The author of this article, Kate Barrington, has a lot of good information on the best dog food for your dog that’s dealing with an ear infection. There are also links to some of them to check out. I hope this helps in the care of your pooch. 🙂
About The Author
Kate Barrington holds a Bachelor’s degree in English and is the published author of several self-help books and nutrition guides. Also an avid dog lover and adoring owner of three cats, Kate’s love for animals has led her to a successful career as a freelance writer specializing in pet care and nutrition. Kate holds a certificate in fitness nutrition and enjoys writing about health and wellness trends — she also enjoys crafting original recipes. In addition to her work as a ghostwriter and author, Kate is also a blogger for a number of organic and natural food companies as well as a columnist for several pet magazines.
It seems like a simple question until you actually get into the meat and bones of it – which is exactly what we plan to do. Choosing the best dog food to buy for a dog is a more complex process than many dog owners realize – especially if you really want to give your dog the best of the best.
You could read all of the top dog food reviews out there and still not be able to answer this question because every dog’s needs are slightly different. A better question to ask is, “What are the healthiest dog foods” because that will point you toward the products that are made with high-quality ingredients and formulated to meet your dog’s unique nutritional needs.
This article is designed to provide you with an in-depth guide to understanding the different types of kibble and their benefits, so you can make the right choice for your dog. Because we’ll be covering a lot of topics, and because you may simply be looking for recommendations, we’d like to start you off with our top 5 picks for the best dog food dogs like.
What is the Best Dog Food in 2019?
- NomNomNow Fresh Dog Food
- Orijen Biologically Appropriate Original Recipe Dog Food
- American Journey Dog Food
- Taste of the Wild Dog Food
- Nature’s Variety Instinct Raw Boost Kibble + Raw Food
- Solid Gold Mighty Mini Toy & Small Breed Dry Food
- Wellness CORE Grain-Free Small Breed Dry Food
- Now Fresh Grain-Free Large Breed Dry Food
- Wellness Complete Health Senior Dry Food
- Merrick Grain-Free Dog Food
- Canidae PURE Limited Ingredient Dry Food
- Ollie Human Grade Dog Food
- Castor & Pollux Organix Grain-Free Dog Food
- Zignature Zssential Formula Grain-Free Wet Food
- The Honest Kitchen Dehydrated Dog Food
Pros: High-protein kibble and freeze-dried raw pieces, real animal proteins, rich in healthy fats, free from grains and fillers, no artificial additives, made in the USA, beneficial supplements
Cons: Very expensive, some recipe contain chicken ingredients (some dogs are sensitive)
Now that you’ve seen a preview of some of our dog food reviews, we’re going to start getting into the nitty gritty of it. First, we’ll review the different types of dog food and their benefits – you may be surprised to learn there’s more than just dry food and wet food! From there, we’ll explore special diets and nutritional requirements based on breed size.
Different Types of Dog Food
All it takes is a quick stroll down the dog food aisle at your local pet store to realize that there are many different options to choose from. Not only do you need to pick a brand, but you have to think about what type of food is right for your dog.
Here is a quick overview of the different types of dog food and their benefits so you can make a smart decision in choosing a food to buy for a dog:
Dry Food – Also known as kibble, dry dog food is the most common type of commercial food. Most dry foods are made by combining raw ingredients, cooking them, and grinding or blending them together into a homogenous product that is then extruded into small bite-sized pieces. Quality varies greatly depending on the process used to create dry food and, of course, the quality of the ingredients themselves, but dry food is usually the most affordable option and offers a longer shelf-life than other types of food.
In addition to being affordable and convenient to feed, dry food offers dental benefits as well. The act of chewing dry kibble helps scrape plaque and tartar from your dog’s teeth. If your dog has a specific health problem or dietary requirement, you’re also more likely to find it in dry food form than as a wet food – there is simply a greater variety of dry foods to choose from. Whether you’re looking for a specific type of protein or a product free from a specific ingredient, a dry food for it probably exists.
Wet Food – There are several different types of wet food, but it usually comes in cans or pouches. The biggest difference between wet food and dry food is, of course, the moisture content. Dry food usually has a moisture content around 10% whereas wet food may be as high as 87% moisture. Wet food may also have a higher percentage of protein than dry food as well as higher levels of fat. The higher percentage of these ingredients may improve the flavor, but it also increases the caloric concentration of the food.
When shopping for wet food, you need to be careful about the ingredients used to thicken or bind the ingredients as well as artificial additives like colors, flavors, and preservatives. You should also keep in mind that many wet food products are sold as food toppers – they are designed for supplemental feeding and not your dog’s staple diet. The shelf-life of wet food is very long until the package is opened. At that point, it generally only lasts 3 to 5 days in the refrigerator.
Prescription Food – This type of dog food is typically designed to meet specific dietary requirements based on certain health problems. These are the dog foods you’ll find at your vet’s office and may only be able to purchase with a prescription. At first glance, a food designed to treat your dog’s specific dietary needs may sound like a good idea, but the reality of prescription dog food is not so simple.
