for your furry friend. Your husky might not need to be on the same diet plan as your neighbor’s terrier. Research your dog’s breed to figure out what you should be looking for when you read ingredients and choose between wet and dry dog food.
Are you feeding a puppy?
Puppies require different foods from adult dogs. Their food is very vital to their growth and development. Thankfully, many dog companies formulate food for dogs at this stage of their life. If you are feeding a puppy, make sure you choose puppy food or food safe for all stages of a dog’s life.
Carefully Transition Your Dog Between Foods
If you’re switching from one dog food brand to another, it’s important to implement the changes gradually to avoid any digestive health issues. Ideally, you should transition between foods over one to two weeks to give your dog time to adapt to the new variant. Slowly add in the new food until you have completely replaced the old one. Keep an eye on your dog’s bowel movement to ensure its stomach is tolerating the change.
Switch up your dog's food over time
Experts recommend switching up your dog’s diet every three to six months. Keeping a constant diet for your dog can become boring. It can also lead to allergies and diseases. To keep up your dog’s health, change things up over time.
A dog owner is the best person to decide on the right dog food for their canine best friend. You know you have chosen the best dog food when your dog is happy, active, fit, producing healthy stool, and keeping up a healthy appetite. You should also consult your veterinarian if you run into any problems or if you think your dog has any food sensitivities or allergies.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2021 Dakota Newman