Check For Balanced And Complete Label
This label can further simplify your hunt for the best dry dog food. Complete and balanced nutrition means that the diet contains everything your four-legged friend needs to be fit, healthy, and happy. It contains enough protein, carbs, fats, and other micronutrients such as minerals and vitamins that could help your dog maintain optimal health. To earn this badge and to flaunt it off as a label, the manufacturing companies must match the AAFCO standard nutrient profiles. These standards are set by the canine nutrition authorities and the badge guarantees that it has passed the set feeding trial.
If the nutrient profile of a certain brand is higher than the set standard by AAFCO, it is considered even better. So make sure you cross-check for this label.
Nutritional Requirements Based On Breed Size
Weve said it before, and well say it again all dogs have the same base nutritional needs. When it comes to things like caloric density and beneficial supplements, however, there are some subtle differences from one breed size to another. Here is a summary of the nutritional needs of different dogs based on their breed size:
Is Merrick Considered A Healthy Dog Food
All Merrick dog foods meet dog food nutrient guidelines published by the Association of American Feed Control Officials. Each recipe is considered complete and balanced for specific life stages according to nutrient standards posted by the National Research Council of the National Academies of Science in Washington, D.C.
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Are Raw Food Diets Safe For My Pet
There are potential drawbacks to giving your dog just a raw food diet. Failure to keep up with the nutritional standards cause deficiencies and imbalances and can lead to various infectious diseases. You can give certain raw foods like fruits and vegetables in addition to a balanced nutritional diet as supplements.
When Should I Switch My Dog To Senior Dry Dog Food
As your dog ages, their needs will differ from younger dogs. You can switch to dry senior dog food when they are around 7 years of age.
If you have a large breed dog, you can make the switch at around 5 to 6 years of age. But if youre using balanced all-ages dog food, it may not be necessary to make any changes.
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Hallmarks Of Quality: How We Identify Good Dry Dog Food
Heres what to look for in dog food and the criteria we use to identify good-quality dry dog foods.
- We want to see named animal protein sources at the top of the ingredients list. Ingredients in pet food are listed in order of the weight of that ingredient in the formula, so whatever is at the top of the list is present in the food in the greatest amount.
We want to see animal protein sources, because animal proteins contain more of the amino acids that dogs need than plant-sourced proteins the more completely a protein provides the amino acids that dogs need, the higher-quality that protein is considered to be.
We also want that animal protein source to be identified by species, whether its a meat, organ, or a meat meal.
Meat meals are made through a process called rendering, whereby much of the moisture is removed from the meat. Meat meals are a highly concentrated source of protein. Pound for pound, meat meals provide much more protein at a lower cost than fresh meats. But fresh meats add appealing flavors and aromas to the food. Also, they get added to the food mixture just before the food is cooked rendered meat meals have already been processed and will be twice-cooked by the time the food is extruded or baked .
So, whats best: meat only, meat meal only, or both? We like both but it depends on what works best for your dog and your budget.
A Meal For You And Your Dog
Love cooking for your dog but never have the time? Rocky Kanaka from The CWs SAVE our SHELTER, Dog’s Day Out and founder of The Dog Bakery, has a solution. This easy to make salmon meal for yourself can also be made for your dog.
This recipe is designed for those who want to eat healthy and want their dogs to eat healthy as well but are always on the go. This is also one of the most eco friendly recipes we have seen. Instead of tossing things we would usually not eat such as broccoli stems, the recipe uses these as a key part to the dogs delicious meal.
This recipe also has a bonus tip on what to do with that salmon skin that is usually thrown in the trash. I get asked a lot if salmon skin is okay for dogs. While it is not safe if consumed raw, due to unwanted parasites, cooking in the oven for 20 minutes to make a crunchy, healthy, limited ingredient, organic, high omega dog snack that may help with heart health and give them a great skin and coat is a big win! says Rocky.
And there is more, when you cook for your dog you are more conscious of what you put in your body. For all of those reasons and more we give this recipe four paws up!
Healthy meals are important for you and your dog but the best thing about this recipe from Rocky Kanaka is it allows you to take time out of your day to spend time with your family two and four legged! Read on to find out how to do it or watch Rocky has he demonstrates!
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Best Dry Dog Food Brands For A Happy And Healthy Pooch
Searching for the best dry dog food in the marketplace? With so many products available, it can be confusing, frustrating, and downright annoying! If your pooch likes to nibble on kibble, but youre afraid youre feeding them the wrong kind, we feel you.
We at Alpha Paw can help you feed your furry friend the best dry dog food on the market. Please note that were not supported by affiliate links, and we selected the brands in this article using a set of rigorous criteria.
