Dog Feeding 101: Choose the Right Food for Your Dog
It can be difficult to sift through all of these options to find a good choice that is healthy, affordable, and, most importantly, appealing to your pet.
You can buy the most expensive pet food and it still won’t give you the guarantee that your pooch will eat it!
On the Internet, you’ll find numerous dog food myths and misinformation about dog nutrition.
Double-checking your sources will help you sort out the information quicker.
Always check to see if the information is supported by a credible source, such as a veterinarian or maybe some scientific studies.
My journey trying to find the best food for my little Lenni was a long one, I’m not going to lie.
As a result, I ended up learning a lot about what’s actually important for your beloved pets and also about identifying marketing strategies from all the different dog food brands out there.
Defining the "Good" in Good Dog Food
The ingredient list on a dog food label does not indicate the quality of the ingredients or where they came from, and some manufacturers split up the ingredients to ensure a more even distribution.
For example, different types of corn can be listed separately, such as flaked corn, ground corn, or kibbled corn.
This reduces the amount of corn on the ingredient list, despite the fact that the amount of corn in the food is high.
Another tricky ingredient is meat.
Because whole meats contain a high percentage of water weight, so the overall percentage of meat after processing is lower than appears.
Meat meal, on the other hand, may sound less appealing, but it contains more chunks of meat than "whole meats" because there is no water weight to throw off the calculation.
While the ingredient list does not provide information about the quality of the ingredients, it does provide information about what is in the food.
This is especially important for dogs who have special dietary needs or allergies, and it is also useful for owners who want to feed their dogs specific fiber, protein, and carbohydrate sources.
Dry vs Wet Dog Food
Let’s say that what matters is the content, not the variety.
Your Fluffy Friend requires high-quality food that meets all of its nutritional needs.
This is why there is really no one-size-fits-all option because each dog is unique!
Individual factors such as age, weight, activity level, and overall health of your furry friend should all be considered when looking for the right food.
The majority of dog owners feed their doggies either dry food (dry kibble) or wet food (canned dog food).
Generally, we could say that it’s all about finding the right balance between high-quality grains and proteins.
It’s very important to remember that not every dog has the same nutritional requirements (or, as I like to say: every doggie is different!)
The primary distinction between wet and dry food is the difference in water content.
Wet food has a high moisture content of 60 to 84%, whereas dry food has a moisture content of 3 to 12%.
This significant difference affects food shelf life because dry food can be stored for significantly longer than wet food, which spoils faster.
There are also significant differences in the number of calories between wet and dry food.
Your canine companion consumes a lot of calories in small amounts when fed dry food.
On the other hand, they must consume a larger portion (twice or thrice as much) of wet food to achieve the same calorific value.
Related: How I Became a Better Dog Owner
Benefits of Dry Food
Because of the high energy content dry food provides, the amount of food you’ll need to meet your Fluffy Friend’s needs will be less.
As a result, dry food is the less expensive option! Another advantage of hard kibble is that it's clean and convenient.
It doesn't smell, you won’t have mushy spills, and if a little bit gets outside the food bowl, it's simple to sweep or vacuum it up.
Also, it’s easier to transport because dogs require smaller quantities and it is easier to stock up on ahead of time.
Benefits of Wet Food
While dry food benefits the owner primarily in terms of cost, cleanliness, and convenience, wet food benefits the dog as well.
If given dog food options, your best friend would probably go for the taste of wet food, simply because it's more yummy to him.
The high water content has a positive effect: because the food already provides the body with a large amount of liquid, wet food is easier to cover a dog's fluid requirements than dry food.
That means that wet food is the better choice for dogs who do not drink enough water during the day!
Is It Possible To Combine Wet and Dry Food?
Because of the mentioned advantages of both dry and wet food, pet parents often think that a combination of the two is the best option.
In theory, there’s nothing wrong with this, but it’s certainly not the best, as you’ll probably end up giving your dog more than what he actually needs.
When it comes to dogs who tend to have tummy issues, their owners should ideally stick to one type of food.
The constant switching between wet and dry food can cause diarrhea or constipation (believe me, been there, done that!).
Combining the two types of food provides no "extra" benefits to your dog's health, because both provide all the important nutrients they need.
So, if you determine that your pooch enjoys the taste of a particular food and tolerates it well, I’d advise you to go ahead and stick with it!
Why Breed and Age Should Influence Your Food Choice
Depending on whether you have smaller or larger dogs, puppies or older dogs, the nutrients it’ll need will vary.
For instance, the probability that a large breed dog suffers from joint or muscle pain is higher than for smaller breeds.
Senior dogs, usually those aged 7 and up, also have different nutritional requirements.
Younger senior dogs may struggle with being overweight, while older senior dogs may struggle with being underweight.
Investigate your dog's breed to see if there are any special nutritional requirements you should be aware of.
Most dog food companies carry great options of foods that are specially formulated for each stage of a dog's life, making it easier to narrow down your options.
If you’re unsure about the best dog food for your dog's life stage, the best thing to do is to consult your veterinarian to determine what stage food is best.
As a general rule, a diet consisting of 70% premium meat and 30% vegetables, as well as high-quality fats and oils, would be ideal.
Grain, preservatives, artificial flavor enhancers, and even sweeteners like sugar have no place in any dog’s diet.
The size of your kibble is also relevant, as you don’t want your doggie to choke or struggle when eating.
Don’t forget that allergies, sensitive stomachs, and dietary restrictions affect both dogs and humans.
It can be difficult to feed dogs who have special dietary requirements.
In this case, your best bet is to seek advice from your veterinarian on the best brands of dog food to help with their condition.
So, What Should I Feed My Dog?
By now we know that every doggie is different!
So some dogs may require more than the recommended amount, while others might require significantly less.
Activity level, time of year, nursing, illness, and other factors can all influence the food choice.
We advise you to "feed the dog in front of you" rather than strictly following the package guidelines that may or may not be exactly what your dog requires.
You’re the one who truly knows your pooch’s likings and the one who can truly determine what food is most suitable.
A quick tip from us: It all comes down to the stool.
If your dog is active and fit, has a healthy appetite and doesn’t have any trouble when going potty, your dog food is most likely working properly.
What type of dog food does your Fluffy Friend like the most?
What works best for you two?
What challenges did you encounter before finding the right choice for your pooch?
Let us know in the comments below!
For now, stay Fluffy!
Looking for some products that could help you out with your training?
Check out our Online-Shop!
Here some useful products in relation to the blog:
Words from our author
As a pet owner, I often found myself in a very frustrating situation: going to the internet and finding multiple unhelpful and redundant articles about the care and training of pets.
My mission is to create a community blog where you can find all types of information, training tips and tricks, focusing on natural and organic ways of pet-owning and training.
Understanding your pet is like understanding a whole new world - and I want us to discover it together!