Dog Behavior Series 11 – What Is the Best Dog Food?

Do you want to know the secret for selecting the best dog food for your dog? Keep reading to discover what it is and why you should be concerned about what your dog is eating and how it can affect your dog’s health and behavior.

This segment is for dog owners who want to feed the very best to their furry friends. Dogs with kidney, thyroid, food allergy, or other abnormal conditions require special dietary needs not covered in this segment.

So what is the best dog food?

Dog food that is meat based rather than grain based. That is the secret to your dog’s optimum health. Low quality dog foods will almost always be grain based and the healthier, higher quality dog foods will be meat, poultry or fish. You’ll pay more for meat based dog foods, but the higher the price, the higher the quality; the higher the quality of the ingredients, the greater the nutritional value.

Dogs have to eat more low quality dog food in an attempt to meet their nutritional needs. Again, you may pay more for higher quality but you will buy less because your dog will eat less. So, keep that in mind when looking at the price of higher quality dog foods. Your dog will also pass noticeably less stool when fed a high quality meat based diet.

This is my number one secret for selecting the best dog food. Keep reading, because now I’m going to tell you why, so by the end of this segment you will have acquired enough knowledge on the topic to better understand and come to your own conclusions.

So, why is a high quality meat based diet so important?

For dogs, meat is the appropriate source of protein and fat is the appropriate source of energy. High quality meat contains all the proteins, vitamins, minerals, and essential nutrients needed for dogs to live a long and healthy life. Yet, carbohydrates have become the dominant nutrient found in most dog foods. Why is this? Because they are abundant, have a long shelf life, and are cheaper than protein and fat. What does this mean? Less expensive dog foods generally include less meat and more animal by-products and grain fillers. Is this good? Keep reading to find out.

Contrary to belief, carbohydrates are not essential for a healthy dog diet. Nor is fiber a required nutrient for dogs. Dogs do not need corn, wheat, barley, oats, brown rice, millet, potatoes, or sweet potatoes. Carbohydrates and fiber are poor substitutes for meat protein and fat. Dogs are carnivores; meat eaters. The best digestible protein sources for a dog are meat, eggs, poultry, and fish; and are far better choices for meat eaters.

Carbohydrates from grains, on the other hand, provide energy in the form of sugars. So keep your dog away from grains as much as humanly possible; unless your dog has medical issues that require a lower protein diet. It is always a good idea to consult with your vet about your dog’s dietary needs and to get a clean bill of health.

High protein on a dog food label means absolutely nothing. You have to read the list of ingredients to see if the source of protein is digestible. Dogs are not able to digest plant-based proteins or grains as efficiently as meat and do not derive as much nutrition from them as they need. Meat, on the other hand, is not only high in protein but it is relatively easy for dogs to digest. Therefore, dog food with higher meat protein content is usually better. If the first ingredient on the label is not a meat protein, you should seriously consider switching to a brand with higher meat content. Grains are not as digestible as meats.

Protein content should be at least 30 percent from a high quality meat source. For example; beef, venison, lamb, or chicken. Avoid any product with non-specific descriptions like animal, meat, or poultry; and avoid any rendered by-products or meal.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of dog owners cannot afford to feed their dogs a meat based diet so dog food producers created an affordable solution for the masses by offering a grain based diet. Though not as nutritionally healthy as meat, a grain based diet is not necessarily a bad thing if high quality ingredients are used.

But this is not always the case. Cheap plant based ingredients like corn, wheat, and soy result in cheap dog foods. These dog foods do not produce healthy coats and solid stools in a majority of dogs and, if anything, shortens a dogs’ life expectancy because they are unhealthy and are simply not good choices.

Dog food producers know very well how to make high quality, healthy dog food as evidenced by the expensive 5 star brands, but the problem is, it is just too expensive for most dog owners. And to be competitive with other producers, the price of the food dictates what the foundation or the primary ingredient is; and it is not meat.

In a nutshell, most dog owners are feeding their dogs as if they were plant eating herbivores rather than meat eating carnivores. But it is not your fault that producers are not disclosing the truth about the nutritional value of their dog foods, but instead doing everything in their power to convince you they are nutritionally complete and the best food for your dog.

