When it comes to selecting the best dog food for their pet, dog owners are faced with an overwhelming array of options. So, our Tucson vets are here to assist you in narrowing down your options and finding healthy, affordable, and appealing dog food for your pet.
What's The Best Dog Food?
The majority of dog owners feed their pets dry kibble or canned wet food. Commercial dog foods of high quality are strictly regulated and have undergone rigorous testing by veterinary specialists. The healthiest, vet-recommended dog foods will include meat, vegetables, grains, and fruits. These non-meat foods are not just fillers; they can also be a good source of vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
Your dog's nutritional needs should be met by most dog foods. Most commercial brands are specially formulated to meet at least the basic nutritional needs of dogs. Not every dog, however, has the same nutritional requirements. Keep this in mind when shopping for dog food.
Dogs need a variety of nutrients in varying amounts throughout their lives. Because a puppy's nutritional needs, for example, differ from those of an adult dog, it is best to feed a puppy formula or an "all life stages" food.
How to Read a Dog Food Label
Reading the label is one way to tell the difference between good and bad dog food. The FDA requires dog food labels to include eight key pieces of information, and individual states may have their labeling requirements:
- Product name
- Net weight of the product
- Name and address of the manufacturer
- Guaranteed Analysis
- List of ingredients
- Intended animal species (i.e. dog or cat)
- Statement of nutritional adequacy
- Feeding guidelines
The product's name tells you a lot about what's inside the can or bag. The term "beef" implies that at least 70% of the total product must be beef. In contrast, the terms "beef dinner," "beef entrée," and "beef platter" only require that beef make up at least 10% of the total product. "With beef" requires only 3% of the total product to be beef, whereas "beef flavor" simply means that the product contains enough beef to flavor it (less than 3%). The same is true for other named ingredients like "chicken."
The ingredient list on a dog food label does not indicate the quality of the ingredients. To achieve a more even distribution, some manufacturers divide the ingredients. Flaked corn and ground corn, for example, can be listed separately. Because whole meats have a high water content, the overall percentage of meat after processing is lower than it appears. Meat meal, on the other hand, has a less appealing name but contains more meat than "whole meats."
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.
Dog Food For Small and Large Breed Dogs
The nutritional needs of small and large breed dogs differ. Large-breed dogs frequently require large-breed dog food because they are more prone to musculoskeletal issues. Small breed dogs have special nutritional requirements and can choke on large kibble. Examine your dog's breed to see if there are any special nutritional needs to be aware of.
Dog Food For Puppies
The nutritional requirements of dogs change over time. Puppies have different nutritional needs than adult dogs, and senior dogs have special nutritional needs. The majority of dog food companies sell puppy foods that are specifically designed for each stage of a dog's life. Consult your veterinarian to determine the appropriate stage food for your dog.
The best food for your puppy is determined by its size and breed. Some puppies do well on both "puppy food" and "for all life stages" food. For puppy feeding advice, always consult your veterinarian.
Dog Food For Senior Dogs
Senior dogs, usually those aged 7 and up, have different nutritional requirements. Many older dogs prefer wet food, while others may require their food to be warmed to enhance the aromas. Your veterinarian can advise you on the best dog food for an elderly pet.
Dog Food For Dogs With Special Dietary Needs
Allergies, sensitive stomachs, and dietary restrictions affect both dogs and humans. It can be difficult to feed dogs who have special dietary requirements. Your best bet is to seek advice from your veterinarian on the best dog food to help with their condition.
Wet and Dry Dog Food
To make dry dog food, ingredients such as meat and grains are mixed and cooked. The main benefit of dry dog food is that it does not require refrigeration. The best dry food for your dog depends on his or her dietary needs. Consult your veterinarian or a veterinary nutritionist to determine the best option for your pet's health.
Wet dog food is an excellent substitute for dry dog food. Wet food has more fresh meat, poultry, fish, and animal byproducts, as well as more textured proteins derived from grains. Although canned dog food has a long shelf life, it must be refrigerated once opened. The best-wet food for your dog is determined by its age, breed, and any special dietary needs or allergies.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.