My Mother Refuses To Grow Up
If Buddy is barking at you to fill his bowl, listen up.
He may also be speaking up to demand a switch in his daily dinner, or breakfast and lunch too, for that matter.
Since we all love our fur babies as our own, what we feed them matters. Finding the right kibble can be difficult, as there is a sea of choices for pooches of all shapes and sizes with less-than-helpful packaging and guidance.
The first step when choosing a dog food is to consult your local vet, as they know what is best for their favorite, slobbery patients. However, for those that want even more recommended or even a place to start before your annual visit, we have that covered.
We spoke with Dr. Danielle Bernal, a veterinarian for Wellness Pet Company as well as Dr. Katy Nelson, senior veterinarian at Chewy about what to look for in a dog food formula, what to avoid and also any tips and tricks for choosing the right chow for your Chihuahua and the best munchies for your Maltese.
Read on for the answers to those questions and more, plus our top picks for pet food brands you can buy online right now.
What Should I Look For When Buying Dog Food
If you want to know if a dog food is nutritionally complete, with a healthy balance of protein, fat, and fiber, look for an Association of American Feed Control Officials statement on the packages reading label or on the brands website. AAFCO is not a regulatory body, but they set recommendations for nutrient content for dog food creators to use as a guideline to make sure the food has everything a dog would need, Dr. Kimmselstiel explains.
In addition to protein, fat, and fiber, a healthy, high-quality dog food should also contain vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and fatty acids, Lori Prantil, MPS, DVM, DACVIM, with VCA South Shore Animal Hospital, tells SELF: These components are needed to build and maintain tissue and carry out biological reactions, and the necessary amounts can vary somewhat with the dog’s stage of life. If you want to know those correct amounts, again, get in touch with your trusty vet.
Best Dry: Royal Canin
Formulated by scientists and nutritionists
Highly palatable to most dogs
Some formulas can be expensive
Dry dog food is a popular choice for many pet owners thanks to its convenience and shelf stability, and one of the best dry dog food brands is Royal Canin, which offers more than 80 dry formulas. In addition to dry food for adults, puppies, and senior dogs, Royal Canin has a unique line of breed-specific foods, each of which is tailored to that dog breeds traits and common problems. Even the kibble shape is selected based on the breeds jaw structure and biting pattern.
Royal Canin is another brand that Dr. Frione personally recommends, and the company employs nutritional and research teams that help create its products. The brand takes a nutrient-focused approach to pet food, evaluating the specific nutritional needs of dogs and creating optimal diet profiles based on scientific findings.
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Our 3rd Most Recommended: Taste Of The Wild Puppy Formula
Taste of the Wild is high in protein. The first ingredient is bison and is a high quality meat product.
The next ingredient is lamb meal, which has a large amount of protein in it being a meat concentrate, 300 percent more than fresh lamb meat.
The third highest ingredient is sweet potatoes, which are an excellent source of complex carbs. They contain fiber and beta carotene. In fact, this food consists of approx. 40 percent carbohydrates. This provides your puppy with a source of energy ideal for his busy puppy lifestyle.
This food also contains salmon oil, which is known to contain a great deal of the two omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA, and the inclusion of chicory root provides inulin, a prebiotic that promotes health bacteria in your puppys digestive system, promoting health and good digestive health.
Overall, this food is highly recommended and your puppy should thrive on it.
Miniature Schnauzer Puppy Feeding Chart
It is not easy to know how much to feed a Miniature Schnauzer puppy. They are tiny and dont need a lot of food, but when they are still puppies, they eat more than when they are fully grown because they need to grow.
To be healthy, these little dogs need lots of calories.
As a general rule, you can feed your puppy about ½ cup of high-quality dog food per pound of weight.This amount should be spread over three or four meals over the day.
Whatever you do, make sure that you feed your dog high-quality food for miniature breed puppies. If you are in any doubt about how much to feed your puppy, consult your vet.
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Kirkland Signature: Nature’s Domain
Our fifth and final recommendation is Kirkland Pet Foods. Kirkland Pet Foods is Costco’s brand. However, it was created by Diamond Pet Foods which created Diamond Naturals, Taste of the Wild, and 4health.
The ingredient panel for this brand is consistently heavier on protein vs carbohydrates which is always a good thing unless your dog has a renal condition.
Runner Up: First Mate: Cage
First of all, first mate is a unique brand that is based in British Columbia, Canada.
As I mentioned earlier, Canada has more stringent food processing requirements making this a very reliable option for dog owners.
First mate has a very simple ingredient panel, which makes their food a limited ingredient dog food.
