What Is the Best Food for Your Dog?
When you go to the grocery store, you’re probably overwhelmed with all of the dog foods you can choose from–there’s food for dogs of various ages and with different ingredients and once you figure that all out, you’re forced to choose between wet and dry food! It can definitely stress pet parents out. That’s why we’ve put together this post that’ll give you the skinny on what to feed your dog.
What Should I Look for in a Dog Food?
It’s less important which brand you choose and more important that you find a dog food that uses quality ingredients and meets your dog’s nutritional requirements.
To help you choose one, here are 4 things you’ll want to look for on your dog’s food label:
- Whole Meat or a Named Meat Meal. You want to avoid meat by-products, particularly if the meat isn’t named on the label (beef, for example). You should also avoid meat-and-bone meals.
- Whole Grains, If Grains Are Present. As long as your dog isn’t sensitive to grains, it’s fine to feed him dog foods containing grains. Just make sure to look for whole grains like rice and barley, rather than glutens or other processed products.
- Natural Preservatives. Dog food without preservatives are great, but typically more expensive. If you do buy a dog food with preservatives, look for one that includes natural ones like tocopherols (vitamin E) or ascorbate (vitamin C) and avoid foods with preservatives like BHT, BHA and ethoxyquin.
- Look for the Phrase, “Complete and Balanced.” Unlike most advertising you see on food products, the “Complete and Balanced” terminology actually means something. If you see this label on dog food, it means that the food contains at least the minimum amount of all the nutrients necessary for your dog.
What Do I Need to Know About Age-Specific Dog Food?
The Association of American Feed Control Officials labels dog food based on nutritional profiles. There are 3 profiles: Growth & Reproduction, Adult Maintenance, and All Life Stages.
Growth & Reproduction dog foods contain more vitamins, minerals, and calories to meet the needs of growing puppies, as well as pregnant and nursing pups. Adult Maintenance dog food meets the nutritional requirements of adult dogs. All Life Stages dog food meets the requirements of puppies, adult dogs, and pregnant/nursing dogs.
When selecting a dog food for your dog, make sure you choose a food that meets its nutritional requirements based on the correct stage of life.
Which Is Better–Wet or Dry Dog Food?
Either dog food can provide your dog with the nutrition it needs, however, in some cases, wet food may be a better bet. In particular, wet food is a good choice for dogs that:
- Don’t drink enough water
- Live in hot climates
- Have missing teeth, poorly aligned jaws, or smaller mouths
- Can’t smell well, due to old age
- Are ill or lacking in appetite
Dry kibble, on the other hand, tends to be cheaper, lasts longer, and is far more convenient. So, if your dog doesn’t fit into one of the criteria we mentioned above, your best bet might be to feed your dog dry food regularly and wet food just on occasion or to mix them together regularly.
How Much Should I Feed My Dog?
Dog food labels specify the amount of food you should give your dog, but remember, they only offer a guideline. The best way to know for sure how much food your dog should be getting is to ask us at your next checkup!
To schedule your dog a nutritional checkup at our Columbus office, please call 614.268.8666 during normal business hours. For your convenience, we’re open until 6:30 Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays; 7:30 on Tuesdays and Thursdays; and 3:30 on Saturdays.