The Best Dog Food According To Experts And Veterinarians
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Dogs provide humans with unconditional love and emotional support, which pet owners might be especially thankful for during the stressful times we are living through. Feeding your dog a nutritious diet is just one way to show them how much you care, in addition to providing them with the right dog bed, toys to play with and the occasional dog treat. Simply put, dogs deserve to eat well in fact, appropriate food is fourth in the American Veterinary Medical Associations Guidelines for Responsible Pet Ownership. And with currently underway, you can find savings on many top-rated pet products.
SKIP AHEAD How to shop for dog food
Aiming for the best food for dogs gives them distinct health advantages, too, said Jennifer Freeman, DVM, resident veterinarian and pet care expert at PetSmart. Premium dog food will include meat for protein, vitamin-packed vegetables and fruit, and omega fatty acids for a shiny coat, Freeman said, adding its also likely to have fewer fillers such as corn, wheat, and soy.
Should I Feed My Dog Grain
There is no one best grain-free puppy food or dog food. Ultimately, you and your vet will decide what type of food serves your pup’s needs. Some common reasons a vet might recommend a dog food without grain include weight management issues, digestive problems and food sensitivities.
If your dog is experiencing issues with traditional food, providing a grain-free lifestyle might make a difference. Try and make sure that the recipe you choose replaces grains with other nutritious carbs and protein sources. For maximum nutrition benefits, proteins should be listed among the top five ingredients.
How To Find The Best Dog Food
Regardless of the diet you choose for your dog, finding the right brand or food is still a challenge. Theres no easy way of knowing which is truly the best recipe or what will make your pets coat shinier. Nevertheless, here are some ways you can make sure the food you buy is top quality, safe and has a high probability of fulfilling their promises.
Understand your dogs nutritional needs
Most dog food found in stores contains a balanced profile of all the nutrients dogs need. However, every dog is different and its important to understand the ingredients they might be averse to, what they simply like or dislike, or what nutrients they might be lacking.
First, get informed about your dogs breed, size and possible hereditary conditions.
Second, always pay close attention to their habits and physical appearance, as this might give you information about how their nutrition is going. Observing them is the best way to catch any symptoms of allergies or intolerances before they become bigger problems. .
Finally, always contact a veterinarian to better understand the effects certain foods or ingredients can have on your pet. By having a full profile of your dogs needs, youll be better equipped to choose the type of diet.
Here are some of the factors to consider when choosing food:
Allergies. Just like humans, dogs can be allergic to certain foods or nutrients. If you notice things like rashes or hair loss, talk to your vet about what could be the cause.
Read Also: Can You Switch Dog Food Brands
What Should Puppies Eat
Feeding your puppy a nutritious and age-appropriate diet is crucial to their growth. Their food has to be caloric-dense, rich in nutrients, and fully balanced at the basics. Here are some of the most critical aspects of the perfect puppy diet:
1. Rich in protein
Just like their ancestors, puppies must also be fed a diet that mainly consists of premium-quality proteins. Whole meat is the best source of protein since it contains all the essential amino acids required for lean muscle growth and hormone production.
Typically, the meat is derived from chicken, turkey, beef, or fish. Some premium options also use rabbit or lamb meat, but those are better for pups with sensitive stomachs and allergies. As per AAFCO, a puppy food must contain at least 22.5% protein content to be considered appropriate.
2. Plenty of healthy fats
While nearly 50% of a dogs natural diet consists of protein, almost 40% is made up of fats. The basic role of fats is to provide your dog with energy, while fatty acids carry anti-inflammatory properties and improve coat health.
Animal fat and vegetable/seed oil are the two main sources of healthy fats for dogs. Both are rich in calories, contain fatty acids, and are easy to digest. However, you should ensure that your chosen puppy food meets AAFCOs minimum 8% crude fat content requirement.
3. Tons of micronutrients
Taste Of The Wild High Prairie
Ingredients: Grain-free is the motto of Taste Of The Wild. Featuring a potent blend of natural ingredients, including free-range bison meat, this blend is for dogs who cant eat grain or whose owners want a more ancestral diet for their pets. You wont find anything but the best ingredients from a brand like Taste Of The Wild, and your pet deserves the best.
Price/Where To Buy: You can buy a 28-lb. bag of Taste Of The Wild High Prairie for about $48 on sites like Chewy and other pet food outlets. You can also find it in some stores.
The Difference: Taste Of The Wild High Prairie blend provides optimal nutrition while keeping your pet grain-free. Many people prefer a more ancestral diet for their pets, but if youre not getting high-quality food, it wont make a difference.
Also Check: What Dry Dog Food Is Recommended By Vets
Farmina N& d Ocean Herring & Orange Medium & Maxi Adult Grain
Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Herring, 2. Sweet Potatoes, 3. Herring Oil, 4. Dried Carrots, 5. Dried Sweet Orange
Farmina N& D formulas feature a 70:30 ratio of protein to produce, and this Ocean Herring & Orange Dog Food is no different. It sources protein from herring meat to support your dogs muscle growth needs and uses sweet potatoes instead of grains to offer your dog a delicious and easily digestible meal.
