Choosing the right pet food can be overwhelming. With all the products available, it can be quite difficult to select a food regimen that is best for your dog. Each diet has its unique pros and cons. So, how do you choose the plan that’s right for your dog? We’ll give you some information that we hope will help you to decide.
There are four main types of dog food diets: raw, dry food, wet food and home preparation.
Dry Food (Kibble)
By far the most common dog food is dry food, or kibble. This is likely because it is long-lasting, cost-effective and takes little time to prepare. The important part of the equation is to select a dry dog food that is actually healthy for your pet.
In choosing a specific food, it is important to read the label, look at the ingredients and do your research. High quality protein is the staple of your pet’s diet, so be sure a high quality meat protein is listed as one of the first ingredients. Ideally, the food should also contain fruits and vegetables, but should be free of by-products, corn, soy, grains and starches.
Wet Food (Canned)
Wet, or canned, dog food is likely the second most common dog food diet after kibble. Though it can be more expensive an option, the guidelines for selecting a particular product are similar. Again, it is important to select a food which lists a named meat (chicken, beef etc.) as one of the first ingredients. Watch out for unnamed meat sources, or “by products”, wheat gluten, sugar or artificial sweeteners.
So why choose wet food over dry food? It really comes down to preference. Canned food tends to be higher in protein, have fewer additives and be lower in carbohydrates, while dry food carries a higher convenience level and a lower cost.
Many people tend to run the other way at the thought of feeding their beloved pet raw meat, but the truth is, dogs are hardwired different than humans and their bodies can process raw meats in a healthy way.
It is an evolutionary diet which is based around what dogs ate before they became domesticated animals. The diet is comprised of raw meat (containing bones and organs), with a mix of fruits, vegetables and even yogurt, if desired. This diet is an ideal way to get your dog an adequate amount of protein while helping to improve digestion, firmer stools, healthier coat & skin, reduce allergy symptoms and control weight.
This diet will cost a little more than a traditional kibble diet and require a bit more preparation time, but it is a more holistic, natural option. Be sure to do your research on raw food diets before making the switch.
Home Food Preparation
Probably the least common regimen is home pet food preparation. Pet owners choose this meal plan because they are given full control of what their dog is eating, so they don’t have to worry about potentially harmful, artificial ingredients. Perhaps the reason why this food regimen isn’t more common is because of the time commitment and costs that come associated with meal preparation.
This diet is a great option for those willing to take the extra time to prepare the food while also ensuring their pet is getting all its basic nutritional needs met. Some items commonly found in these diets include:
- Chicken, Turkey, Beef, Fish
- Cooked Whole Grains
- Vegetables & leafy greens
- Plain yogurt, cheeses, milk
- Peanut Butter
- Some fruits (no grapes, cherries, raisins!)