Healthy Dog Foods

By Claudia Bensimoun

First Published in Reviews.Com under “The Best Dog Food” By Claudia Bensimoun 

Keeping our pets healthy with nutritious food

 

 photo 1 copy

Image Credit: Claudia Bensimoun 

 

Do you live with an eight- month old Shepherd mix that thinks he’s Cujo, or maybe  a senior Lab puppy who’s a little on the heavy side that spends that spends half the day chasing a ball and the other half nursing sore joints? Dogs, like people, have individual needs, and every dogs’ nutrition requirements are unique depending on breed, age, weight, and activity level. A dog food that works for one dog may not work for another. A Border Collie who trains for agility needs many more calories than the Chihuahua that enjoys cuddling next to you.

Many pet owners underestimate the importance of good nutrition for our furry best friends. As you may have noticed, there are many different brands to choose from. I know which ones are great for my dogs, but to select the best dog food for your dog, you should assess your dog’s activity level, age, breed, and any medical conditions that he or she may be prone to.

After a month’s worth of research and interviews  the answer was clear: The Honest Kitchen: Thrive was my top pick, and is simply the best dehydrated dog food on the market. As an alternative, Halo, Purely for Pets Spot’s Stew is the best choice if you’re looking for dry dog food only. If you have a pup that suffers from allergies, or if you’re hunting for a great food that won’t break the bank, I also suggested some other great options for you.

www.thehonestkitchen.com

www.halopets.com

The 6 overall best dog foods

  • The Honest Kitchen (Dehydrated ) & Halo for regular dry dog food
  • Nature’s Balance. Sweet potato & fish. Grain-free
  • Fromm Adult Gold
  • Wellness Core Puppy Formula. Grain-free. Protein focused nutrition for puppies
  • Taste of the Wild. Pacific stream canine with smoked salmon
  • Royal Canin. Maxi Aging Care Senior Dog Food

How I chose healthy dog foods

 In my search to find healthy dog foods, I focused on AAFCO nutrient profiles, and what ingredients would qualify for the “ complete and balanced ” designation. With so many dog food brands trending, there was a lot to go on. All dog foods are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration,( FDA), the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Individual State Department of Agriculture. That said, it’s the The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) that provides  guidelines for the manufacturing, selling and labeling of pet foods to ensure pet safety. AAFCO also dictates the levels of nutrients that should be used for each life stage.

Food has the power to heal; yet that healing is totally dependent on the quality of the ingredients within each dog food recipe. Dog food recipes are also constantly changing. This is done to update formulas according to new scientific research, and also to keep costs down.

Pet parents should focus on optimal nutritional diet plans for their pets. They should focus on optimal commercial nutrition diet selection and assist with nutritional management for pets with medical conditions.

Generally speaking, there are a couple of tips that can be used to check if your dog food choices pass the test.

  • Look for dog foods that are tested using the AAFCO feeding trials instead of by formulation.
  • Look for the nutritional adequacy statement that is required on all pet food labels.
  • This label provides answers to three most important questions about your pet food.
  • If it’s complete and balanced
  • What life stage is it intended for? (Puppy, senior, etc.)
  • How the claims on the label are substantiated

Pet parents should look for foods made by reputable dog food companies with long histories of producing high- quality diets. Diets that have an Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) statement on the label saying that the diets have undergone animal feeding trials for the appropriate life stage are generally preferable to diets that are formulated [by computer] to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for that life stage.

This is very important for puppy and kitten diets. Most importantly, the diet you select for your pet should be the one that they thrive on.

That said, dog owners should understand that all dog foods are made to meet the minimum of one recognized life stage: growth and pregnancy, or adult maintenance.  Pet parents need to know that the life stage that a pet food is marketed for, may not be the same life stage for which the food actually meets the minimum requirements.

  • Feed a diet from a well-known, reputable company. Contact them with any questions of concern.
  • The labels on any diet should meet the levels established by the AAFCO Control Officials and/ or feeding trials.
  • All dog food diets should have the following statement “Animal Feeding tests using the AAFCO procedures substantiate that “Brand X” provides completed and balanced nutrition for growth (or maintenance.)
  • Feed puppies puppy food and be sure to feed a large breed puppy a Large Breed puppy diet.
  • Feeding a small dog diet can cause large dogs to grow too quickly, and can lead to serious growth abnormalities and “growing pains.”
  • There is no “best diet”- dogs are individuals. A diet that works for one dog may not be the best for another. Age, energy level and individual medical concerns play a large role for each patient.
  • The recommended guidelines on bags often contain more calories than our patients need. Unless it is a very energetic (and intact) animal, I usually recommend feeding the lower end of the recommendation.

