Choosing the best diet for your dog can be tough, there are hundreds of dog food brands out there and it can be difficult to distinguish which is high quality. The first thing to do is to consider what your dog’s diet needs are here we have some factors to consider for choosing the right dog food:
- Medical conditions – conditions such as diabetes or allergies need to be considered when finding the right dog food. It is always best to consult your vet or research what may be suitable.
- Age – Some dog foods are specially formulated for older dogs that need extra joint care or puppies that need the extra calories!
- Nutrition – all dog food will vary in nutrition with some containing more veg and others more meat and some a mix of both! So best to check the label and pick one that is good for your pet.
- Breed – there are many breed specific diets out there, some specially formulated for smaller or larger dogs.
- Activity level – If you have a working or very active dog you will need a dog food that is very high in energy for maintenance. If your dog is less active, you will be best to stick with something low calorie.
What makes good dog food?
Good dog food is food that contains good quality meat and vegetables at a good percentage. Dogs are omnivores and so can digest a wide range of foods; however they are most adapted to a meat-heavy diet, so we would always recommend checking the meat content first. For a good quality dog food, you want this to be around 40-80% meat content in the ingredients section. A good fibre source such as fruit, veg and grain is also benefited. Fibre aids digestion and increases your dog’s gut-friendly bacteria. Fruit and veg also provide your dog with beneficial vitamins, such as Vitamin C and A.
What is Grain free dog food?
Grain-free and Gluten-free dog foods have become a big selling point in recent years, but why? The main reason for the change is down to food allergies become more common. Foods high in complex carbohydrates and cereals can be hard on your dog’s digestive system as they are not designed to break these down efficiently as their digestive systems are more adapted to a carnivore diet. This means these fibres remain mainly undigested, which over a long period of time can cause irritation to the digestive system resulting in bowel inflammation, food allergies/sensitivity and obesity.
What is raw dog food?
A raw dog food diet is mostly compromised of raw/uncooked meat, whole bones, fruit, veg, eggs and dairy. There are also many treat brands that have all natural ingredients like Good Boy Chewy Chicken Fillets are a good example as they are 100% chicken breast. There are many claimed benefits of the raw diet which include:
- Healthier coat and skin
- Boosted energy
- Improved dental health
- Strengthened immune system
- Reduced allergy symptoms
- Improved digestion
- Clarity on ingredients
Raw dog food is intended to take your dog back to its wolf routes, and although the diet does seem to have many health benefits, there is not much conclusive evidence to support these claims as of yet.
How can I tell if my dog is a healthy weight?
It can be tough to calculate how much each individual dog needs to happily sustain a healthy weight. There are many factors to consider such as weight, age and activity level. The best rules to go by are as follows:
- You should be able to feel the ribs with light pressure
- They should have a tucked stomach when looked at from the side on
- When viewed from the top there stomach should be narrower than the hips and chest
- Check the average weight for their breed (males and females can vary as well as working and non-working breeds)
- If you are unsure, check with your vet
Our favourite dog food brands:
- Free from junk and fillers such as artificial flavours, colours and preservatives
- No hidden ingredients
- 100% natural
- Steam cooked to keep fresh
- Responsibly sourced ingredients
- Added beneficial vitamins and minerals
- Free from preservatives, colours and flavourings
- Free from cereals and fillers