Before we begin our assessment, we do have our very own Alpha Paw dog food called Natural Vitality that is vet-approved and fast becoming the go-to brand for pet parents. Our chicken and sweet potato recipe is made to support all dog breeds for all of their life stages. Formulated with purposeful ingredients in accordance with AAFCO guidelines, our dog food is a natural source of protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats.
What Is Dry Dog Food
Dry dog food can sometimes be called kibble and is a processed food created using a method of condensing a lot of different nutrients into a small biscuit-like food using a cooking method called extrusion. This method rose in prominence in the 1950s by the company Ralston Purina who adapted their extrusion method used to make breakfast cereal to pet food. Dry food manufacturing is a cheap and energy-efficient way to make food for the mass market, its also a highly efficient way to pack more nutrients and calories into the smallest possible nugget.
Dry dog food is a hard biscuit that does require some chewing and not as palatable as wet food, however different types of dry foods are made for different sizes of dog. To pack all the nutrients in a process called extrusion is needed the chosen ingredients are packed together then water is added to increase the moisture level . These are then heated up and pressed at extremely high pressure which then melds the ingredients together, it is then cut to size which results in the kibble. After exiting the extruder, the kibble can then be oven-baked at a lower temperature to reduce the moisture which results in the dryness.
Flavourings can be added to dry food either naturally or artificially which results in a powdered surface.
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Choosing The Best Dog Food
The best dog food for your dog is ultimately up to you to decide. As an owner, you are the one who sees your dog on a regular basis. If your dog produces firm, healthy stool, is active and fit, and has a healthy appetite, then your dog food is probably working just fine.
Your veterinarian is a valuable resource to you during this process. They know more about pet nutrition than the average owner, and they also have access to research and resources that owners do not have. Your vet can help you narrow down your options and should be more than happy to help you find the answers to your questions about your dogs food.
AKC is a participant in affiliate advertising programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to akc.org. If you purchase a product through this article, we may receive a portion of the sale.
What To Look For In Kibble
Read the label. Look for a food that has a protein as the first ingredient, not a grain. The best kibbles have a single source of protein, such as lamb or chicken. Grain-free diets exist, but carbohydrates are required for energy, and the choice of grain is important since some dogs have sensitivities to wheat, corn, or soybeans.
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Kibble Manufacturers Will Assure You That Dry Kibble Is Good For A Dog’s Teeth
Tiny dry bits actually become wedged between the teeth and under the gumline. Those bits are convenient landing spots for bacteria to build up on.
With so many dogs eating these diets, bad teeth and gum disease are worse now than ever. Vets make a substantial portion of their income providing dental care, which puts your dog through risky general anesthesia.
Blue Buffalo Life Protection Dry
Blue Buffalo Life Protection Chicken and Rice is one of 23 kibble recipes included in our review of the Blue Buffalo Life Protection product line.
- First 5 ingredients: Deboned chicken, chicken meal, brown rice, barley, oatmeal
- Type: Grain-inclusive
- Other recipes: Puppy, large breed, small breed, senior, lamb, fish and more
- Price: $
This Life Protection example derives the majority of its animal protein from chicken and chicken meal. Our dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 27% protein, 16% fat and 50% estimated carbs creating a fat-to-protein ratio of about 58%.
A top-rated, grain-inclusive kibble. One of The Advisors most popular recommendations.
Sample buyer reviewMy dog is a very picky eater with a sensitive stomach and this food has done wonders for him. Hes finally eating as much as he should without stomach issues and its made him almost a brand new dog. I tried a few different foods with him but this seemed to give me the best results
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Whole Earth Farms Dry Dog Food
Whole Earth Farms Adult recipe is one of 2 kibble recipes included in our review of the Whole Earth Farms product line.
- First 5 ingredients: Chicken meal, turkey meal, brown rice, oatmeal, barley
- Type: Grain-inclusive
- Other recipes: Small breed, turkey, salmon, pork, beef, puppy and more
- Price: $
- See both available recipes
This Whole Earth Farms product derives the bulk of its meat protein from chicken and turkey meals. Our dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 29% protein, 16% fat and 47% estimated carbs which results in a fat-to-protein ratio of about 54%.
A quality yet affordable, grain-inclusive kibble made by Merrick. Highly recommended.
Sample buyer reviewI recently switched to this food due to the recent controversy over Grain Free. This was the only affordable food I found with quality ingredients listed. My dogs love it and it will be the only food I fees from now on.
This Holistic Select formula derives most of its meat protein from fresh salmon, as well as anchovy and sardine meal. Our dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 32% protein, 16% fat and 44% estimated carbs producing a fat-to-protein ratio of about 48%.
An exceptional grain-free dog food offering numerous recipe and flavor options. Highly recommended.