The common problem with other commercial brands is they add thickeners as a filler so they don’t need to add as many nutrients even though the dog food fills the can.
Thickeners are also hard for your dog to digest. Firstmate does not use thickeners which is why they are considered number two on this list.
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Buyers Guide: How To Select The Best Dog Food At Petco
Do you have some questions as you shop for the best dog foods at Petco? Thats okay! In fact, most people do, so lets try to answer some of the most common questions we hear.
How do I transition my dog to a new food?
The new food may have a suggested transition timeline from 7 days to 2 weeks. The AKC recommends mixing 25% of the new food with 75% of the previous food for a few days, then 50% of each. After a few more days, you can transition to a mix of 75% of the new food and 25% of the old, and eventually to a diet consisting of only the new food. This is only a guideline, however. If you notice your pup has an upset tummy, its okay to return to a previous mix or give them more time to adjust.
What is diet rotation? Should I change my dogs food often?
Every dog food offers slightly different nutrition. Some dog owners prefer to switch up their dogs diet every so often so they can benefit from the nutritional advantages of another formula or brand for a while and then switch again. Remember that a picky dog may find a food they like and not want to switch, while another dog may get bored of their food and love trying something new. When changing foods, youll need to transition slowly to prevent an upset stomach.
How much should I feed my dog? How often should I feed them?
How do I know if my dog has a food allergy?
Is a grain-free diet better for my dog?
How much protein does my dog need?
Does the age of my dog matter when choosing dog food?
How To Know If A Dog Food Is Safe
You can do a few things to make sure your pet is eating high-quality, nutritional, and safe food. The most important thing you can do is read your dogs food label. On their website, AAFCO has a guide to reading dog or cat food labels that you may use to educate yourself on what to look for when reading a dog food label.
Named proteins, species life stage and condition, and guaranteed analysis are the most crucial items to note on the label .
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What Exactly Is Puppy Food Do I Really Need It
In general, yes: its a good idea to buy food formulated specifically for puppies.
If youve never owned a puppy, youre in for a shock: they grow fast. Honestly, theyre like little 3D printers on overdrive, turning everything that goes into their mouths into body mass.
Because they grow so quickly, they need about twice the calories as an adult does. That doesnt mean that they need twice as much food it means that puppies need twice the calories per pound of bodyweight as adult dogs.
Not only that, but every part of your puppys body is growing: their organs, their boneseverything! So they typically have higher vitamin and mineral requirements than mature pooches. Many of these nutrients arent necessary for older dogs.
Puppy foodsespecially the good, well-balanced onesare designed with all this stuff in mind. They are usually much more calorie-dense and contain all the vitamins and minerals your pup needs to grow into a healthy, happy adult dog.
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.
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.
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How To Tell If My Puppy Is A Large Breed
First and foremost, you must understand the term big breed comprehensively. Any breed that can grow to be more than 50 pounds heavy and 24 inches tall is a large breed. That is, of course, for an adult dog. However, puppies come in various sizes, which differ from breed to breed.
Many giant breed puppies dont appear to be any larger than other breeds, but they will grow more quickly. Your puppy may be teeny-tiny right now, but itll gradually outgrow its peers if its a large-breed dog. Because their growth is distinct, their dietary needs are also diverse, as evidenced by several studies and research.
In summary, understanding whether your puppy is a large breed is essential. It helps you know what your puppy requires to develop into a happy, healthy adult dog without missing any developmental milestones.
How To Shop For The Best Food For Dogs
One of the most important steps in figuring out the best dog food is through the ingredient list, said Freeman, noting the first three are the most critical. This will help you determine if the formula is vegetable-based with things like corn and rice or meat-based with chicken, fish, or lamb, said Freeman. While each dog is different, they generally do best on a protein-rich, meat-based diet, she added.
Next, analyze what type of meat is within. Look for brands that specifically name the type of meat, like beef, chicken, or lamb, said Morgan. She noted that meat, bone meal or meat byproducts could come from any animal. Similarly, poultry meal signals any bird, she said.
The ingredients will also highlight some of what you want to avoid. Freeman suggested avoiding dog food that includes: dyes , sugar and high salt , as well as other solvents and preservatives like propylene glycol, BHA, BHT and ethoxyquin.
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Why Are There Different Puppy And Adult Dog Foods
Whether your dog needs puppy food or not varies by breed and age since not every dog matures the same.
As previously discussed, smaller breeds typically peak earlier than larger dogs do. A lab tends to reach adult size between the age of 12 to 18 months. At this point, you should switch from puppy food to adult food, even though your pooch might continue to fill out until the age of two years.
