In this third and final part of our dog food study series, we will share what we learned about the different types of food available and the pros and cons of each. (We will not make brand suggestions).
Dry vs canned
We’ve all been told that dry is better because it helps keep the dog’s teeth clean, right? Well, many pet nutritionists suggest that canned food may be better because it contains fewer preservatives, less grain (usually), and more moisture. The overall consensus seems to be that canned foods are best used as a supplement to a good-quality dry food.
Supermarket brands vs. Premium brands
Yes, supermarket brands are usually cheaper, but you are also paying for a lot more fillers and lower quality meat products. It is agreed by Pet-nutrition experts that food made from top-grade ingredients including meat, whole grains, and vegetables, will provide a healthier coat, less digestive problems, and firmer (and less plentiful) stools because they are absorbing more nutrients and consuming fewer cups.
Life Stages Food (Puppy, large adult, Senior)
The only true designations are puppy and adult (according to the Association of American Feed Control Officials). Products labeled ‘senior’ or by breed (or size) only mean that they meet the requirements for regular adult food. There is no regulation for any other term used on dog food packaging. So, don’t waste money buying a different food for every different breed in your household!!
Raw food is the most natural dog food because it is the closest thing to what an animal would eat in the wild; it doesn’t matter if it is prepackaged, frozen raw foods, or homemade food. This is a good option, but both an expensive and time-consuming one and one which if you choose to do, you need to make sure you are providing all the necessary nutrients. It does require some research and recipes!
This simply means that grains have been replaced with other carbohydrate sources.
Also, nutritionists recommend changing the food every two to three months (unless your dog has allergies) and to alternate between dry and canned food. Wait….What?? Read that sentence again. Dog food companies will have you believing differently of course because they want brand loyalty. Think about it, if you feed a dog the same thing day after day, changing food will likely cause gastro upsets. BUT, if you change the food regularly (allergies and medical conditions taken into consideration of course), the dog’s system will be use to different foods and not upset by change. Besides, dogs are scavengers. They like variety. How boring to eat the same kibble day in and day out. This is just opinion of course, but our preference is to change it up for our own personal dogs and to add things like carrots, green beans, or a few apple pieces, (etc.) to the bowl.
So, there it is, all that we learned. Hope it has helped guide you in your selection of foods for your own best friend. We encourage you to write down notes for yourself to take along when you shop for food and compare labels. Good luck!