Aside from that, the formula is also rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and omega fatty acids to strengthen your dogs immunity and improve their coat health. The micronutrients come from orange, carrots, apples, pomegranate, and other wholesome fruits and vegetables. The food contains zero grains, peas, and legumes so that your dog receives a diet they deserve.
Natures Logic Pork Meal Feast
One of the highest-quality, highest-protein kibbles out there
Massive amounts of protein with no MSG, gluten, or synthetic ingredients. Plus its made in the USA!
About:Natures Logic Pork Meal Feast is a very high-quality, high-protein, grain-inclusive recipe. Its a pork-based dog food recipe with the highest protein composition on this list!
If youre looking for one of the highest-quality, highest-protein dog foods on the market, look no further!
- 100% natural formula free of MSG, gluten, synthetic ingredients, and hydrolyzed proteins.
- Pork meal is the #1 ingredient
- Millet is the #2 ingredient considered a high-quality grain source
- Made in the USA with minimal processing
- Includes no potatoes, peas, lentils, wheat, corn, rice, soy, potato or chemically synthesized vitamins, minerals, trace nutrients, carrageenan, guar gum or xanthan gum.
- Includes other beneficial ingredients like pumpkin seeds, dried kelp, blueberries, spinach, carrot, broccoli, and cranberries.
- Kibble is coated with digestive enzymes and plasma protein containing high levels of natural vitamins, minerals, and albumin and globulin proteins.
- 38% Protein / 15% Fat / 30% Carbohydrates
While were featuring Natures Logic Pork feast here, there are other Natures Logic recipes worth considering, including:
- Beef Meal Feast
Pork Meal, Millet, Pork Fat , Pumpkin Seed, Yeast Culture…,
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Canned Food Vs Dry Dog Food: Does It Matter
As long as your chosen puppy food meets the criteria for a quality dog food, and includes an AAFCO label, youre on the right track. Some dogs are perfectly happy with kibble while others prefer wet dog food or a mix. You might try a little of both to see how your new dog responds.
The soft texture of canned food can be appealing to puppies. It has a higher moisture content, so it can help with hydration, too. However, as long as youre providing plenty of fresh water, your new puppy isnt likely to go thirsty.
Pet food options also include raw foods, freeze-dried raw foods, and even fresh dog foods. While these food types are often more expensive, theyre worth it for certain pet owners. If holistic wellness places high on your list, its worth reading up on the benefits of fresh dog food and raw dog food. As always, have a chat with your vet about it, too.
Select A Food With Plenty Of Antioxidant
Many colorful fruits and vegetables are rich in substances called antioxidants. These provide protection against the damage caused by free radicals and support your dogs immune system, so that he can remain healthy.
Some foods that are rich in antioxidants include:
Features: Wellness Complete Health Lamb & Lamb Meal Recipe is made with a very impressive collection of ingredients, including two premium proteins and a number of high-value carbohydrates including potatoes, peas, and chickpeas in lieu of grains.
Further down the ingredient list, youll notice things like menhaden fish meal and ground flaxseed, which are both good sources of omega-3 fatty acids, as well as several antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables, such as tomatoes, spinach, sweet potatoes and blueberries.
Wellness Complete Health Lamb & Lamb Meal is fortified with glucosamine and chondroitin to support joint health. It also contains four different probiotic strains, which may help regulate your dogs digestive tract.
Wellness Complete Health Lamb & Lamb Meal Recipe is a dog food thats made in the USA, without any artificial colors, artificial flavors, or artificial preservatives.
- Dried Ground Potatoes
Lamb, Lamb Meal, Potatoes, Peas, Dried Ground Potatoes…,
This food is a bit pricey, but we cant find much else to complain about.
Recommended Reading: Who Makes Wellness Dog Food
Pristine By Castor And Pollux
Ingredients: This delicious, potent, and high-quality grass-fed beef and sweet potato recipe is perfect for dogs of all sizes and breeds. Youll notice a difference in your dog as soon as they start regularly eating this hand-crafted blend from Castor and Pollux. Each bag contains only the finest ingredients, with grass-fed beef for a higher quality that speaks volumes.
Price/Where To Buy: Pristine By Castor and Pollux is available on Chewy.com with free shipping if you order $50. An 18-lb. bag of this delicious, potent dog food is about $71.
The Difference: Castor and Pollux is a brand youll want to look twice at. With a commitment to quality and service, the brand has been serving pet lovers for years with delicious, premium ingredients that you and your dog will love.
What To Feed Your Puppy: Knowing Whether To Go Grain Free
Dogs of all shapes, sizes and ages require different diets to ensure they stay healthy and strong this is especially true of puppies who have a lot of growing to do in their first 12 to 18 months. For instance, whilst puppies need more protein to feed their growing muscles, an imbalance between protein and other nutrients can negatively affect their growth and development. Whilst owners have traditionally had to choose between feeding their puppy wet food or dry food, now there is also the option of grain-free food. Whilst its no coincidence that this trend appeared around the same time humans started asking for grain-free and gluten-free diets, grain-free can nevertheless be the right choice for some puppies.