The extra calories, vitamins and minerals in puppy chow may cause more growth than you want, meaning it can easily lead to your furry friend becoming overweight or even obese if you feed it to them into adulthood. Not to mention, continuing to use puppy food in adult labs may lead to musculo-skeletal disorders.
But the flip side of this is adult food is less nutrient dense, has a different mix and quantity of nutrients and if fed to a puppy could lead to malnourishment and sub-optimal growth.
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An additional reason for there being specific food for puppies is the pieces are smaller which not only prevents them from choking, it also makes the food easier to digest. The pieces are richer, denser and the ideal size for smaller mouths.
So puppies thrive best on puppy food, adult dogs on adult dog food and its strongly recommended to buy food aimed at the life stage of your dog.
If you have any questions or doubts as to when you should switch from puppy to adult dog food, its best to consult a veterinarian.
Avoid Formulas With Byproducts And Meat Meals
Meat is expensive, and many pet food companies cannot justify the costs of including fresh beef, lamb, chicken, or other animal protein source in their formulas.
This is where byproducts and meat meals come in.
According to studies, the truth is that these are generally not dangerous to dogs, and in fact, can increase the total protein concentration of the puppy food formula, according to studies .
However, there are several problems with manufacturing puppy foods this way.
The main issue is that nobody monitors what type of meat meals will go into the dog food for puppies formula, meaning very low-quality ingredients can become meat meal, nor do they see the process of rendering itself, meaning that nutrition can be lost.
Dr. Donna Spector, DVM, wrote an article on PetMD about how high temperatures during these manufacturing processes destroy nutrients, and in particular, protein and enzymes.
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Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets Ur Urinary Ox/st Canine Formula Wet Dog Food
The recipe is highly specialized with a good balance of protein and fat for dogs with urinary issues. That said, it contains many low-grade ingredients and some artificial additives.
Purinas UR Urinary Ox/St prescription food has chicken, water, rice, meat by-products, and liver as the main ingredients. The GA of this canned recipe is 78% moisture, 7.5% protein, 4.5% fat, and 3% crude fiber.
Reviews on Purinas prescription dog food for urinary crystals are mostly positive, but we cant ignore the negative ones. Some dogs dont find the food appetizing or dont improve their condition. Overall, dog parents are happy with the product. But Purina has had some food recalls you may want to consider.
Quick Glance At Our 13 Vet Recommended Dry Dog Food Brands
Top Dog Tips have done a complete breakdown of the pet food market and picked the best dog food brand that’s holistic, human-grade, and completely natural. I can’t say I disagree with their top dog food choice pick.
The Honest Kitchen is on my veterinarian recommended dog foods list as well.
However, it’s also very expensive, which may not be ideal for many pet parents.
Further in the article, I mention why vets consider these dog foods best for their pets. Scroll down for more details on my picks of ten vet recommended dog food brands.
The nutrition that your dog requires is based on a lot of variables. It’s affected by his breed, size, age, weight, skin and coat condition, medical history, and overall health, to name a few.
Your veterinarian knows your pet and understands his specific health needs. They will give you a list of vet recommended dog food brands that will best meet your dog’s needs and suggest any additional pet supplements that he may require that can’t be met by dog food alone.
Actually, because the dog food market is so huge today, many great vets recommended dog food brands offer blends for dogs with sensitive stomachs, skin allergies, and other special dietary requirements.
For more on commercial dog food safety and humanization of pet food, I recommend you these two podcast interviews:
Dog owners can purchase commercial dog food recipes with certain supplements and vitamins for dogs added to them.
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Rachael Ray Nutrish Hearty Beef Stew
Hearty Beef Stew is one of 6 wet recipes included in our review of the Rachael Ray product line.
- First 5 ingredients: Chicken broth, beef, chicken, dried egg product, egg white
- Type: Grain-free
- Best for:All puppies including large breeds
Rachael Ray Nutrish Hearty Beef Stew acquires the better part of its animal protein from fresh beef, fresh chicken,dried egg product, and egg whites. Dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 41% protein, 23% fat and 28% estimated carbs delivering a fat-to-protein ratio of about 56%.
This fully balanced formula contains zinc amino acid complex and 3 other chelated minerals superior nutritional supplements typically found in higher quality dog foods.
Budget priced. Highly recommended.
Sample buyer reviewI think Ive finally found the perfect food for my two shih tzus. They are both very picky eaters and one was constantly itching and licking her paws. I believe the grain free food has helped tremendously in stopping the itching. I use both the Rachael Ray grain free dry and wet food for them and watch them clean their bowls every time. Great stuff!