Choosing the Best Dog Food...
Don’t be Fooled by the Typical Dog Food Comparison

Finding the best dog food for your pet is natural for every new dog owner. It should be important to all dog owners.

Yet I continually see people at the grocery store buying the cheapest brand of dog food they can find. And, there are a lot of cheap brands out there.

And, they’re even cheaper than you may think...they’re actually a very poor investment in your dog’s health.

Get the best dog food you can find

In most cases, all the nutrition that your dog is going to get comes from you. And, you should remember that good nutrition is key to your dog living a long and healthy life.

That makes your choice of dog food extremely important. If you choose a poor quality food, your dog will likely suffer for it with poor health and frequent vet visits.

If you go surfing around the Internet, you’ll find many dog food comparisons...each with their own set of criteria for selecting the absolute best dog food on the market.

Most of these websites compare the ingredients, along with the percentages of protein, fat and carbohydrates.

The typical dog food comparison...

It just doesn't go far enough.

Most every dog food comparison that I've seen leaves out what I believe to be some of the most important considerations:

  • What is the quality of the ingredients? The quality is at least as important as the ingredients themselves.
  • Where do the ingredients come from (are they cheap ingredients imported from China)?
  • How fresh are the ingredients when the dog food is made?
  • Who formulated the dog food and what qualification do they have for making the best dog food?
  • Who makes the dog food and can be they trusted with the health of my dog?
  • Is there any independent certification that ensures high quality?
  • How fresh is the dog food when you buy it? The best dog food is sold to the customer soon after it is made (not years later).
  • Does the company offer unbiased support when you have questions? Can you get in touch with the formulator about the products if you have a problem or a question?

Is a dog food comparison of any use?

Well it's not a bad place to start. Just don't stop with the dog food comparison. And, when you're comparing at the ingredients in the various dog foods you should...

  • Stay away from products where a high quality meat is not the primary source of protein. It can be hard to tell by just looking at the label whether meat is the primary source of protein and whether the meat used is of high quality.
  • Avoid products that include wheat or corn in any form. Both are susceptible to a particular mold. While the mold is not toxic to pets, it produces a toxin that can be deadly to them (though it’s not toxic to humans at all). There have been sad cases reported of pets dying from food containing this toxin. Why take the chance?
  • Avoid the “5-D’s” (Dead, Diseased, Dying, Disabled, Drugged). These include ground up bones, heads, feathers, intestines, feet, beaks and duck bills. You’ll see these listed on the label as “by-products” and they are very indigestible protein sources. These by-products can even contain diseased and contaminated slaughterhouse meat and hair.
  • Avoid “Meat and Bone Meal.” This can legally include dead pets and animals from road kill and veterinarian hospitals. These poor animals may have euthanized; they may have died from disease or any number of causes.
  • Avoid chemical preservatives (BHA, BHT and Ethoxyquin). There is no good reason to include these dangerous preservative when natural preservatives are available. They’re used for only one reason...to give products a longer shelf life (up to 2 years).

Choose a good pet food company

Before deciding on any particular brand of dog food, get to know a bit about the company that makes the food.

I believe finding the best dog food company (one that you can trust) should be your primary consideration. If you don’t have a company that you can trust, you’ll never be sure that what you’re feeding your dog is really the best dog food available.

You want to find a company whose primary business is making pet food. Most pet food that you’ll find in the store these days is actually made by multinational corporations.

They are in the pet food business for only one reason...to increase their profits. They're not in it because they are concerned for the health of your dog.

Does the company you're considering have a good track record of success making dog food? Have they been in business at least 10 years?

Have they EVER had any of their products recalled? I wouldn’t trust a company whose food had been recalled, especially if that food had been responsible for the death of any pets.

The best dog food is holistic

Most pet food today is formulated using computer programs. The company sources the cheapest ingredients available (to maximize their profits) and enters these ingredients into a computer program.

The result is a formula that meets the basic AAFCO standards as required by law. The food produced in this manner will keep your dog alive for a time, but it won’t promote the best health or help him live the longest possible time.

That’s why I think its important to know how your food is formulated. Ideally, the formula for the food is not based on maximizing profits for the company, but on maximizing the health of dogs.

To do that the formulator needs to take a “holistic” approach to their work...including ingredients that are chosen to promote health and to prevent common health problems.

The best dog food is APHIS-certified

There is a certification that most pet food brands never try to meet. APHIS stands for Animal Plant Health Inspection Service. By choosing a food made in an APHIS-certified facility you're ensuring that the ingredients and manufacturing process are of the highest quality.

If your dog food is not APHIS-certified, you should want to know why. What is the company trying to hide?

So, how important is freshness? The freshness of all ingredients is one of the keys to determining the nutritional value of a pet food.

The best dog food is Fresh when you buy it

How can you ensure that the food is fresh when it finally reaches your home? The freshest dog food will always be shipped direct to you from the manufacturer.

If you’re used to buying your dog food from a store or online warehouse, understand that the food is likely very old (possibly more than a year old).

And, it has certainly not been stored in climate-controlled conditions. Many are stored for months in trailer cars that are freezing in the winter and sweltering in the summer. Not ideal conditions for preserving the freshness of any food.

Also, these same pet food manufacturers add preservatives to their products to help keep them from rotting during storage. Does this sound like these manufacturers are producing anything close to the best dog food?

The best dog food is never the cheapest

You pay now or you pay later...

Using the best dog food, along with high quality treats and supplements, is the only way to guarantee that your dog is getting the nutrition he needs for optimal health.

These will cost you a bit more up front, but you’ll likely save on veterinary bills. Plus you’ll have a healthier and happier dog.

Good nutrition is just plain a good investment.

Is the best dog food Organic?

Not necessarily. Some non-organic dog foods are far more nutritious than organic dog foods. Why? Because to make an organic dog food with the same level of nutrition would be too expensive. Many consumers would be unable to afford it.

But marketers know that some people believe that anything organic is just naturally better. To meet this demand for organic dog food, they make an affordable product using less than ideal ingredients (even though they're organic).

For instance, many of the organic brands are using a lot of grains for protein instead of meat to keep their products affordable. The grains are cheaper but not as nutritious for the dogs. This results in an inferior product, in my opinion.

If all things were equal, I would go with a dog food made with organic ingredients. Unfortunately, all things are not equal.

Recommendations

I’m often asked what I consider to be the best dog food and what products I feed my dogs. Check out our Premium Dog Food page to see the only product that I'm comfortable recommending.

Related topics...

  • Dog Food Recall. Discover the causes behind all the pet food recalls of recent years and how choosing the best dog food can protect your pets from future recalls.
  • Organic Dog Food. Is it really better than it's conventionally made counterpart?
  • Natural Dog Food. It may not be what you think it is. Marketers work hard at making you thinking their food is good.

Return from Choosing the Best Dog Food to the Homepage

New Dog Owner? Check Out These Pages First...

Selecting a Dog

Type of Dog

Choosing the right Dog

Naming your new Dog

Finding the right Food

House Training your Dog

General Dog Care Tips


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