What is The Healthiest Dog Food – Finding Fido’s Fit
The ingredient list on a bag of dog food can leave you with many questions, but the main one might be this: what is the healthiest dog food I can choose? With so many options, it can be difficult to select the right food for your pup. We’ve rounded up some of the best, for dogs young to old. Read below and pick a healthy option for your dog!
What’s so bad about my current dog food option?
If you were to look at the ingredients on a bag of your dog’s fare, it is likely that you will not recognize many of the words. You might ask, “what is ‘animal byproduct’?” or “should I know what ‘Brewer’s Yeast’ is?” This is a bad omen for your pet’s health! Just as you would expect from healthy human eats, one should be understand most (arguably all) of the ingredients on the back of the package.
Meats are an important part of a dog’s diet, but in many commercial foods, the meat products are not the highest quality. In order to reduce supply costs, manufacturers use meat from animals which have been treated with hormones and antibiotics…all of which pass through the food your dog then consumes. Not only are these substances unnecessary for your dog, they are potentially harmful — hormones can be carcinogenic to your pets and antibiotics in the food can build drug resistance in bacteria.
Does your pet suffer from arthritis, gas, frequent ear infections or allergies (such as itching or hot spots)? The use of grains in their feed may be contributing. You have likely heard of humans going “gluten-free” or “grain-free,” but what about dogs? If your pet is suffering from any of the aforementioned ailments, it may be worth a try to cut grain from the diet. If not, grains are a way to keep your pet fuller, longer. Don’t forget, though: grains (nor any other one type of food) should make up more than 50% of your dog’s diet.
Lastly, beware of buzzwords. Some foods will claim to be “organic,” “hormone- and antibiotic-free,” or even “human-grade,” but usually, these terms are simply buzzwords. It is crucial to look past the attention-grabbing label and search for truly holistic, healthful pet meal.
What makes a dog food healthy?
Selecting the “best” dog food depends on many factors that are individual to your pup — what works for one dog may not work for another. Some aspects to consider are your pet’s activity level, age and size. You’ll also want to note if your dog has any sensitivities to foods, such as corn or soy.
Dogs need a wholesome balance of meat, fruits, veggies, grains and vitamins and minerals. Again, this balance depends on your pet! Not all foods have the same nutritional makeup. Some are higher in protein and fat, others high in carbohydrates. There are specialized foods available for pets with medical requirements, there are many flavor and texture options. By speaking with your veterinarian, you will be more in control of knowing what your dog needs out of his food.
There are many serving options within the range of “healthy dog food” for you to select from. From kibble to canned food to becoming your pet’s personal chef, the choice is yours.
The best brands
Below is a list of 5 of the healthiest dog foods, based on availability, vitamin and mineral content, and brand variability.
This dry dog food, made in Canada, boasts “biologically appropriate” ingredients. Acana is a good food for dogs who need protein- and meat-rich diets, but there are several formulas available to choose from to get the best fit for your furry family member.
Bonus — several of Acana’s mixes offer glucosamine, which is great for your senior dog (or a dog of any age suffering from joint pain).
Stella & Chewy’s is a fantastic option if you are interested in feeding your dog a raw diet but don’t want to make the commitment to homemade meals. This freeze-dried solution is considered grass-fed, cage-free, farm-raised and wild-caught, offering you peace of mind if you are concerned about those pesky hormones and antibiotic additives in other commercial foods.
All Stella & Chewy’s eats are freeze-dried for 20 hours, leaving them safe to consume and full of flavor and nutrition.
Taste of the Wild foods are available in both dry and canned options. With many formulas to choose from, including specialized puppy recipes, you can treat your dog to different tastes without straying from healthy ingredients.
This company is known for their use of probiotics, antioxidants, fish and other good-for-pup digestables.
This grain-free option is good for the buyer who likes their pet’s food to stay the same. Fromm offers a multitude of options that grow with your dog, making it easy to stay with the brand for your pet’s lifetime. They even offer a “product guide calculator” on their website to determine which of their foods is best for your dog.
As a company, Fromm prides itself on making “business a family affair.” They specifically note that their “rollout plans” mean that you, as the consumer, can expect high-quality consistency from year-to-year.
Last but certainly not least, Orijen is widely considered the best dog food on the market. With a product byline of “nourish as nature intended,” this food is offered in dry and freeze-dried options. This brand also offers many options for all age groups, from puppy to adult to senior, making it easy to transition in the same brand among the ages.
Finding Fido’s Fit
When it comes down to it, you are your pet’s only resource for a healthy lifestyle. You know him best, from his habits to his preferred tastes. Research all the options in the field of pet food and make an informed decision after considering your dog’s dietary needs. Remember that as your dog grows older, what you need to feed your dog will change — his needs will evolve over time and it is crucial that his eats evolve with him in order to maintain growth and mobility. No matter the stage your four-legged loved one is in, it’s time to feed your best friend the best. Don’t forget to top it off with some healthy treats!