Not only is prescription food often much more expensive than regular kibble, but the quality is also much, much lower for popular brands like Hill’s Science Diet, Purina, and Royal Canin. If you take a look at the ingredients list for these products, you’ll see a high concentration of corn, wheat, and soy ingredients as well as by-products and fillers. Some reputable dog food manufacturers offer their own lines of prescription-style food (like Blue Buffalo BLUE Natural Veterinary Diet), but for the most part prescription dog food is best avoided.
Freeze-Dried Food – Though it may sound like the two terms are interchangeable, there is a difference between freeze-dried food and dehydrated food. Dehydrated food has had the moisture removed whereas freeze-dried food is frozen first and then the moisture is removed by slowly raising the temperature. The result is a dehydrated product that still retains much of its original nutritional integrity. Like dehydrated food, freeze-dried food typically requires rehydration before feeding.
When it comes to freeze-dried food, products can be either cooked or raw. Many high-quality kibbles these days are supplemented with freeze-dried raw bits or sprayed with a freeze-dried raw coating at the end of the production process. Both options are very flavorful for dogs while also being high in nutritional value. Plus, there is the benefit that they don’t require artificial preservation.
Human-Grade Food – The term human-grade simply means that the ingredients used are deemed fit for human consumption but, when it comes to dog food, the term “human-grade” refers to two things. First, a dog food must be made with human-grade ingredients in order to qualify. Second, it must be produced in a human food manufacturing facility. If the product is made with human-grade ingredients but produced in a dog food manufacturing facility, the packaging can state that the product is “made with human-grade ingredients” but cannot go so far as to label the entire product human-grade.
Dehydrated Food – Technically speaking, dehydrated dog food is a type of dry food, though the process to make it is different. Most dehydrated food is made by removing the moisture from the raw ingredients rather than cooking them. Dehydrated foods often need to be rehydrated before feeding, but they usually contain more of their original nutrient content than most foods. The dehydration process also negates the need for preservatives, which is a bonus. The biggest downside with dehydrated food, aside from the need to rehydrate it, is that it is usually very expensive.
Fresh and Frozen Foods – Many veterinarians agree that fresh food is the closest to a dog’s natural evolutionary diet. Fresh food can be either cooked or raw, and it comes in both refrigerated and frozen forms. The benefit of this type of food is that the quality of the ingredients is generally very high and, particularly for raw varieties, the original nutritional integrity of the raw ingredients isn’t compromised by processing. Plus, refrigeration or freezing negates the need for many preservatives.
Though fresh and frozen foods offer superior nutritional value, they are typically very expensive. As fresh food for pets gains popularity, there are many companies out there that deliver fresh dog food right to your door – some will even create a custom recipe for your dog. Again, these products are very expensive, but they do offer unique benefits such as improved digestion and nutrient absorption, healthier skin and coat, and relief from food allergies and sensitivities.
6 Tips to Determine a Good Dog Food by the Label
- Check for the AAFCO statement. The American Association of Feed Control Officials conducts feeding trials on dog food and has established minimum criteria for dog food products to meet in order to be considered “complete and balanced.” Don’t buy a food that doesn’t have this stamp of approval.
- Look at the guaranteed analysis. This is the chart on the label that tells you how much crude protein, fat, moisture, and fiber is in the product. If you’re looking for a product that meets a certain minimum, this is the quickest way to find it. You can also use it to compare/contrast two similar products.
- Check the first five ingredients. The ingredients list is arranged in descending order by volume, so the first five ingredients are going to be used in the highest volume. If you see any low-quality ingredients or fillers within the first 5 ingredients, it is not a good product.
- Skim the rest of the ingredients list. Once you’ve determined that the first five ingredients are good, take a look at the rest of the list. You’re looking for supplementary sources of protein, healthy fats, digestible carbohydrates, fiber, fresh fruits and vegetables, and beneficial supplements.
- Check the calorie content and feeding recommendations. Every food is different in terms of calorie content. It’s a good idea to check if you’re trying to compare two products or if you’re looking for a recipe that will help your dog gain or lose weight.
- Read the rest of the label. If you’re not familiar enough with dog food ingredients to know exactly what benefits they provide, you may find an explanation on the label. Keep in mind that claims on dog food packages are not closely regulated so you should take everything with a grain of salt, but if you’re looking for a specific benefit this is a good way to find it.
Learning to read dog food labels takes practice, but the more you do it, the better you’ll get!
If you want to feed your dog the best dog food possible, you need to understand the difference between a good food and a bad one.
Hopefully, by now, you’ve learned enough about your dog’s nutritional needs that you can look at a dog food label and know whether it is a high-quality product or not. Always look for animal protein as the first ingredient with digestible carbohydrates and healthy fats to follow.
In the end, the best food for your dog is one he will eat and one you can consistently afford. Your dog’s long-term health and wellness is well worth the cost to buy a quality dog food, so don’t skimp! If you need help finding the best dog food, try one of the recipes from the 15 best dog food reviews we have provided above.