A Tale of Four Dog Foods: Finding the Best Chow for Your Hound
We all love our dogs and want to give them the best life has to offer. But with so many variations of dog food in the market, it isn't always easy to identify the best food for our dog. Who can feel confident when so many brands trumpet buzzwords that hit the human aisles not long ago, such as "rich in antioxidants," "highly digestible," "Omega-3 fatty acids," and "Ultra Premium Formula"?
What we can do, though, is to conduct a simple dog food comparison to determine which foods best fit our dog's requirements and our schedule. After all, some foods offer much greater convenience than the more natural, less processed types of food, which may require freezing, thawing, cooking, and preparation.
Convenience aside, the best food to give your dog depends not on the brand or the style but rather on your dog's age and any special requirements he might have. For example, older dogs require food containing a careful balance of protein, fat, and fiber. Most commercial dog food companies address this need with offerings such as senior dog food, including about 18 % protein, and food for dogs diagnosed with renal failure, containing approximately 14% protein.
Dare to Compare Dry Dog Food
The vast majority of dog owners go for dry dog food. Between the supermarket and specialty pet stores, owners enjoy many brands to choose from. Dry dog food consists of kibble typically made from one primary ingredient: chicken, beef, or lamb. The main ingredient is usually a meat byproduct processed, dried, and sold in packs or bags for easy dispensing. Meat byproducts are far cheaper than meat, so this type of dog food is not only easy to store, it's much less expensive than other types.
Hard kibble comes with some advantages. For example, it gives your dog's mouth some exercise, and kibble's less likely to contribute to plaque than softer foods.
When comparing brands, it helps to remember that there are essentially two types of dry dog food on the market: premium dog food and economy dog food. A smart owner will avoid purchasing the economy food made from lower grade ingredients (for example, economy dog food will often substitute cheap corn for the more expensive meat byproducts). The "end" result, as it were, is that your dog can't absorb many nutrients but passes the food through his body. So, in addition to enjoying less nutrition, your dog will produce larger stools -- and you might find yourself with more frequent vet bills.
Other Popular Contenders: Canned, Semi-Moist, and More
Other categories of dog food include the semi-moist type and canned food. Many owners like to mix canned of food with dry food to potentially cover more nutritional bases without taking too big a hit to the pocketbook.
Semi-moist food is attractively convenient to owners, and dogs love it. Unfortunately, it may cause dental problems in the mid-term and worse long-term because semi-moist food is loaded with corn syrup and other sugars, which dogs just aren't designed to process.
Recently, more natural, "premium" dog food has been introduced to the market. Higher quantities of quality, nutritious ingredients are used to manufacture the food -- often human-grade. Since vegetables, fruits, real meat, and quality grains are the primary protein source in the highest-quality dog foods, these foods are a fast route to healthy skin and beautiful fur. For the most part, they contain no artificial coloring and preservatives but are chock-full of vitamins and minerals instead.
Although this food costs more, you can feed your dog less of it because it's more nutritionally dense. So in terms of both convenience and nutrition, premium, natural dog food is one of the best choices available to your dog, whether off-the-shelf or purchased online.