Feed a complete and balanced food for the appropriate life stage of the pet. 

I researched whether dog foods used “human grade ingredients,” by-products, rendered ingredients in the form of meat-meal or chicken-meal. As a pet parent and writer that specializes in writing about dogs, I wanted to look at all  dog food brands objectively, list all the controversial ingredients sometimes used, and come up with the most popular brands that had awesome reviews. I researched hundred’s of dog food reviews from the FDA, The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) http://www.aahanet.org/PublicDocuments/PetFoodRecallMembers.pdf , The Association for Truth in Pet Food (ATPF), The Consumerist, Amazon dog food reviews,The American Veterinary Association (AMVA), The Whole Dog Journal, dog food advisors, and scanned lists of ingredients on plenty- and I mean plenty- of dog food formulas. This strategy was used to get to my favorite six picks, after reviewing a comprehensive list of over 50 dog food brands. I then moved on to further ingredient evaluations to single out my top pick. The Honest Kitchen for the best dehydrated dog food, and Halo, Spot’s Kitchen for the best dry dog food.

Other dog foods to consider

Every dog is different, some will suffer from serious allergies, others will have digestive issues. Some brands are better suited for certain dogs. When it comes to dog foods, understanding your pet’s current health and nutritional needs is paramount. And always remember to ask your veterinarian for advice before changing your dog’s diet.

The best-dehydrated, raw dog food

The Honest Kitchen. Thrive. Chicken Recipe- Chew on this:

This raw dehydrated, all- natural pet food makes pet travel easy. Just add warm water, let it sit for a few minutes, and it’s ready to eat. Plus, it’s made with human-food grade ingredients, so you can be sure your four-legged companion is getting the best. The Honest Kitchen is available online and at selected pet stores.

http://www.amazon.com/Honest-Kitchen-Thrive-Chicken-Whole/dp/B00A8O1Q74/ref=sr_1_15?ie=UTF8&qid=1424925186&sr=8-15&keywords=the+honest+kitchen

The best dry dog food for adult dogs

Halo.Purely For Pets. Spot’s Stew. Adult Dog Formula. Wholesome Chicken Recipe.

This dry dog food for adult dogs contains no rendered meat or meal from chicken,fish or other meat sources.Plus,Halo also contains plenty of farm- raised vegetables, no preservatives, artificial colors or flavors, and is conveniently available at most pet stores and online.

http://www.amazon.com/Halo-Purely-Pets-Wholesome-28-Pound/dp/B005D0QF6U/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1424925115&sr=8-4&keywords=spots+stew

The best dry food for puppies

Wellness Core Natural Grain-Free Puppy Formula.( Deboned Chicken, Chicken meal and Turkey meal.)  Wellness provides some of the best in puppy pet food with holistic real- foods ingredients that are free of added hormones and steroids.This puppy food is gluten-free, and contains salmon oil, a natural source of DHA, that helps support cognitive development. This puppy food also contains probiotics to help maintain a healthy digestive tract. Plus, Wellness Core has guaranteed calcium and phosphorus levels to help support healthy development of bones and teeth. Wellness is available online and at traditional pet stores.

http://www.amazon.com/Wellness-Natural-Food-Health-26-Pound/dp/B007M0J7Z0/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1424926066&sr=8-1&keywords=wellness+core+puppy+formula

The best grain-free dry food

Dick Van Patten’s Natural Balance. Limited Ingredients Diet. (Sweet Potato and Fish)

Dick Van Patten’s Natural Balance is made with human- grade fish, chicken broth, sweet potatoes, potatoes, and dehydrated potatoes.This dry food is designed with a limited number of protein and carbohydrate sources. Additionally, it uses a premium quality protein source that is not often used in dog food-salmon that is rich in Omega-3. Plus, Natural Balance contains sweet potato, a top quality carbohydrate that is rich in potassium and  is highly digestible. This dry dog food offers excellent Omega-3 and Omega – 6 fatty acid profiles.Dick Van Patten’ Natural Balance is available online and at traditional pet stores.

http://www.amazon.com/Pattens-Natural-Balance-Ingredient-26-Pound/dp/B00JR99JAC/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1424926950&sr=8-3&keywords=natural+balance+grain+free+sweet+potato+and+fish

http://www.amazon.com/Pattens-Natural-Balance-Ingredient-26-Pound/dp/B00JR99JAC/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=14249 The best dog food for active dogs

Fromm Adult Gold.

