A Complete Dog Food Buying Guide
When it comes to buying dog food there are many different things you need to take into consideration. There are so many dog foods on the market and it can be extremely difficult to select a brand that you think will be best for your dog. Dogs need to have the right balance of carbohydrate, protein, fat, vitamins and minerals to keep them healthy.
The debate about what exactly we should feed our dogs is ongoing. There are lots of different opinions which doesn’t make things any easier. The best thing you can do is choose a diet that you feel is right for your dog. You just need to find a dog food that they like that agrees with their digestive system and dietary needs.
In order to make buying dog food easier, we have put together a guide with some key information. Here are some of the things you need to think about.
Premium vs budget dog food
It’s definitely worth investing in a higher quality dog food. Premium brands tend to use better quality ingredients. If you buy a less expensive brand it probably won’t contain as much protein. High-end dog foods tend to be between 40 - 60% protein, whereas cheaper options are likely to contain between 10 - 20% protein or less. Cheaper dog food brands tend to use fillers and cheap ingredients to bulk out their food, which makes them a lower quality product.
Wet vs dry dog food
One of the decisions you will need to make when buying dog food is whether to go for wet or dry food. Here are the advantages and disadvantages of both.
- More palatable for dogs. Dogs are likely to self select it over dry food.
- It has a more appealing taste and smell.
- Wet dog food is made up of 80% moisture which means your dog only gets 20% goodness. It often works out more expensive if you take this into consideration.
- It can often contain more animal derivatives.
- It can be messy.
- You get more for your money.
- It’s not as messy as wet dog food.
- It’s easy to transport and you can bulk buy.
- Easy to measure the desired quantity.
- Long lasting.
- Some dry dog foods can be far more nutritious than certain wet dog foods.
- Dogs don’t always enjoy dry dog food as much and maybe fussy as it is not quite as appealing as wet dog food.
A combination diet is where a mixture of different foods are used. Some owners combine dry and wet dog food, others will also throw some home cooked human food into the mix. A combination diet is fine for your dog as long as you know you are getting the balance right. It can be easy to overfeed your dog with certain foods or feed that a diet that is lacking in key nutrients. If you are going to feed a combination diet make sure you do your research and specifically tailor it to your dog's needs.
Age appropriate diets
Dogs go through different stages of development just like we do and have slightly different needs during each stage. Young puppies require a different diet to older dogs for example. As dogs get older they can benefit from ingredients that help with things such as joint care. You can get dog food that is specifically formulated for your dog’s life stage.
Dog food flavours
Each type of dog food will contain a key type of protein and be labeled with a specific flavour. With so many choices it can sometimes be hard to decide which food is best for your dog. There are three key considerations when it comes to choosing a flavour, whether your dog likes it, how easily they can digest it and the benefits it has. You should choose a flavour that your dog likes that doesn’t give them any digestive problems.
Chicken is a very popular choice for dog food. It is very gentle on a dog’s stomach and easy for them to digest. Dogs with sensitive stomachs often get on quite well with chicken flavored dog food. Turkey is also easily digested, it’s very similar to chicken and a lot of dogs really like it. Other flavours include lamb, game, duck, and salmon.
Each flavour has slightly different benefits, for example, oily fish is good for your dog’s coat and duck contains a good source of Omega 3 and Omega 6. It really does depend on how your dog gets on with a particular flour and the benefits you think your dog needs
Canine obesity is a huge problem at the moment. Many owners feed their dogs far too much without realising it and cannot recognise when their dog is overweight. It’s very important to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines and ensure you are feeding your dog the correct amount. Different brands will specify different amounts and you may need to measure out the correct amount of food.
Dog food ingredients are listed by weight
The ingredients on dog food labels are listed in order by weight. You will see the ingredients with the largest weight listed first. Knowing this will help you decide what dog food you want based on your priorities. For example, you might want to buy dog food where the main ingredient is protein.
Getting your dog food online
Here are some of the benefits of getting dog food online:
- Compare different brands easily on quality and price.
- Keep consistent by buying the same dog food online before you run out.
- Get the best deals by signing up for the latest offers and getting online discounts.
- Try all the very latest products including new diets, ingredients, and flavours.
- You don’t have to drive to the shops, get your dog food delivered to your door.
- You can bulk buy and order as much as you want without having to worry about transporting large bags of dog food.
Dog food mini-glossary
If ingredients are listed as ‘open formula’ then this means that they do not list specific ingredients. For example, a dog food might list cereals as an ingredient but this does not tell you what type of cereals are used.
Fixed formula dogs foods will have individual ingredients listed such as salmon, chicken, rice, and maize. With these ingredients, you know exactly what you are getting for your money.
If a dog food is ‘complete’ then it includes all the key nutrients and ingredients that your dog needs to stay healthy. Dogs need a healthy balanced diet containing water, carbohydrates, fat, vitamins and minerals.
This is just a filler dog food that doesn’t include everything your dog needs. Mixers are usually made up of cereals and used to bulk out a dog’s diet. You can reduce the cost of dog food by combining a mixer and a high-quality dog food.
This is a general term used in dog food ingredients that basically means it contains animal protein from any animal. It can also be taken from any part of the animal.
You can view our extensive dog food range