You want your dog to have the best life possible and that starts with their diet. Our Des Moines Veterinary Hospital vets will go over what you need to know when selecting the best food for your dog.
What Does Your Dog Need in Their Diet
While each dog has their health requirements in general a dog is not a pure carnivore. Dogs can benefit from some non-meat ingredients for the extra minerals and vitamins, but the bulk of their diet should be meat.
There are vegan options available but if this is something you are interested in consult your veterinarian about it. This dietary plan may not be suitable for your breed of dog.
Some diets involve not using commercially produced dog food but feeding them raw meat and vegetables that are human food grade. This takes more work and you should consult your veterinarian if this is an option you wish to explore.
The more common diets involve commercially produced wet or dry dog food. If you are trying to pick a dog food the best thing you can do is to look at the label. Check the label for information on what is in the product. Meat should be the main ingredient.
Another way to tell if it's one of the better options is to look for an endorsement by the AAFCO. It will appear on the packaging similar to the following “(Name of product) is formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles”. The AAFCO will not tell you it is the best food but it will at least guarantee that they meet the minimum requirements for most dogs.
How Old is Your Dog?
The age of your dog affects the nutritional requirements of the dog.
A puppy should be given food that is a puppy formula. Some puppies will be fine with a food label ‘for all a stage of life but it is best to consult your veterinarian about your specific puppy.
Senior dogs are normally dogs that are 7+ years old. Often less active, their weight needs to be monitored more so does their diet.
How Big is Your Dog?
If your dog is a big breed variety it will need a diet that is rich in nutrients that will help support its large skeleton and muscles.
If your dog is a smaller breed then the choice of food is more often to do with avoiding choking hazards. Small hungry dogs can choke on kibbles made for larger dogs.
It is best to pick a food made for the size of your dog.
Dry Dog Food vs. Wet Dog Food
Dog owners want to know which is best for their dog, dry or wet. Sadly it is not that simple. Each food can be good or bad depending on the specific food.
The best way to pick is normally asking yourself ‘which one will my dog eat’. Some dogs are picky while others will eat whatever is in front of them. The second question is a lifestyle. Wet food requires refrigeration after opening it. Do you have the facilities to refrigerate the food and will it spoil before your dog eats it?