Choosing the right food for your dog can be an exhausting and complex task. There are hundreds of different dog food brands that present themselves in a variety of forms: it can be dry, wet or raw; it can be presented as kibble, pate, powder or even liquid. And what about non-commercial dog food? While some of us are familiar with the BARF diet, others prefer to cook the food their dogs will eat. The list of alternatives is endless and, as in everything, with the proper knowledge, we can find high quality options that respect and promote the health of our best friends.
There are a few rules when it comes to classifying whether a particular dog food is good or bad.
Let’s start by looking at the ingredients list. It should be very clear: each ingredient should be named and the percentage of each ingredient should be indicated. The order in which each ingredient is shown on the list tells us its quantity. If the first thing that appears on the list is “rice”, we can say that rice is the main component of that particular food. If, however, the terms that are used are not very specific, such as “cereals” or “meat and animal derivatives”, we should assume the worst and choose another brand. These ambiguous terms could refer to a wide range of ingredients of varying quality which makes it impossible to know what your dog is actually eating.
Every quality dog food should contain appropriate levels of protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, such as vitamin A, B, C, D and K and minerals, such as calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, iron, copper, zinc, manganese and selenium. The amount and origin of these components vary greatly throughout most dog food brands and this will influence its quality.
Best tasty dog food brands reviews
One of the best brands available is Orijen. This brand’s food has a high meat content, it is hypoallergenic, its ingredients are natural and its label is clear. The Orijen 80% meat range contains up to 7 meat sources in each variety and 38% protein. The idea behind Orijen is that dogs are essentially unchanged from their ancestors and so should receive a similar diet – plenty of meat, some fruits and vegetables and no cereals at all. This is considered to be a very high quality food.
Acana is also a high quality brand. Such as Orijen, Acana’s grain-free range is built around a very high meat content (although not quite as high as Orijen), a broad range of top-end vegetables, fruits and herbs and zero cereals. Although not all nutritionists agree with this philosophy, nobody can deny that Acana contains an excellent selection of ingredients. This brand is free from all common allergy causing ingredients and artificial additives making them suitable for sensitive dogs.
Best tasting dog food for puppies
When it comes to feeding puppies, the quality of their food is crucial for a balanced and healthy development. Puppies grow extremely fast and, as a consequence, they require a high energy food and a regular increase on the amount that is being offered. This rule also applies to the mother: her dietary needs will increase through the lactation period. Puppies should be introduced to dry food when they’re 5 to 6 weeks old. A bit of water should be added to the food, to make the changing process easier. The puppies should start eating the food, while still taking some milk from their mother. They will need at least 4 small meals per day and over the subsequent days, the puppies will be starting to take more and more solid food while their mother’s milk production begins to decrease. The whole weaning process usually takes around 10 days to complete.
Good quality food, such as Acana or Orijen, should be fed to the puppy, thus making sure he has a healthy and balanced growth rate.
Best tasting dog food for picky eater
If the dog is a picky eater, there are a few rules that can (and should) be followed. Some dogs will eat just about anything they can find. Even a piece of dried old bread can be the most amazing thing ever tasted! However, some dogs will refuse to eat their gourmet and expensive dog food. A dog’s size, breed, and age often dictate whether he adores food or could care less. “Every Labrador who ever lived is food motivated,” you may say. Smaller canines, such as Maltese and Yorkshire Terriers, tend to be more discriminating. Don’t hesitate to visit the vet if your dog has always been a voracious eater and, suddenly, becomes a picky eater. For those who have been this way since they were born, there are a few tricks that you can use. First, you need to decide what will your dog eat and stick to that idea; don’t feed your dog pieces of your own food (who would prefer to eat a dry lettuce salad when there’s a strawberry ice cream available, right?). Your dog should only eat food out of his bowl or food dispensing toy, and should never see food as coming from your plate or from something you’re preparing for yourself.
There are also different food solutions available on the market, specially designed for picky eaters. Royal Canin offers some dog food varieties that meet this criteria.
When it comes to sick or hospitalized animals, they can easily develop food aversion and a generalized lack of appetite. Wet, canned food, such as the Royal Canin’s “Recovery” variety was specially designed to stimulate ingestion.
Best tasting dog food for Chihuahua, Yorkies and other dog breeds
The type of food we choose to feed our dog can also be related to the breed. Smaller breeds will often benefit from a smaller-sized kibble. Breeds such as the Pomeranian, the Chihuahua or the Yorkshire Terrier have very small mouths and, therefore, may struggle to eat a normal-sized grain. If they have a long and abundant coat, like the Pomeranian, the brand may also add some ingredients that are specially used to promote the health and beauty of their skin and hair. High-energy working dogs, such as the Belgian Malinois, may require a food that contains higher levels of protein and calories. Brachycephalic breeds, such as the English and French Bulldog will benefit from a specially shaped kibble, one that doesn’t fall from their mouths so easily while chewing. Springer Spaniels, who are prone to having allergies and gastrointestinal issues, will surely benefit from a hypoallergenic food that also respects the intestinal environment. Since they are also prone to weight gain, the food should help the dog maintain a healthy and adequate weight.
If the dog suffers from a particular pathology, we can also feed him a type of food that is appropriate to his condition. Royal Canin, for example, offers a variety of different solutions. You can find a type of food that is recommended for diabetic dogs, dogs who suffer from cardiac or hepatic problems, dogs with skin and hair problems, dogs who suffer from obesity or kidney issues, dogs with gastrointestinal unbalances, and dogs who possess bone and joints pathologies.
Whether we choose to cook our dog’s food or to buy a commercially available kibble version of it, we need to make sure it suits our dog’s needs. Dogs are not fluffy and fury versions of human beings, they have their own needs and nutritional requirements. Look for clear and concrete terms when looking at the label; prefer foods that have a high-meat content and a low amount of cereals. Be demanding! If we are what we eat, this same principle also applies to dogs.