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How to choose the best dry dog food?

How to choose the best dry dog food?

Are you on a constant hunt for the best dry dog food? Well, we don't blame you - proper nutrition is key to a happy and healthy dog - whether they're still a puppy or over ten years old. With a vast availability of dry dog food options today, making an informed choice about what suits your dog the best can be overwhelming. That said, there is no one dry dog food brand that suits every breed - you ultimately decide what goes into your dog's bowl!

A lot goes into choosing the best dry dog food - nutrition, affordability, shelf life, allergens etc and as you navigate through several choices about what's best for your dog, here are a few tips to help you make an informed & educated choice. 

What should I consider before buying the best dry dog food?

Age

More often than not, we're quick to ignore the fact that dogs, like humans, require different amounts of nutrition at different stages in their lives. Puppies, for example, require 22.5% of protein, whereas adult dogs require only 18%. A puppy that is fed an adult dry dog food can then suffer from protein deficiency over time. Likewise, an adult dog that is still on a puppy diet after he/she has turned a year old consumes too much protein. Protein isn't the only nutrient that puppies need in larger quantities - fat, fibre, vitamins, and minerals are almost double as much as that in adult dry dog food. Almost all of the puppy's energy derived from its food goes into building muscles, supporting the skeletal system, maintaining body temperature, repairing damaged tissues, developing a strong immune system, building a robust digestive system etc. Since they have a higher surface-to-volume ratio than adult dogs, their bodies work twice as hard to maintain normal body temperature, which in turn means they need more calorie-dense food, i.e. dry dog food meant for puppies. When buying dry dog food, it is hence crucial to choose age-appropriate diets to ensure your dog is getting optimum nutrition. 

Breed

Like with age, breed is an equally important consideration when it comes to choosing the best dry dog food. Tailor-made breed-specific nutrition targets specific nutritional requirements, such as more calcium, less fat, more fibre etc, alongside, adapting the kibble size to each breed's anatomy, i.e. brachycephalic jaws, stomachs prone to bloating and so on.

Activity level

Your breed's activity level is an important consideration when it comes to choosing the best dry dog food for him/her. Dogs that have different activity levels along with requiring different amounts of kibble also need kibble specific to their energy demands from exercising.

Potential allergens 

Dogs that suffer from food allergies require hypoallergenic diets, which alongside reducing the occurrence of allergies also reduce the risk of obesity, arthritis, periodontal diseases, kidney disease, and digestive ailments. Hypoallergenic diets are the best dry dog food for dogs that cannot consume certain types of meat, vegetables, fruits, or nuts. 

What should I look for when buying the best dry dog food?

Nutrition

It is essential to look for dog food that has all ingredients in adequate quantity as per your dog's age, breed, and activity level. In order to determine the exact amount of nutrients your dog needs, it is best to speak to your veterinarian and then decide on the best dry dog food for them. 

Guaranteed Analysis

When searching for the best dry dog food, look for labels that clearly state the maximum and minimum percentages of nutrients, moisture, and crude fibre. This ensures that you and your veterinarian are aware of how what is going into your dog's body, leaving little room for doubt when there might be an instance of your dog requiring a change in diet. 

Nutritional adequacy

Nutritional adequacy speaks of an optimal guaranteed analysis, along with recommended breed-specific or age-specific ingredients that result in optimum performance and well-being of your dog.

Age

Age-specific diets are extremely important as they cater to specific nutritional requirements, unlike non-age-specific diets. If you are looking for the best dry dog food for your pooch, remember to always consider his/her age! For example, whilst puppies require more calories, and more protein, senior dogs require fewer carbohydrates, lower calories, more fibre, and lower sodium.

Potential allergens

Before choosing the best dry dog food for your dog, check for potential allergens that may cause an upset stomach, vomiting, diarrhoea, loss of appetite and so on. You might also find it helpful to check with your veterinarian before purchasing dog food that may or may have common allergy-causing ingredients.

Wholesome ingredients

Wholesome ingredients translate to those without by-products, artificial fillers, preservatives and so on. Wholesome ingredients ensure maximum nutritional benefit for your dog without harming their digestive systems and ensuring smooth digestion. 

Should I consider different flavours of the same brand?

It is always best to ask your dog this question, not literally of course! Whilst some dogs enjoy sticking to the same flavour, others prefer variety in flavour. Hence, before choosing your dog's food brand, you can introduce them to a range of flavours and allow them to pick what they like best. If they seem to enjoy more than one flavour, then you can consider feeding them a different flavour of the same brand of dog food each day of the week. 

There's a lot to consider when choosing the best dry dog food for your pooch, however, with careful planning and a detailed understanding of what is required in terms of nutrition, you can rest assured you're feeding your dog only the best!

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