Fromm Holistic Adult Gold contains ingredients like duck, eggs, chicken, lamb and Wisconsin cheese! This product also includes probiotics to aid with digestion. Fromm is available at most traditonal pet stores and online.

http://www.amazon.com/Fromm-Gold-Holistic-Adult-Food/dp/B000LURXOK/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1424928438&sr=8-1&keywords=fromm+adult+gold

The best senior dry dog food

Royal Canin Maxi Aging Care Senior Dog Food. This dog food works to support healthy aging and cellular growth for dogs aged eight years and older.  Royal Canin not only provides nutrition that is tailored for each breed, but also for each life stage, weight, gender, etc. This product can be found online or at traditional pet stores.

http://www.amazon.com/Royal-Canin-Food-Aged-30-Pound/dp/B00CP1NAU4/ref=sr_1_fkmr1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1424928688&sr=8-1-fkmr1&keywords=royal+canin+Maxi+Aging+Care+Senior+Dog+Food

The best dry exotic dog food

Taste of the Wild Dry Dog Food. Pacific Stream Canine Formula with Smoked Salmon.

With options like bison, duck, venison, quail, wild boar, lamb, salmon and turkey, this brand offers unique and unusual protein sources that are healthy for dogs. Taste of the Wild is an excellent choice for dogs with food sensitivities or allergies.This brand is available at pet stores or online.

http://www.amazon.com/Taste-Wild-Pacific-Formula-30-Pound/dp/B0018CIP6K/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1424928904&sr=8-2&keywords=taste+of+the+wild

The best canned dog food

Dogswell Nutrisca. Salmon and Chickpea Stew.

Dogswell has four lines of wet foods, which contain no corn, soy products or artificial flavors. The Live Free formula is for for adult and senior dogs. Nutrisca, the second formula, is grain and potato free and offers a lots of protein. Vitality, the third formula contains added vitamins for holistic health. Happy Hips, the fourth formula offers glucosamine and chondroitin for hip and joint wellness. This product is available at pet stores and online.

http://www.amazon.com/Nutrisca-Salmon-Chickpea-Stew-Recipe/dp/B009LQC9TY/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1424929249&sr=8-1&keywords=nutrisca+canned+food+for+dogs+salmon+and+chickpea

 A full review of the best dog food

 Most of us understand the importance of eating healthily, but many don’t fully understand that this applies to our furry friends, too. Vitamins and amino acids should not be synthetic, and organic should mean that all of the ingredients are organic, including vitamins and minerals, and not just a few. A well-balanced dog food should use real meat as its first ingredient. It should also not use harmful preservatives, flavors or artificial colors.

The Honest Kitchen: Thrive: Chicken and Whole Grain Dog Food is all natural and human- grade dehydrated dog food. It states that “ all ingredients are guaranteed 100 percent Human Food Grade” and that it “ has been the only pet food manufacturer in the U.S to have proved to the FDA that every ingredient it uses in its products are suitable for human consumption.” This dog food is easy to prepare, and easy to take along when traveling with your pet.

The first five ingredients in this dog food yield dehydrated chicken, organic quinoa, dehydrated sweet potatoes, dehydrated spinach, dried parsley, and dehydrated organic kelp. This brand contains no animal feed- grade ingredients, and is also made in an FDA- inspected facility. Plus, all their ingredients are gluten –free.

Judging by their ingredients alone, The Honest Kitchen looks like the best dehydrated dog food out there. When estimating the product’s chicken content, crude protein reads at 26 percent, with a fat level of 19 percent, moisture at 7.26 percent, and an estimated fiber content of 6.30percent. It also contains natural added vitamins and chelated minerals (which are easier to absorb) with no fillers or by-products. It also is formulated to meet the nutritional levels by AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles for all life stages. This means that it’s great for the puppy stage, gestating stage, lactating stage and other life stages, with adjustment for each stage. According to The Honest Kitchen, this is a product that is recommended by holistic veterinarians too.

