Picking the best dog food for Fido
Updated: Nov 15, 2020
Finding the right dog food can be a daunting process. There are so many choices out there. I like to keep things as simple as possible. So here is what I've done to find the right food and try to keep it as simple as possible.
1)What are the nutritional needs of my puppy and/or adult dog? Do I have a small breed, medium or large? Their requirements are different.
2)Which pet foods meet these nutritional requirements with excellence? Look at the ingredients on the label. The ingredients are listed in order from most amount to least amount. Also note that a "chicken" or "lamb" or whatever meat/protein is listed is not the same as "chicken meal", "chicken dinner", "chicken flavor". A dog food that list "chicken" as an ingredient usually should mean chicken is about 70% of the product, now chicken dinner has about 10% of chicken in the entire product, chicken flavor has about 3%. You get the point, it's important you read the label and understand what the labels mean.
3)Does he/she have a sensitive stomach? If so, I would stick with chicken or lamb dog food as these are milder on the belly. I do not like to deal with sour stomachs on my babies so I stick with lamb or chicken and their food usually has brown rice or oatmeal.
4)Does the food packaging say "complete and balanced? This is not just a marketing technique , if it says this on the package they are probably meeting the requirements for AAFCO, the Association of American Feed Control Officials. If interested check out AAFCO website.Make sure your dog food has been evaluated by AAFCO.
5) Should I pick grain free? I guess if your pet has a grain allergy and your vet told you to, then certainly do it. There is some concern right now that these foods may be causing heart issues. Nothing has been proven so far, but be aware.
6) If you are able, pick a dog food with high quality meat, veggies, fruit and grains (grains are actually a source of good wholesome nutrients). These are a bit more pricey, but well worth it.
7) Different dogs have different nutritional needs. Know the nutritional needs of your dog the check the nutrition analysis of the food you are considering. Sometimes the label in the food does not have the complete analysis, feel free to call the companies and ask them for the complete analysis. They are more often than mot very happy to help.
8) More expensive food does not mean better food, so do not be fooled! Make sure the company of the dog food you are considering has done extensive research on the nutritional needs of dogs, have done food quality testing and have high standards of safety. I believe my dogs are nobody's guinea pigs so if a food has not been tested for quality, if the company has not taken the time and resources to do research and if they do not have high safety standards then I just don't feed that brand food, period!
7) Please do some research and talk to your vet. They have most likely seen it all:)
We love our pups!
June 10, 2019 Update:
Below you'll find 3 resources I have found very valuable in order to help me select the right food for my dogs.
1) AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) website has recommendations on selecting the right food for our loved pups. Go to AAFCO.ORG and select the tab "Selecting The Right Pet Food
2) WSAVA (The World Small Animal Veterinary Association) website has a pdf entitled Recommendations on Selecting Pet Foods . On their website, choose Global Nutrition Guidelines, scroll down to "Tools For Pet Owners" in here you'll find "Selecting the Best Food for your Pet".
3)Facebook group called "Taurine-Deficient (Nutritional) Dilated Cardiomyopathy", the tab listed as "Learning" or "Units" it is full of valuable information. This group is tackling the Grain Free, Exotic and Suspect ingredients concerns in our dog's food.
They recommend the following:
1) Follow a diet that meets WSAVA
2)As of right now the diets that follow these guidelines are those manufactured by Royal Canid, Purina, Hill's Science Diet, Eukanuba, Iams & almost all veterinary prescription diets.
Are you shocked? I was, but I should not have been! When my kids were younger we had 2 poodle mixed dogs and all along I fed them either Eukanuba puppy food or Iams (chicken or lamb), our dogs never had any nutritional related illnesses and they lived a very long life, well beyond their life expectancy.
*Always talk to your vet if you are concerned about the food you are feeding your dogs.
1) Do your research and make an informed decision
2) Talk to your vet
3) More expensive dog food does not necessarily mean it's a better food for our dogs.
4) As far as Rainier Labradoodles parent dogs and puppies, we are currently changing dog food to Purina Pro Plan Focus, and Purina Pro Plan Puppy Food. We are staying far away from any grain free dog foods. I refuse to take any chances with my dog's health even if it means not feeding them whatever is "IN" at the moment.