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Today is: Wednesday January 17, 2018

Choosing the Right Food For Your Dog

Choosing the right food for your dog can feel like an overwhelming task. There are many different foods to choose from. However, choosing a good, quality food can be one of the most important things that you can do for your dog. Food is a very controversial topic between veterinarians, breeders, owners, and manufacturers. It is important to keep in mind that there is not one food that is best for all dogs. You must choose a food based upon your dog's individual needs.

Most foods are either dry, canned, or semi-moist. Dry food is usually the most economical and has the most preservatives. Canned food is usually the most expensive and the least preservatives. Semi-moist foods usually contains a high amount of sugar.

Foods labeled as "complete and balanced" must meet standards established by the AAFCO, Association of American Feed Control Officials. There are two separate nutrient profiles for dogs; one for puppies, called "growth" and one for adults called "maintenance".

When choosing a dog food there are several things that you should consider.

  • You should consider what stage of life your dog is in. A puppy should get puppy food. Feeding your puppy an adult food would not five him the adequate nutrition that he needs. Feeding an adult dog puppy food would likely make him overweight. You should also consider if your dog has any special needs. For example, is he an older dog, overweight, or underweight.

  • You should consider which type of food you want to feed your dog. Dry food is usually the most economical and it helps to remove some plaque off of his teeth. Canned food is usually more palatable.

  • Look at the ingredients. You should look for high quality ingredients, for example beef, chicken, or egg,  to be listed within the first few ingredients. Some less expensive foods, as well as pricer ones, use filler ingredients like corn as the top ingredients. The filler ingredients are not as easily digested and do not provide the best nutrition. Feeding foods with lower quality ingredients will cost more in the long run because you will need to feed more to get the same nutrition that you would get by feeding a lesser amount of higher quality food. Plus, feeding a higher quality food will mean less waste to clean up.

When switching foods it is best to do it gradually over a period of a seven to 10 days. Start off by mixing 25% of the new food with 75% of the old food. Feed this for about three days. If it goes well, mix 50% of the new food with 50% of the old food. Feed this for about three days. If that goes well, mix 75% of the new food with 25% of the old food. Feed this for about three days. Your dog should now be ready to eat 100% of the new food.

There are some foods that you should always avoid feeding your dog. They include:

  • Baby food - it can contain onion powder, which can be toxic to dogs

  • Bones from fish, poultry, or other beef sources - they can splinter and cause a laceration or obstructions.

  • Cat food - it is usually too high in fat and protein for dogs.

  • Chocolate, coffee, tea, or other caffeine sources - contains caffeine or theobromine, which can be toxic to dogs, affect the heart or nervous system.

  • Fat trimmings - can cause a potentially fatal disease called pancreatitis.

  • Grapes and raisins - can damage the kidneys.

  • Large amounts of liver - can cause vitamin A toxicity, which affects muscles and bones.

  • Macadamia nuts - contains a toxin that affects the digestive and nervous systems and muscles.

  • Dairy products - some dogs are lactose intolerant, which can cause digestive upset.

  • Garbage or moldy, spoiled foods - can contain toxins that can cause vomiting and diarrhea or affect other organs.

  • Mushrooms - can contain toxins that can affect several systems, shock, or death.

  • Onions or garlic - can damage red blood cells and cause anemia. Garlic is less toxic than onions.

  • Pits from peaches or plums - can cause an obstruction in the digestive system.

  • Raw eggs - can decrease the absorption of vitamin B, create skin or coat problems, or may contain Salmonella.

  • Salt - can lead to electrolyte imbalance.

  • Sugar - can lead to obesity, diabetes, or dental problems.

  • Tobacco - contains nicotine which can affect the digestive and nervous system; also can cause rapid heart beat, collapse, coma, or death.

  • Yeast - can expand and produce gas in the digestive system, causing pain and possibly rupture the stomach or intestines.

Keep in mind that this is not a complete list of things not to feed your dog. If you have any questions on a particular food, please consult your vet.

This site and its contents are intended to serve as basic informational purposes 
 --not a substitute for-- 
professional veterinary care!


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