Things To Look For When Selecting An Adult Dry Dog Food: What Should Adult Dogs Eat
Most dog foods contain everything your dog will need.
The ratios included in the food will differ slightly, as will the ingredients. Some dog food will even have human-grade ingredients.
Some foods contain eggs, an excellent source of vitamins, minerals, and proteins, but they have many calories that can lead to weight gain, so we recommend feeding eggs in moderation.
Dogs can eat wheat, but their diet doesnt require it. But once again, you should only feed wheat in moderation.
Some dogs, however, are sensitive to wheat and may suffer from digestive trouble from it.
Good dry dog food should be rich in vitamins and minerals. These come from a variety of fruits and vegetables.
But if youre looking to feed your pooch some extra, we suggest apples, oranges, carrots, broccoli, and watermelon.
When youre looking for dog food, make sure that you avoid food containing:
- Artificial additives, colors, preservatives, and flavoring
- Unnecessary fillers
Additionally, there are certain foods to avoid feeding your dog. Fruit and veggies like raisins, grapes, garlic, onion, and foods with pits can be toxic for dogs.
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Whats The Tastiest Dry Dog Food For Picky Eaters
Picky eaters can make purchasing dog food a real challenge.
Theres nothing worse than buying an entire packet of high-quality dry dog food only to find that your picky pooch turns her nose up at it.
If youve got a fussy eater, make sure you dont buy the big bag right off the bat.
Go for the smallest packaging and select flavors your dog is familiar with. If their previous food is chicken flavored, then pick one that has the same flavor.
The Two Huge Problems With Kibble And Canned Dog Food
What is really inside these pellets?
On my list of criteria for What Makes a Dog Food Good? kibble and canned foods fail again and again.
If kibble and canned foods aren’t very good, why are they so common?
Dogs have been domesticated for about 15,000 years. That’s amazing, isn’t it? And all through those centuries, right up until a hundred years ago, they were fed real food. Meat, fish, eggs, broccoli and carrots, a few biscuits dipped in milk.
On this diet of real food, dogs lived to ripe old ages. Then the pet food corporations came along and changed everything.
Dogs didn’t eat kibble until about a hundred years ago, when the meat and grain industries started looking for a market for their rejected foodstuffs that couldn’t pass USDA inspection.
About a hundred years ago, the USDA started stamping “failed” on wheat and corn that didn’t pass inspection for the human market due to mold, rancidity, and other contaminants.
The idea of mixing the rejects together and calling it “pet food” was born.
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Easy Homemade Dog Food Recipe
Jump to RecipeMy easy homemade dog food recipe combines lean ground sirloin, wholesome brown rice, fresh vegetables, hard boiled eggs, and tender herbs
***Please note, I am not a veterinarian, just a very passionate dog owner! The information in this blog post documents our own personal experiences, research, and the recipes that we feed our dogs under our veterinarian’s careful supervision. Please, consult with your vet and use your own personal judgment when considering transitioning to a 100% human grade food diet for your pup. This post was updated with video August 16, 2020, updated with additional recipe links 9/14/2020, updated 1/7/2021 with metric measurements.***
Best Wet: Merrick Grain
Merricks Grain-Free wet dog food is available in an impressive 33 different recipes, including two designed exclusively for puppies. These recipes range from the standard real chicken dinner to the more fun and creative sweater weather supper seasonal recipe. Regardless of the recipe, however, all of these wet food options are grain-free and made with locally sourced, high-quality ingredients.
With the real chicken dinner recipe, for example, the food is 96% protein from animal sources, with chicken as the first ingredient. This wet food also contains chicken broth, chicken liver, salmon oil, and other ingredients to provide the vitamins and minerals dogs need.
Plus, this variety of Merricks Grain-Free wet dog food has no artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, or by-products.
Of course, the specific ingredient list will vary based on the recipe, but all of these grain-free Merrick wet food options are great as an add-on to kibble or as an alternative for dogs who dont like or cant eat dry food.
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Merrick Real Texas Beef & Sweet Potato Recipe
If you are specifically looking for grain-free canine formula, then you can’t go wrong with this Merrick recipe.
It’s perfect for all breeds, ages, and sizes and is available in a variety of different flavors. We recommend the beef and sweet potato recipe as it is poultry-free .
Containing a whopping 38% protein and 15% fat, Merrick’s philosophy is that these two properties in combination with a host of vitamins and minerals will do wonders for promoting the overall dog’s health.
They are extremely transparent with regards to the ingredient composition, choosing only the best available products and containing no corn, wheat, soy or gluten ingredients.
This helps give us tremendous confidence in recommending the brand. At $60 for a 25-lb bag, this does fall into the premium category.
Whether the exceptional nutritional content is worth the increased price is up to you.