Your canine is your best friend, so you want to be sure you are feeding him healthy dog food.
Caring for your beloved pet is a priority in your life.
This means encouraging your dog to eat the most nutritious and healthy dog food possible.
But there are so many options out there.
Hundreds of pet food companies claim to have the right food for your furry friend.
To add to your confusion, there are several different agencies and organizations that review pet foods and make their own suggestions.
The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), The Pet Food Institute, and the FDA are just a few.
So how are you supposed to know what is best for your canine?
We delve into this topic so you can make a much more informed decision.
Healthy Diet For Dogs
Dogs have specific dietary needs, just like humans, and the perfect food is one that meets these needs while providing overall nutrition to keep your dog feeling full and energetic.
The AAFCO outlines these nutritional guidelines for dogs with the help of their nutrient profile.
The profile is meant for use as a guide to help you evaluate dog foods based on the specific needs of your pet.
Based on the profile, an ideal food would have between 18% and 22% crude protein and between 5.5% and 8.5% crude fat.
Essential minerals should be included as well, with relatively high levels of calcium, vitamin A, phosphorus, and vitamin D.
There are more than two dozen other vitamins, minerals, and micronutrients needed by your dog.
Each one has their own recommended quantity, so make sure to look closely at these when evaluating dog foods.
For example, the food you pick should have small amounts of zinc, copper, iron, and selenium.
Carbohydrates are included in dog food, and they should be easily digested grains.
Oats, barley, and brown rice are a few good options.
Your canine’s dietary needs do include water as well.
However, the fluid does not necessarily need to come from food as long as your dog has constant access to water.
In general, your dog should consume between about 8 and 9 ounces of water per 10 pounds of weight, each day.
The number of calories offered in the food is important to consider.
Caloric needs vary significantly depending on the size, age, activity level, and sex of the dog.
For example, a toy dog may only need a little over 600 calories a day while a giant one may require over 3,000 calories.
Speak with your veterinarian about the caloric needs of your dog to make sure you understand them.
Healthy Diet For Dogs And Disease
So what happens if you purchase a dog food that does not have the right mix of nutrients and calories?
Well, like other animals, a variety of ailments may be seen if your canine is not eating like he should.
One of the most common nutritional issues involves obesity.
And this is problematic if you choose a food high in calories, fat, and carbohydrates.
After all, dietary recommendations indicate that protein should be the ingredient with the highest percentage.
According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP), and their most recent study conducted in 2017, about 56% of dogs are obese or overweight.
Unfortunately, obesity can lead to ailments like diabetes, and the disease is becoming more and more prevalent due to the ever increasing rates of obesity.
Arthritis, high blood pressure, and heart disease are other ailments that affect obese canines.
High fat diets are an issue when it comes to the development of pancreatitis, and the ailment is often linked to obesity as well as fatty foods.
The inflammatory disease is chronic and treatment involves a strict diet in conjunction with prescription medication.
Other Dietary Issues
Some foods can cause bladder and urinary stones, and this is something you might see if there is an imbalance in the vitamins and nutrients that your dog is consuming.
For example, the stones may form due to high levels of magnesium in the diet.
Diarrhea, indigestion, and gas are not serious ailments associated with dog foods, but they are common if you pick a food low in fiber.
In extreme cases, low weight, poor nutrient absorption, and dehydration can develop.
There are a number of other ailments that your dog may develop due to vitamin deficiencies.
For example, a diet that is low in phosphorus, calcium, and vitamin D can lead to soft bones, rickets, and poor function of the parathyroid glands.
To find out more about how a poor diet can affect your dog, speak with your veterinarian.
Healthy Dog Food Brands
Now that you know a little bit about diet and how a poor one can negatively affect your canine, which foods are the best?
Well, we have a few suggestions when it comes to a healthy diet for dogs.
Healthiest Dry Dog Food
Dry dog foods are a staple of the dog food world, and the vast majority of pet food companies make a dry dog food.
Dry foods are sometimes given freely to dogs, and this can lead to obesity.
However, if the food is offered in separate and measured servings, you can easily reduce this issue.
Two feedings a day are recommended with one serving given in the morning and the other in the evening.
Ask your veterinarian about the suggested daily caloric intake for your pup, divide this number by two, and use the information on the food packaging to figure out how much of the kibble to give at each meal.
When if comes to healthy dry dog food, try the Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Natural Adult Dry Dog Food.
Blue Buffalo is an extremely popular pet food manufacturer that uses whole meat, healthy grains, and fruits and vegetables in their products.
All natural ingredients are utilized, and the food is enhanced with minerals and vitamins.
The adult dog food comes in 4, , 15, and 30 pound options.
You can also choose kibble made for toy, small, and large dog breeds.
There are several flavors to pick from, like chicken and rice, fish and oatmeal, lamb and brown rice, and healthy weight chicken.