Recommended Reading: How Much Dog Food Should I Feed My Dog
Best For Puppies: Merrick Lil Plates Puppy Food Grain Free
Look no further for the best grain-free puppy food we have decided that Merrick Lil Plates Puppy Food is the one.
The chicken & sweet potato recipe features real, deboned chicken as its first ingredient, followed by sweet potato and other delicious potatoes. Protein and healthy fats are combined to create the ideal formula for your growing pup. However, the formula is free from any grain products, making it great for grain-free diets.
Probiotics and prebiotics are also added into the food to aid in digestion and overall digestive health. For joint support and health, glucosamine and chondroitin are added along with omega fatty acids to maintain skin and coat shine and nourishment. Bags come in 2 different sizes 4lb or 12 lb.
Summary: The Best Grain
While the science is still out on grain-free diets, there are certain vets who swear by it. If it is the route that you choose to go with your pup, then we hope you will be able to use these reviews as a guide to find the best food possible for them.
Of course, it is important to start your dog off on the right paw, but it might take a bit of experimenting when it comes to selecting the best grain-free puppy foods. While we stand by our research, we absolutely recommend consulting a vet for dietary advice first. Whether you choose our top pick from Merrick or the value pick from Purina, we are so happy to be a part of you and your new pups life!
Read Also: Can I Feed My Medium Dog Large Breed Food
Are Grains Bad For All Dogs
Although you may have read the above section and decided emphatically that making the switch to a grain-free diet is the right thing to do, it is important to consider both sides of the debate. To help you make a well-rounded decision here, we will consider a number of drawbacks to grain-free dog foods and why you need to make the decision based on the entire corpus of information, and not just what is the hypest dog diet currently.
Many of the cons associated with switching to a grain-free diet for your dog relate to the many misconceptions people have in regards to whether or not pets should be eating grains, or more loosely, carbohydrates.
As already mentioned, one of the benefits associated with grain-free dog food will mean less chance of an allergic reaction taking place, however, while food allergies do affect dogs, grain and corn intolerance only represents 10% of all allergies diagnosed by vets. This means that adopting a grain-free diet makes perfect sense if your does is allergic, but if your pet isnt affected, there is no reason to rush to avoid these ingredients.
If you are worried about an allergy affecting your dog then it is well worth looking into the issue further, itchiness and hair loss can both be common symptoms but as research has shown, beef and dairy cause far more reactions in dogs than grains.
Harringtons Complete Dry Dog Food Lamb & Rice
Priced from £54.99
About Harringtons Complete Dry Dog Food Lamb & Rice:
Harringtons Lamb & Rice Dry Dog Food is a complete adult dog food that has been carefully formulated using all-natural ingredients to provide wholesome nutrition for your dog.
At Harringtons, they believe every dog deserves natural food thats balanced, wholesome and tasty. From puppies to seniors to special diets, they make a range thats perfect for you.
The #1 ingredient in Harringtons dry dog food is meat, for a nutritionally balanced meal and the company pledges they never use artificial colours and flavours or added wheat.
Recommended Reading: What Is The Best Dog Food For Dry Skin
Avoderm Advanced Sensitive Support Lamb & Sweet Potato Formula Grain
Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Lamb, 2. Peas, 3. Garbanzo Beans, 4. Canola Oil, 5. Sweet Potato
Whatever a sensitive dog needs to live a healthy life, AvoDerms Advanced Sensitive Support Dog Food has it. The base recipe uses lamb meat, a light protein source full of amino acids, and sweet potato, a non-allergenic and easily digestible carbohydrate. It contains zero grains, wheat, corn, soy, or artificial additives, making the dog food an excellent pick for sensitive dogs.
Thanks to sweet potatoes, the food is also rich in fibers that further improve digestive health. The formula is also enriched with a range of vitamins, minerals, and omega fatty acids so your dog can both look and feel healthy.
The Bottom Line On Puppy Food
Choosing a great puppy food is just one of many milestones in your journey with your pet. By focusing on your pups nutrition, youre helping give them a solid foundation.
Investing in your puppys well-being is crucial to their health and happiness, but it doesnt have to be expensive or complicated. Along with plenty of belly rubs, games of fetch, regular vet checkups, and lots of love, your puppy is sure to thrive.
Heres to a beautiful life together.
Read Also: Does Wet Dog Food Need To Be Refrigerated
How To Select A Grain
As is the case with traditional dog food brands, you can choose between wet and dry grain-free products. Regardless of the type you choose, remember to pay attention to the following points:
- First ingredient should be a protein ideally, the first ingredient ought to be a protein rather than a carbohydrate
- Addition of fruits and vegetables is a big plus they provide micronutrients like minerals and trace elements
- Make use of nutrient-rich meat pieces avoid pet foods that have meat by-products instead of the actual meat
- Healthy sources of fat fish is the ideal source of fatty acids with regards to dog foods
Additionally, as a pet owner, you should examine how the product is formulated and the specific additives added to the recipe. Some brands incorporate probiotics while others use scientifically-proven antioxidants.
Now that you understand the significance of this diet, let us compare grain-free high-quality dog food brand options with high protein.