Guide to buying dog food

January 22, 2015

Just like the rest of our family, our dogs need nutritious meals to lead happy and healthy lives. Learn more about dog nutrition, so your pet gets the best food for their needs.

Guide to buying dog food

Types of dog food

Most dogs will eat anything you put in front of them, which is part of why their nutrition is your responsibility. These are the common types of dog food available.

  • Dry food: Dry dog food, or kibble, has a long shelf life. You can give your dog a day’s worth of food at a time and not have to worry about it spoiling. Make sure to read the ingredients, as dry dog food can also be packed with unhealthy additives and preservatives to extend shelf life.
  • Wet food: Wet food generally has more meat than dry food and is easier for older dogs to eat and digest. Since wet food spoils, you’ll have to discard uneaten canned dog food and wash your dog’s dish regularly. Look for single serving cans so you can use it daily without having to measure it out.
  • Puppy food: Puppy food has extra calories to keep up with your young dog’s growth and energy. Switch to adult food when your puppy begins to reach adult height. Remember that smaller breeds mature more quickly than larger breeds.
  • Dog treats: Treats are great for training and rewarding good behaviour, but they can also help improve your dog’s dental health. Look for dog biscuits and treats that are low in sodium and artificial flavours and be sure to use them sparingly.

Alternative dog foods

Alternative pet food types are available for your dog.

  • Organic: Organic dog food is more expensive, but it uses organic certified ingredients for food that is free of pesticides, hormones and other harmful additives.
  • Vegetarian and vegan: While most dog foods contain non-meat products, dogs are not adapted to purely vegetarian nutrition. Switching pets to vegetarian or vegan dog food puts them at risk for malnutrition, irreversible health problems and even death.

Factors to consider

Your dog’s food will have a list of ingredients. Here’s how to decipher what’s good and bad for your animal for the healthiest choice possible.

  • Meat: Meat meal, animal derivatives and animal digest are all terms for meat from questionable cuts or sources. Look for food with high meat protein percentages. Only buy pet food that lists the kinds of animals used.
  • Grains: While grain-free dog food is available, most foods will use grains as filler. Look for whole grains, which are easier on your dog’s digestive system.
  • Fruits and vegetables: Dogs don’t normally eat vegetables, but most high quality dog foods contain them for extra nutrients that can extend your dog’s lifespan.

Dogs need a balanced diet. Find the food that’s best for your animal to keep your pet happy and healthy.

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