The food lists meat as the first ingredient, and it meets AAFCO nutritional standards.
If your canine is on a low carbohydrate diet or if they are allergic to certain grains, then try the BLUE Freedom Grain Free Dry Dog Food.
Like the adult formula, the food comes in small and large kibble bites.
You can choose from a variety of bag sizes as well.
You can pick from chicken, beef, and lamb.
Since the food is low in carbohydrates, fat is added to the formula to boost the calorie count.
Ask your vet if an increase in fat is OK for your canine.
If you want some healthy dog biscuits to add to the kibble, then try the BLUE Wilderness Grain Free Biscuits Crunchy Dog Treats.
The treats come in some unique flavors like alligator, venison, and duck, so give them a try for a unique snack, or opt for a variety pack.
Natural Health Dog Food
If you are looking for a healthy dog food that is all natural, then try the Taste of the Wild Grain Free High Protein Natural Dry Dog Food in venison, bison, salmon, lamb, duck, or boar flavor.
Both adult and puppy formulas are available and bags range from 5 to 30 pound bags.
The food contains only natural ingredients with no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives.
Probiotics and prebiotics are included in the food as well to encourage the health of the gastrointestinal tract.
The protein content for this food is higher than other options and several different types of protein are utilized to create the unique blend of food.
So if your dog is a young and growing pup, then this food is a good choice.
Cheap Healthy Dog Food
Many of the high protein, natural, and healthy dog foods on the market are a bit pricey.
If you are on a budget, then you may want an inexpensive choice.
Rachael Ray Nutrish Natural Dry Dog Food is one option.
The food is made with whole ingredients like chicken, brown rice, carrots, peas, and sweet potatoes.
Chicken meal and other meat byproducts are not added to the food.
To encourage good health, vitamins are included in the mix.
Wheat and gluten are not part of the food, but the ingredient list does include soy.
So keep this in mind if your canine has food sensitivities, because soy may be one of them.
Nature’s Recipe Grain Free Dry Dog Food is another inexpensive adult dog food option featuring whole protein sources like chicken.
Sweet potatoes and pumpkin are a part of the formula as well to add to the overall taste of the food and to make this one of the best healthy dog foods.
Healthy Meals For Dogs
Dry dog foods do have some benefits.
They are inexpensive when compared to wet foods and they encourage dental health through chewing.
However, wet foods are sometimes easier for dogs to digest, and they can be consumed without hassle by older canines with dental health issues.
They also add necessary fluids to you canine’s lunch, and they are easy to dish out since a single serving is usually one container or can of the food.
Finicky dogs often enjoy wet foods over dry varieties as well, and this can help to encourage weight gain if your pup has been ill or if he is growing.
One healthy option is the Hill’s Science Diet Wet Dog Food.
Turkey, beef, and chicken are the options available.
Like many of the other choices, meat is the first ingredient listed on the package.
Vegetables and healthy grains are included in the food.
Gravy covers the chunks of meat and other whole ingredients in the can.
Keep your dog’s size and age in mind when buying the food, because the serving size will be larger or smaller depending on these factors.
If you have a puppy you need to feed, then look at the Hill’s Science Diet Puppy Food.
Healthy Choice Dog Food
If you are interested in a raw dog food diet, then there are some foods you can purchase, like Stewart Raw Naturals by Freeze Dried Dog Food in Resealable Pouch.
The food is one that reduces the number of processed ingredients that your dog consumes.
And it also keeps your canine away from preservatives and other potentially harmful ingredients.
Thankfully, since the food is a freeze dried variety, many of the vitamins and nutrients found in the meats, fruits, and vegetables are retained without the need for chemicals.
You should understand that the freeze dried food comes in a relatively small package.
So think about using the 12 or 24 ounces of food as a topper for your regular dry or wet food.
Stella & Chewy’s Freeze-Dried Dog Food is another freeze dried option that comes in a smaller 5.5 ounce package if you want to use the food as healthy dog treats.
There are a wide variety of healthy dog food recipes you can follow on your own to make a healthy homemade dog food if you want your canine to eat a raw food diet or one where specific ingredients are controlled.
Healthy Dog Food – A Conclusion
Your canine’s diet is extremely important, especially if you want to keep your dog in good health for his entire life.
You must make sure that your dog is getting the protein, fat, and other nutrients he needs.
But you also need to keep his weight down at the same time.
If you want to know more about the health needs of your specific dog, especially when it comes to calculating caloric intake needs and options for healthy food for dogs, speak with your veterinarian.
Do you have some healthy dog treat recipes that you want to share?
Or are you sure of what is the healthiest dog food?
Leave us a message in the comments below.
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MHoenig. Comparative aspects of diabetes mellitus in dogs and cats. Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology volume 197, Issues 1–2, 29 November 2002, Pages 221-229
Anton C Beynen. Fat content in dog food. Creature Companion 2017; March: 40-41.