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
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
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
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
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
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
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!