Pet parents should look for foods made by reputable dog food companies with long histories of producing quality diets. Diets that have an Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) statement on the label saying that the diets have undergone animal feeding trials for the appropriate life stage are generally preferable to diets that are formulated [by computer] to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for that life stage. Most importantly, the diet you select for your pet should be the one that they thrive on.

How do dog owners feel about this product? According to Amazon reviews, many felt that they had found the “perfect food.”

http://www.amazon.com/The-Honest-Kitchen-Thrive-Chicken/product-reviews/B00A8O1Q74

What does the The Honest Kitchen say about their ingredients?: “The meats used in our dehydrated recipes are pathogen- safe and are even FDA- approved “human edible.”  When considering how long it takes to prepare a home-cooked meal for your furry best friends, those of you who want to spend less time in the kitchen should consider this healthy alternative. The end dehydrated pet food contains the raw foods’ natural color, flavors and aromas, which shows that it still contains life. This is why we are confident we’re the best alternative to dog food and cat food on the market.”

Another huge plus was the fact that this product does not contribute to plaque build up since it contains no sugars, salt, or added preservatives. It’s lightweight, easy to carry, and cheap to ship. The benefits of feeding dehydrated foods are a healthy alternative to feeding a raw diet to picky eaters.

http://www.thehonestkitchen.com/dog-food

Who is it best for?

 There is no best diet since all dogs have different dietary needs, so it’s always smart to find the best dog food to match each individual dog. That said, consult with your veterinarian for advice when changing Fido’s diet.

 If you’re dealing with a picky eater, who doesn’t readily accept kibbles, The Honest Kitchen dehydrated dog food is a good option. Considering that this company uses free- range chicken, as well as cage- free turkey, Mid-western beef, and 100 percent wild-caught fish in their other recipes, this product allows for dogs to eat the very best ingredients. There are no substandard ingredients listed, and all their foods are AAFCO approved, with the exception of Preference,  since that is a premix used for supplementing a meat dish.

Who should skip it?

 If you’re not one for measuring out water to add, then you may want to pass. Bottom line: If you are not into deviating from regular dry kibbles or canned dog food, this brand may not be for you. This line also tends to be pricier than the average dog food.

How best to use it?

 The Honest Kitchen:Thrive isn’t the regular type of pet food in the form of a kibble or canned. Since it’s a dehydrated food, it has to be fed slightly differently.

Use a standard cup to measure the amount of water and food needed, per the directions.

The Honest Kitchen brand also includes four lines with an additional meat-free premix, Hale that is easily added to a raw diet or as a supplement to another diet.

Kitchen: http://www.thehonestkitchen.com

 The runners up for best dog food

There were plenty of other great dog foods that didn’t make top pick, but that doesn’t mean that they should be ignored. Each brand of dog food should be chosen with a dog’s unique and specific health needs in mind. Just as we choose different diets to suit our own lifestyles and life stages, the same should be done for our dogs.

Halo Spot’s Stew –  Considering how many awesome reviews Halo received, this brand ranks highly among the top natural dog food brands. There are no chicken meal products or other rendered animal parts used, and Halo does not use any of the 4D products: diseased, disabled, dying and dead (before being slaughtered) in their food. The formula for Halo Spot’s Stew offers real, natural ingredients such as fresh chicken, whole greens, and berries. The top- five ingredients listed are chicken, eggs, pea protein, oats, and vegetable broth. This brand is a great choice for the health – conscious pet parent, and is available for large and small breeds.

http://www.halopets.com

Fromm Adult Gold Fromm Adult Gold wasn’t my top pick, but it came close. The main reason it was not crowned king was because there was not enough information listed about the vitamins and minerals. The first five ingredients named are duck, chicken meal, chicken, brown rice and pearled barley. Fromm’s contains Menhaden fishmeal as its seventh ingredient, which comes from whole fresh fish caught specifically for fishmeal and uses clean, dried, ground tissue of undecomposed whole fish. With that said, it’s a good brand of dog food that is holistic and is available in duck, chicken and lamb recipes that have fresh Wisconsin cheese and whole eggs.

frommfamily.com

Dick Van Patten’s Natural Balance. Sweet Potato and Fish. Grain-free- Dog owners are constantly praising this brand. Made with human- grade fish, chicken broth, sweet potatoes, potatoes, and dehydrated potatoes, it uses only highly acclaimed ingredients.It provides an execellent source of protein and kelp meal that contains a mix of vitamins,minerals and trace elements.

