There are so many types of dog food out there today that it can be confusing.
Dog Food Reviews Unbiased Will Inform You Of The Things To Look Out For.
There is so much choice available these days it can be really confusing for an owner.
Should you go for dry food or moist food?
Or maybe a raw food diet or a cooked meat diet or perhaps something else.
It can be especially difficult if you have a fussy dog and also if you are on a budget. Not all dog food is good either and some of the cheaper foods can be high in sugars as well.
The choice today is vast and can be extremely difficult to get right for your dog so we will look at some of the popular options on the market and hopefully, this will give you a chance to make an informed decision about the right food for your canine companion and their unique nutritional needs.
Dry Dog Food Reviews
Dry dog foods typically contain around 8 to 10% moisture and the remaining 90% or so is dry matter. These can be a complete and balanced mix for all ages or sometimes aimed at a particular life stage of a dog.
Dry food has a distinct advantage over other kinds of dog food namely storage and easy transportation when buying.
It’s really handy too as a tidbit when you are doing reward-based training with your dog and add to that it is a low food hygiene risk and all-round, you have great food.
In addition, it is probably the most cost-effective food in terms of affordability as the price ranges can vary from extremely cheap to the higher end of the scale. It can suit all budgets and pockets.
Dry food contains a greater concentration of nutrients per 100g than other foods with higher moisture content so from this we can deduce that we don’t need to feed our dogs as much as other types of food as they will be taking in lovely fresh clean water along with their food at mealtimes.
The downside of dry food is actually the vast range available on the market these days. The choice is, of course, a good thing, but in this case, generally, the lower-priced food is of poorer quality and the production of this cheaper food can also be questionable too.
This can result in lower palatability for our dogs and cheaper manufactured dry food have got round this by adding sugars that coat the dry kibble and make the dogs want to eat it, but the lack of “goodness” will ultimately leave your dog wanting more and it can have a negative effect on the back end (Pooping can be softer or they need to poop more).
Because of the link between cheaper dry food and quality, it can often lead to people thinking that overall dry food is not as good as other wetter foods. This, however, is not the case.
Thankfully, there are very good dry kibble foods on the market and companies that have high standards within the industry have perfected extrusion processes by adding plant proteins such as soya beans to the food and this will increase the palatability and add much needed and natural vitamins to our dog’s food.
Healthy Fats are also added to cover the dry food and this coating can make the food even tastier and enjoyable for our pet as well. It’s for these kinds of reasons that most dog owners actually feed their dogs good quality dry food.
Despite this though, dogs generally like the easier option of wolfing down a soft meal and probably would go for wet or moist food as a preference as they don’t have to work quite as hard in the chewing arena!
I feed my dog dry kibble with lots of fresh cold water right next to his bowl as the dry abrasive nature of the food is actually good for his teeth and it helps remove any plaque build-up when he eats.
It also takes him a while to eat it as he does have to work on it as the kibble I buy him is hard, but ultimately fills his tummy, makes his coat look great and his stools are of good quality.
It’s these things that you need to look at and consider when choosing the right food for your dog.
Wet or Moist Food
Moist foods can come in pouches, cans, plastic trays, and foil containers and generally have a moisture content of 80-90%.
They can be designed as a complementary food to supplement the main meal or they can be a complete meal that is balanced and nutritional for your dog’s needs.
Studies have shown that our dogs do seem to have a preference for foods that smell meatier and with that in mind, it makes sense to understand it is probably the main reason that dogs seem to prefer wetter, moister foods over the dry kibble foods we learned about earlier.
If given the choice, a dog would most likely devour bowl A with wet food rather than bowl B with the dry kibble in it.
Wetter foods tend to have a higher percentage of protein than dry food and are overall higher in palatability and density.
Easier to consume than dry food, you may find that a dog that has reduced interest in food because of illness or older age can benefit from wetter food as it is a lot easier for them to eat.
The increased water content of wetter food can especially benefit a dog that is suffering from a condition like a renal failure as this is a way of getting more fluids into the dog when it is recommended by your vet.
There Is Also a Downside of Course to Wetter Foods.
Wetter foods have a lower amount of nutrients per 100g essentially, because of the higher water content.
This means that we have to feed our dogs a greater quantity of this kind of food as a result.
This, of course, can have an impact on our pockets and it can be extremely expensive if you have more than one dog to feed.
If you are thinking of wetter food as a diet for your dog, be aware that measured portions are the way to go as dogs faced with a large bowl of wet food will almost certainly wolf down the lot in one go and there can be a danger of overeating, this becoming overweight, and stomach twisting as a result, which can be fatal. (Dogs ARE Greedy!)
Raw Feeding- Raw Diet
What Is a Raw Food Diet for Dogs?
There are now many commercially prepared raw food options for our dogs and some pet owners also like to prepare their own foods too.
These foods can sometimes be referred to as “BARF” foods and this stands for “Bones And Raw Food“.
They can also be referred to as “biological or species-appropriate food” as they are based on the fact that dogs originally descended from Wolves and they evolved to eat a raw food diet.