Another Important Factor – Essential Nutrients

Dogs require a balance of certain fatty acids that must be provided by their diet. Fats are needed for the absorption of vitamins A, D, E, and K. Fats provide energy as well as taste and flavor to foods. Fat provided by the diet also helps dogs maintain healthy skin and a shiny, healthy coat. Common fats used in dog foods include names like beef fat, pork fat, chicken fat, fish oil, salmon oil, and more. Anything listed as animal fat is very vague and not considered a quality ingredient. Fat content should be at least 18 percent.

So, what if you cannot afford a high quality meat based diet for your dog?

Then, of the dog foods available in your budget, choose the best one. And to supplement your dog’s diet, offer your dog bone free table scraps that contain healthy, digestible protein and fat content. Better your dog benefit from the nutrients and variety rather than disposing of them. Please be aware that several common seasonings, including onions, garlic, chives, grapes, raisins, macadamia nuts, and avocado can create problems for your dog and should be removed from the table scraps.

What to look for to find the best dog food for your budget.

 

  • Avoid products where the first ingredient is not a meat of any kind
  • Avoid products containing corn, soy, wheat, grain, or flour
  • Avoid products containing beet pulp or sugar
  • Avoid products that contain by-products or sauces
  • Avoid products that fail to identify the specific meat source. Specific meat sources include names like beef, venison, lamb, and chicken.
  • Avoid products that fail to identify the specific fat source. Specific fat sources include names like beef fat, pork fat, chicken fat, fish oil, and salmon oil.
  • Avoid ingredients from rendering facilities. You will recognize these ingredients on the label under generic terms like meat and meat meal. Other examples of inferior meat based protein ingredients are animal meal, chicken by-product meal, meat and bone meal, glandular meal, poultry meal, blood meal. Notice the generic nature of the phrases?
  • Avoid the cheap, grain based dog foods with fancy packaging that try to make you think you are making the appropriate healthy selection for your dog. Do not buy into the hype. Look at the label and do your best to interpret what is actually inside.

 

Ensure a proper ratio of at least 30 percent protein and at least 18 percent fat.

Again, do the best you can. Whatever food you choose to offer your dog, putting some thought into your decision now can produce big rewards over time and help you to avoid serious and costly illnesses caused by poor nutritional feeding practices.

Now let’s recap.

Good health begins with proper nutrition. Proper dog nutrition consists of at least 30 percent meat based protein and at least 18 percent meat based fat. The first ingredient on a label should always identify the meat source like beef, venison, lamb, or chicken.

The best digestible food source for a dog is meat. High quality meat contains all the proteins, vitamins, minerals, and essential nutrients needed for dogs to live a long and healthy life. Preservatives should be from a natural source such as Vitamin C and/or Vitamin E.

Choose dog foods with only the finest, high quality, human grade ingredients with absolutely no chemical additives like dyes, preservatives, fillers, or synthetic ingredients. Dog owners who cannot afford higher quality meat based dry dog food, should consider adding canned with dry to improve the dog’s overall diet. Again, the ingredient list of both is important. Also consider supplementing with bone free table scraps that contain healthy levels of protein and fat.

The best dog foods are those that are rich in meat based protein and lower in carbohydrates because dogs do not need carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are added to dry food to keep costs down. Raw diets, frozen meat diets, and homemade diets exist for a nutritional reason and will be even more popular in the future because dog owners will see the excellent results these fresh, natural diets provide.

If your dog is perfectly happy and healthy, then you may not need to make any dietary changes. But if you do, it is always a good idea to consult with your vet. Protein is very important for your dog, but there are instances, such as with puppies, with old age, or liver issues, where your dog should be on a lower protein diet. Consult with your vet about your puppy or dog’s nutritional needs.

Conclusion

Do the best you can given your budget.

 

  • The best dog food is any product that is of high quality and meat based
  • A good dog food is any product that is of moderate quality and meat based
  • A decent dog food is any product that is grain based with high quality ingredients
  • A poor dog food is any product that is grain based with low quality ingredients

 

Do your research, and at the very least, learn how to read dog food labels. I know this is a lot of information, so feel free to read this segment again. Wish I could provide you with more detailed information, but it just isn’t possible in this short segment.

Hope you enjoyed this segment on Dog Behavior, specifically on the topic of what is the best dog food, and hope you walked away with something of value. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to my channel on YouTube. Thank you so much for reading. I look forward to seeing you inside my next article. Please like, share, comment, and subscribe. Until next time. Bye Bye.