Royal Canin Maxi Aging Care Senior- We all want to help our aging pets and this brand certainly does. It comes highly recommended by veterinarians and can be purchased from many clinics as well as traditional pet stores. Royal Canin believes that pet have unique nutritional needs. All their pet foods are based on scientific research. Bottom line: If you’re looking for a pet food that has nutritional formulas  for each breed and life stage, Royal Canin is the way to go.

http://www.royalcanin.com

Taste of the Wild- Pacific Stream Canine with Smoked Salmon- For those dog lovers wishing to ensure digestive health in their pooches, Taste of the Wild uses guaranteed probiotics. This is a great product for dogs suffering from digestive health issues. With sweet potatoes – a good source of dietary fiber- as its third ingredient, this dog food is packed with antioxidants, and offers a high source of vitamin E. Sweet potatoes contain many important nutrients, and include vitamins A, B6 and C, calcium, folate, copper, thiamine, iron and potassium. The first five ingredients listed are salmon, ocean fishmeal, sweet potatoes, canola oil and salmon meal, so your dog will be consuming enough omega-3 fatty acids. This is also excellent for anxious or stressed out dogs. It does contain canola oil which some may consider an unhealthy fat.

tasteofthewildpetfood.com

Wellness Core Puppy Formula Grain Free- The Wellness formula contains probiotics, salmon oil, and has guaranteed calcium and phosphorus levels to help support healthy development of your pup’s teeth and bones, and is made with gluten- free ingredients. Critically, it doesn’t contain beet pulp, which can act as a stool hardener in pups. The first five ingredients include deboned chicken, chicken meal, turkey meal, potatoes and peas. This is a holistic brand that is free of hormones and steroids. It is also free of any meat by-products and offers plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.

http://www.wellnesspetfood.com/index.aspx

Dogswell Nutrisca Canned Foods- Salmon and Chickpea Stew- This was my top pick for wet foods. Dogswell is a line that includes dry and wet foods, and carries four different lines in canned foods. The options include Live Free for adult and senior dogs, Nutrisca, a grain – and potato- free variety with high protein, Vitality with added vitamins for holistic health, and Happy Hips offering glucosamine and chondroitin for hip and joint wellness. The protein options include turkey and chickpea stew, salmon and chickpea stew, and a chicken with chickpea. There are no artificial flavors, and no corn or soy in the ingredients.

http://www.dogswell.com/healthy-dog-food/canned-food/

Choosing the right type of dog food for your dog

Dogs give us their everything-friendship, love and loyalty! In return we should give them the very best nutrition. Every dog food contains different ingredients.

It’s also wise to examine the nutritional benefits of the dog food that you’re currently feeding. Jot down all the ingredients, caloric content, protein and fat levels, and question whether your dog is currently suffering from any health problems like itchy skin, bloat or diarrhea. Your next step will be to find the ideal food for your dog.

Even if you’ve been feeding your pet the same dog food for years, you’ll probably not notice the changes, like using chicken meal instead of whole chicken,  or changes in the type of carbohydrates used. This could affect your pet in many ways, triggering allergies and sensitivities that he or she may have never had before. Protein percentages can also drop when formulas are changed. This happens often, and does affect the quality of the food.  For those unaware, cellulase breaks down cellulose. Many dogs have problems with both because it causes digestive problems.

If you want to see which dog foods make a difference, and keep Fido healthy, you don’t have to spend a lot of time or money. The best dog foods are made with the simplest, and most nutritious ingredients. Look for high-quality ingredients such as whole meats, fruits, vegetables, and grains, and take heed of the different ratio of macronutrients- proteins, fats and carbs! Next, you’ll have to try out which one works best for your dog. Providing Fido with the most appropriate diet that is healthy and beneficial to his life stage will help you give your pet a long and healthy life!

Dry foods

Dry foods come in different sizes in the form of kibbles. AAFCO model regulations and the federal feed laws stipulate that all pet food labels need to list all the ingredients in their pet food. This is done in descending order according to the weight of each ingredient listed. With that said, it’s easy to see where the most important sources of calories and proteins are coming from-the first five ingredients listed. The first ingredient is the one ingredient that is present in the highest amount. As a category natural, organic and holistic dry dog food brands offer many varieties – grain free, gluten free, vegetarian and traditional. Dry dog food is available through most pet food brands.

