The pet food industry is filled with options. You can choose from so many options now that it’s easy to get confused. The market is filled with so many different brands, and they cater to so many kinds of diet. You can get grain-free dog food, high-protein dog food, single protein dog food, limited ingredient dog food, breed-specific food, and more! Dog food for puppies is different from dog food for adults, and that is again different from dog food for senior dogs!
How Do I Choose?
Step One: Life Stage and Activity Level
Your dog’s diet will depend on a few factors. Firstly, you have to limit your choice of dog food to whichever stage your dog is in. Puppies have high nutritional needs, as do active adult dogs, without which they can suffer malnutrition or even developmental deficiencies. Active dogs are dogs who either play a lot or work outdoors, like on farms or hunting.
Senior dogs and dogs who live a sedentary lifestyle have reduced caloric needs, without which they run the risk of obesity. Sedentary dogs are house dogs who spend their days with their families, and the only exercise they are exposed to is their daily walks. Your senior dog needs reduced calories but also easier to eat food as they age.
Pregnant or lactating dogs also have higher nutritional needs as they are supporting their litter. You should speak to your vet about changing your pregnant dog’s diet if you’ve been giving the same food! Not every food is safe for a pregnant or lactating mother, so listen to your vet’s advice about what to feed her.
Step Two: Choose Whether You’ll Buy or You’ll Cook
Many pet owners make food for their dogs at home. Many vets advise against this as canine nutritional needs are unique and nuanced. Unless you are dedicated and work with a canine nutrition expert, it might get difficult for you to give your dog everything he needs.
Most people who cook or make their food at home end up giving supplements and additives like goat milk, tripe, blueberries, and more to make sure their dog is getting a wholesome meal. If this sounds like too much work for you, store-bought is the way to go! If this sounds like fun to you, contact a reputable dog nutritionist.
If you decide to buy, make sure you’re buying high-quality kibble with the highest guaranteed amount of protein that you can. If you’re making homemade dog food, ask your nutritionist about all the supplements and additional components you need to incorporate so your dog doesn’t suffer from any nutritional deficiencies.
Step Three: Figure Out What Diet You’ll Be Giving
Not every dog is happy with whatever food you put in front of them. Your dog could turn out to be a picky eater, they could have food allergies, and you might notice them looking healthier on one type of diet. A lot of people have been turning to a high protein, high-quality free-dried raw food like Dr. Marty’s Nature’s Blend as an alternative to kibble.
The advantage of freeze-dried food is that you’re giving your dog a diet that very high in protein, is free from chemical flavors, additives, and colors as well. Plus, you’re feeding raw – just like dogs eat in nature! Raw food has become quite popular in recent years, and freeze-dried dog food is the most convenient way to give this to your dog!
Raw dog food is when you’re giving your dog uncooked meat and vegetables for their meals. There are many variations of raw dog food diets like the BARF diet and the Whole Prey diet. Instead of assembling the ingredients yourself, you can look for local companies that offer delivery to your doorstep!
With food allergies on the rise, you can also look at grain-free dog food if you notice your dog is itchy all the time. Many people have success in reducing itchiness and skin and coat issues with grain-free diets. Other options you can look at are single protein diets, limited ingredient diets, and hypoallergenic dog food.
And that’s it! That’s all you need to figure out the best dog food for your dog’s lifestyle and condition. If you have multiple dogs, there are all-purpose dog foods available that might be a good fit for your house. Above anything else, the right food for your dog is the one that gives him everything he needs and helps him live a happy, healthy life!