As humans, we can find it somewhat worrying as we know that raw meat and bones can be extremely dangerous to our diets and this mindset can then be transferred in our decision making when feeding our dogs.
The facts are that dogs have a much tougher and robust digestion system than we could ever cope with. A dog can eat raw chicken, bones as well and have no side effects at all. If we did that, it would most probably kill us.
Other concerns for a raw food diet is that we have concerns about the hygiene aspect of handling and storing the foods and this is a legitimate concern.
On the plus side, however, extensive research in the USA and the UK has shown that there are man nutritional advantages for our dogs to have this kind of food.
As a result, there are now numerous dog food companies that specialize in complete and balanced raw foods and they are formulated to meet strict regulations.
what is the raw food diet for dogs?
Raw foods are highly digestible and palatable for our dogs. What science is showing, however, is that it not clear whether it is any better for your dog than dry or wet food.
Many owners who prefer the raw food diet approach will say that their dog performs better, has more energy and their coat is shinier and although that is a good way of looking at it, the evidence so far is inconclusive.
What we do know is that for the last 10,000 years or so, dogs have been fairly consistently fed a human supplied diet for their food needs.
In this time, we have also learned that dogs have developed into an omnivore species and this a departure from the Wolf cousin
Dogs also produce an enzyme called “Amylase” and this is essential in digesting carbohydrate (starch).
All of this has been a huge factor in the domestication of canines and the varied diet and digestion is evidence of this.
Dogs Have Been Eating Raw and Cooked Foods Given to Them by Humans for a Very Long Time.
Fresh Cooked & Frozen Food
Freshly cooked foods are now available for our dogs and they come formulated to be a complete and balanced food and are also delivered frozen.
They are highly nutritious too as all of the nutrients are looked in by the cooking process.
We know from scientific research that cooking causes changes in foods.
Some nutrients are lost by heating and manufacturing of food and this is particularly evident in water-soluble vitamins such as Vitamin B and Vitamin C.
Manufacturers of this kind of food are aware of this and have adapted their process to take this into consideration.
Some plant-based ingredients are actually much better in terms of added nutrients when they are cooked, for instance.
The cooking of certain vegetables for your dogs such as spinach and carrots increases the availability of antioxidants such as beta-carotene and lycopene.
These antioxidants aid the wellbeing of our dog and they greatly improve their digestion too.
Home Cooked Foods
There are many reasons why we may choose the home-cooked foods route and this can include the belief that WE know what our dog is eating therefore it must be good for them.
We believe that as we are providing the food that it MUST be a healthier option for them.
It can also be that we have had bad experiences with certain brands and your dog has not enjoyed the commercial food.
We must remember that all commercially produced pet food has to follow strict guidelines and regulations in order to be allowed to produce food.
Foods that are balanced and complete are regulated by FEDIAF to ensure that they meet or exceed certain stipulations on quality and content (nutrients).
Only then can the food be described as Complete & Balanced and this is where the DIY approach starts to fail.
Trying to achieve the correct kind of dietary need for your dog by doing it yourself is virtually impossible. Our dogs need certain things during their life and at different stages too.
The sorts of foods you give a puppy are a long way away from the types of food your adult dog will enjoy and also later in life or with a dog with a medical condition also.
Studies show that around 90% of home-cooked diets for dogs lack essential nutrients and are not balanced at all.
Dogs can be starved of essentials like calcium, Vitamin A and E as well as minerals as copper and zinc.
Feeding a home-cooked diet can also be time-consuming and much more expensive than commercially available food and again, there is absolutely no evidence that a home-cooked diet is in any way more beneficial to your dog.
Using recipes that are readily and freely available on the internet can be extremely risky as they are often nutrient deficient.
And our dogs NEED those nutrients, folks!
Some home-cooked diets recommend adding supplements to the food but these often don’t provide the right levels needed.
Correctly formulated recipes will state the exact amounts of ingredients and these should be the ones to follow if you are going down this route.
If in doubt, always talk to a canine nutritionist or your vet for expert advice.
There can be some very good advantages of a correctly formulated home-cooked diet especially if you have a dog with an underlying condition.
If your dog is particularly deficient in certain nutrients or if they have allergies or intolerances then knowing the extras that need to go into their food will surely help them.
One final thought on Home Cooked Diets:
They should be avoided at times when your dog is going through certain aspects of their lives and this could be pregnancy, lactation and the feeding of new puppies.
Overall, whichever kind of food option you go for you have to make sure that it is the very best option for your dogs’ health and life.
Over the years, I have tried several kinds of foods for my dogs and sometimes it can be a “wait and see” how they are after and you will find the kind that your dog enjoys and gets the best out of too.
- Always be checking your dogs’ stools on a walk.
- Always be checking their coat and their breath and their eyes.
A good dog food always shows an improvement in terms of your dogs’ wellbeing and the outward signs of a healthy coat, energy and vitality and firm stool is a great indication of things are going right.
Many premium brand foods these days will target specific life stages too and the health benefits are good options, whether it be a Dry, Moist, Raw or Cooked food.