What’s good about dry dog food?

 easy to feed

many different varieties

excellent for travel

easily combined with canned foods or fresh foods

high quality brands

easy feeding instructions for the new pet parent

can easily be purchased from your veterinarian’s office

grain free, gluten free and vegetarian options

not messy

complete- and- balanced nutritional requirements recommended by veterinarians

What’s bad about dry dog food?

 may be heavy to carry or ship

can become contaminated with mold if not stored properly

numerous recalls due to bacteria, salmonella, mycotoxins and nutrient concerns.

cheap dry dog food brands may have lower quality ingredients

constant need to check for a balanced ingredient list

some by-products

obesity in dogs

may use by-products

Wet/canned dog foods:

 can be combined with dry kibble

inspect first five ingredients

watch out for thickener’s like “gum”

try to stay away from wheat gluten that is used in wet foods to bind the protein content of the food.

What’s good about wet dog food?

 numerous “complete and balanced” brands that are of high quality.

numerous varieties such as turkey, chicken, beef, liver and duck.

supplemental varieties available which are perfect for supplementing a varied diet

easy to feed

easy to carry

convenient in times of illness when your dog needs to have a change of diet

What’s bad about wet dog food?

meat by-products that may not be clean or refrigerated

wheat gluten

unnamed animal /protein sources

sweeteners or sugars

preservatives, flavors, artificial colors, hormones

fat content may be high

water may be first ingredient, with the second being wheat gluten (cheaper brands)

vegetables may come in as the 8th or 9th ingredient, which means that there’s hardly any vegetables in the formula

need to check ingredient labels repeatedly, most often when switching brands to make sure that you’re not falling for the pretty packaging.

Dehydrated dog food

 

fresh produce is dehydrated below 104 degrees, and is considered raw.

meat and fish are steamed at approximately 140 and 165 degrees to kill food borne pathogens.

meat and fish are then dehydrated at 125 degrees

grains and potatoes are flash heated at temperatures higher than 210 degrees to make them more digestible

This also breaks down the cellulose

 

What’s good about dehydrated dog food?

 

minimally processed

high moisture content

whole foods

human grade

convenient

dehydration process leaves behind natural ingredients that support immunity and good health

stable shelf life

does not need refrigeration

color, flavor, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients not impacted by dehydration process

cheap shipping costs

 

What’s bad about dehydrated dog food?

 not as many brands to chose from

may be more expensive

What makes a dog food good

 The 18 Most Important Features

 With nearly 80 million dogs in the U.S, it’s important to consider why large-scale pet food companies have recently become more concerned with better nutrition. Pet parents are demanding organic, natural, high quality dog foods that will help their pets lead healthier and longer lives. All in all, you’ll find that dog owners are being encouraged to provide the best in nutrition for their pets. However, it’s important to consider what makes a good dog food. One of the biggest trends today is grain- free! You’ll notice that many brands have or are releasing grain-free versions of their original formulas.

Most of us understand the importance of eating healthily, but many don’t fully understand that this applies to our furry friends, too. Vitamins and amino acids should not be synthetic, and organic should mean that all of the ingredients are organic, including vitamins and minerals, and not just a few. A well-balanced dog food should use real meat as its first ingredient. It should also not use harmful preservatives, flavors or artificial colors.

General ingredients that include whole meats, fruits or vegetables in their top 5 ingredients are considered good foods. Those that also incorporate antioxidants like blueberries, cranberries, pomegranates and pumpkin are also becoming popular. With that said, organic, natural and preservative- free with no artificial ingredients, are also key to a well- balanced, and high quality dog food.

Always ask yourself these questions: Is my dog suffering from any health problems? What life stage is he or she at? Veterinarians recommend that dog owners have a better understanding of their dog’s health issues and life stage before choosing a dog food.

“ Good quality dog foods will always have better results than poor quality dog foods. But dogs which have diseases which are heavily impacted by their diet, such as atopic allergies or inflammatory bowel disease, have more stringent requirements than the average dog, and they must be on a diet appropriate to their problems in order to control that disease. (So they might need a restricted diet, such as a grain-free diet, or one that is high in soluble fiber, insoluble fiber, or both.)” Dr. Nancy Scanlan. DVM, Executive Director of the AHVMF

http://www.ahvmf.org/index.php/allabout/51-about-foundation/149-nancy-scanlan-dvm-ms

