Deciding on a dog food can be complicated.
There’s Grain Free, Limited Ingredient, Weight Control, and endless others to choose from.
And, unfortunately, there is no one right or wrong answer out there. There is no single “best” option.
You must often choose between the convenience of what’s at the grocery store, vs. reaching out and finding a food that you know is better quality. The real distinguishing factor is to make your diet decision not based on what’s best for dogs, but what is best for YOUR dog.
That’s why we at The Dog Stop have wrote up a few things to look for in deciding on the right food for your dog. Our goal at The Dog Stop is educating our customers to be conscious pet owners and provide information on dog nutrition so that you will be able to make a better-informed decision.
Here are a few factors to consider before choosing which dog food is best for your pup.
1. What is the activity level of your dog?
We all know that dog. The one that enjoys a nice walk around the neighborhood but prefers to sleep the rest of the day. This isn’t a bad thing. It is important however to make sure their protein levels in their food aren’t too high, as it can lead to weight gain. On the other spectrum, a dog that is extremely active will require a higher protein food to burn off that excess energy.
Neither lifestyle is right or wrong – it is important that the diet matches activity level.
Lazy pooch = lower protein dog foods
Active dogs = high protein dog foods
2. How Old is Your Dog?
Different stages of the life cycle require different nutrients.
Puppies are more energetic, so they benefit from foods with higher proteins and ingredients like chelated minerals that help the protein absorb better.
Minerals are an essential class of nutrients in all balanced dog diets, but the quantity and types depend on many characteristics, especially age.
Older dogs benefit from foods that contain glucosamine, which is helpful for joints. Understanding your dog’s age is hugely helpful in finding the food that works for them.
Ingredients can be the most confusing.
There exists a significant difference between regular meat vs. meat with “meal”. Meal is a meat concentrate and can contain up to 300% more protein than fresh meat on its own. So, when you see meal as an ingredient, it shouldn’t necessarily be considered a deterrent.
Sweet potatoes are also something that’s found in most decent dog foods. These are complex carbohydrates in a dog food and naturally rich in dietary fiber, which is a necessity for most dog diets.
These are a few of the ingredients that you should always look for in the food’s ingredients.
4. Long-Term Health Benefits
By spending a little more for a decent dog food, you can help set your dog up for a healthier life by providing them with essential nutrients. Some benefits can be seen immediately, like energy level, but others are displayed over time. A healthier lifestyle can result in staying active longer, reduced visits to the vet and even a long lifespan.
When grocery shopping for ourselves, we know that there is a significant difference between the quality of fresh fish vs. farmed tilapia. We also know the difference between the cheap-meats and the organic ones purchased at your local Wholefoods. The mentality should be the same when shopping for pet foods because the trade offs exist in equal degrees between high quality foods and lower cost ones.
Understanding your dog’s allergies, preferences, and the nutrients that are available to you, you can make a better, educated decision on how to help your dog live their best life.