Dog Food: What’s on the Menu?

Unlike in the past, nowadays dog owners are spoilt for choice. The variety of food available in any pet store is staggering even for the most seasoned breeder. It leaves one confused as to which food to feed their pets because the food comes in different types and forms and in each category there are hundreds if not thousands of brands to choose from, each one claiming to be the best there is in the market.

As always, information is power. Knowing the advantages and disadvantages of each type of food comes in handy when you are making this decision that will impact your dog for the rest of his life. This guide lets you in on the finer details of what most foods in the store have to offer.

Standard foods

Most foods in the store come in one of three forms. It is kibble also known as dry food, canned food or frozen food.

Kibble is the least expensive dog food available in stores. It takes longer to eat and is also bulky so your dog ends up feeling fuller after a meal. It’s impossible for a dog to gulp down the food and is forced to chew it a process that promotes dental health.

The downside to kibble is that it must be stored in a cool dry place and tends to occupy quite some space in the house.

Canned food offers a concentrated source of energy and is especially ideal for small dogs that don’t need to eat large portions. It tends to be more expensive than kibble, and must be stored in the fridge after you open it to avoid spoilage.

Frozen food is more expensive than both canned and dry food. It is easy to store as long as you have a freezer and is easy for a dog to feed on, especially a dog that needs an appetite booster. Unlike the other two foods, frozen food is available both as cooked food and raw food, offering you variety.

Away from the conventional…

Other than dry, canned and frozen food, there are other forms of food  to choose from.

The first and one whose popularity is on the rise is raw food. Proponents of this food say that dogs should be fed what their ancestors used to feed on and what their relatives in the wild feed on: meat.

One form of meat that’s common among these proponents is chicken. Raw chicken might contain salmonella  bacteria which can easily be passed to humans. Another concern is that the food might not contain enough nutrients for your dog especially if the dog is young, old or has other issues that require a balanced diet to manage.

Vegetarian diet is another popular form. This is usually fed by owners who are vegetarian and would want all their family members to be vegetarian, including their canine family. The food is also recommended for dogs that are allergic to meat.

Organic food has also caught on in the dog food world. Organic food is food that is prepared without any chemicals or preservatives, which means the dogs eat food that is healthy and not contaminated with chemicals.

Homemade food has made a comeback among some owners whereby the dog is fed leftovers from the family’s food just like dogs in times gone by used to eat. Sometimes the food is mixed with kibble or canned food to bulk it up. These owners are worried about the quality and safety of commercial food and so prefer to feed their  dogs  on  food whose ingredients they are sure of.

Just like raw diets homemade food might not be nutritionally balanced for your dog, which could lead to health problems. If you are really determined to feed your dog on homemade food, have your vet analyse the ingredients and the amounts of each ingredient to include in the recipe to make sure it’s balanced. Alternatively, you can use many of the recipes available for this type of feeding but still you need a professional to approve it.

Whatever foods you choose make sure it’s the best for your dog’s optimal health. You might be saving on food money only to have to spend it on vet bills. Or you might be avoiding commercial food only to end up with a malnourished dog. If you have concerns consult your vet to settle your fears.

Cute Photo by @adventureswithdottie

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