  • no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives such as propylene glycol.
  • whole foods –no processed foods.
  • meat instead of meat meal.
  • organ meats are good.
  • by-products such as organ meats are fine, but no non-meat parts.
  • a good source of calcium
  • vegetables for fiber and nutrients such as flavonoids
  • diets need to be tested using AAFCO feeding trials, or by formulation to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles
  • specific quality control measures to assure consistency and quality of all ingredients used, as well as for the end product.
  • diet should be complete and balanced
  • the food should indicate what life stage it is intended for?
  • AAFCO provides nutrient profiles for all different life stages, all but for one, the senior geriatric dog.
  • dog food must meet the AAFCO profiles for all life stages and must meet the minimum nutrient levels for growth and adult maintenance in dogs.
  • the dog food must be made by a reputable and knowledgeable dog food company that has the highest quality control measures.
  • it should not be made in China, nor should any of the ingredients come from China.
  • puppies should eat only a puppy food so there should be a puppy formula.
  • large breed pups like the Great Dane or German Shepherd need to be on a large breed puppy diet to ensure correct growth and no growth abnormalities.
  • contains antioxidants, Omega 3’s, healthy ingredients and a balanced diet for the appropriate life stage.

That said, it made sense for the best dog food to have:

  • healthy ingredients
  • fresh meat
  • vegetables and fruit
  • no controversial ingredients
  • no added hormones and steroids
  • no unnamed meat sources
  • right ratio of macronutrients
  • by-products in the form of organ meats
  • not overly processed

Final thoughts

 You may not realize that your dog’s physical well-being depends on what you feed him. Feeding your dogs the right foods will help him or her overcome certain diseases, live a longer and happier life, and even prevent many behavioral problems that may be linked to improper nutrition.

While dehydrated dog food is an excellent option, canned and dry dog foods also provide high- quality nutrition. Dogs also enjoy variety when it comes to what they eat. With the huge selection of high- quality dog foods available, make sure to try different varieties in the same way that we try new foods. And as always, consult with your veterinarian for expert dietary advice.

Sources:

 

http://www.wsava.org/educational/global-nutrition-committee

http://www.animalwellnessmagazine.com/articles/brain-food/

http://www.usdaa.com/article.cfm?newsid=2251

http://www.consumeraffairs.com/pets/pet-food

https://www.facebook.com/AAHAHealthyPet

https://www.aaha.org/pet_owner/about_aaha/why_accreditation_matters/guidelines_position_statements/aaha_nutritional_assessment_guidelines_for_dogs_ca.aspx

http://consumerist.com/tag/dog-food/

http://www.petfoodnutrition.com/resources/

http://www.petdiets.com/about

http://www.fda.gov/AnimalVeterinary/SafetyHealth/RecallsWithdrawals/default.htm

http://www.aafco.org

https://www.avma.org/News/Issues/recalls-alerts/Pages/pet-food-safety-recalls-alerts.aspx

http://www.acvn.org

http://boss.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/03/19/shouldnt-your-dog-be-gluten-free-too/?_r=0

https://www.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl#q=the+best+dog+foods

http://www.petmd.com/dog/nutrition/evr_dg_the_best_food_for_dogs?page=2

https://www.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl#q=best+dry+dog+food

https://www.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl#q=best+dry+dog+food+brands

http://www.consumersearch.com/dog-food/best-dry-dog-food

http://www.wysong.net/pet-health-and-nutrition/documents/Dry-Matter-Analysis-of-Wysong-Pet-Foods.pdf

http://www.thehonestkitchen.com

http://www.plosone.org

http://www.sciencedaily.com/search/?similar=&keyword=dogs&section=all&period=365&sort=relevance&from=2014-02-17&to=2015-02-17

http://www.journals.elsevier.com/the-veterinary-journal/

http://reviews.petco.com/3554/22-92/food-reviews/category.htm

http://www.whole-dog-journal.com/topics/dog_food.html

http://pets.webmd.com/dogs/guide/best-dog-food-choices

Dog Food Reviews

 

http://www.thehonestkitchen.com/expert-reviews

http://petfoodtalk.com/dogfoodreviews/halo/

http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/dog-food-reviews/halo-dog-food-dry/

http://dogfood.guru/halo/

http://www.dogfoodhowto.com/102/halo-natural-dog-food-coupons-and-reviews.html

http://petfoodtalk.com/dogfoodreviews/honest-kitchen/

http://www.thehonestkitchen.com/dog-food

http://www.chewy.com/dog/fromm-gold-holistic-adult-dry-dog/dp/29115

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C.B

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