When it comes to finding the right diet for your dog there are so many choices it can be completely overwhelming. We always recommend talking to your local Albuquerque veterinarian first. Your vet can help you identify any specific dietary needs due to age, weight, or health issue your dog may have. They will also often have opinions about different diets and types of dog food that can help guide you.
There are four main types of dog food.
- Raw food (BARF diet)
- Home made
When you are choosing the kind of food, you want to make sure you understand their dietary needs so you can find the food best for them but also best for your lifestyle. Unlike cats, dogs are not simply carnivores. Dogs also eat fruit, grains and vegetables. These are not just food fillers they are also an important source of vitamins and minerals for your dog. Dog of different weights, age, and breeds can have different dietary requirements. If you want to know more about recommended nutrients for dogs, take a look at the Merck Veterinary Manual.
Lots of people like the idea of doing home made dog food. At Vetco we love home made dog food. It is great for your dog and we offer a lot of wonderful dog food recipes. But it is also a time commitment and if you are not sure you can commit to always having fresh made food for your dogs, you may want to go with a commercial option,.
Raw food has been a big trend. This is also known as the BARF diet or the paleo for dogs diet. It can be a good diet and a lot of people swear by it. It can also be more costly and you have to be careful about the food you are giving your dog.
Kibble can be fine but it may not be enough for your dog. Often times it is recommended to mix kibble with a canned food to make sure your dog is getting the proper balance of food as well as enough moisture in their food.
Some people like to give only canned food. This can be a great option. There is good moisture, lots of flavor, and typically some very good nutrients.
The best way to pick your food, if buying commercially, is to read the label. You want to have food that does not have a lot of chemicals. You want food that has meat as the first ingredient. You do not want food with a lot of filler. You want food with higher quality ingreadients
Here is a great list form American Veterinarian on pet food myths.
DEBUNKING PET FOOD MYTHS
Myth: Grains are bad for cats and dogs.
Fact: Animals can have allergies to grains just as they can to chicken or dairy, but grain allergies are not common. Both cats and dogs can metabolize carbohydrates, and “grain free” does not mean carbohydrate free. Dogs that have no known allergy to grains can easily metabolize these carbohydrates and use them as a source of energy.
Myth: Foods labeled “premium” or “gourmet” are better for your pet.
Fact: Products with these labels are not required to contain any different or higher-quality ingredients, nor are they held to any higher nutritional standards than any other complete and balanced product.
Myth: Cat and dog foods are interchangeable.
Fact: Feeding your pet a food not intended for its species could be harmful, because cats and dogs require different nutrients to thrive. Dogs are omnivores and can derive nutrients from grains, fruits and vegetables. Cats, on the other hand, are carnivores and require specific nutrients that are only present in animal sources.
Myth: Products with the ingredient “meat meal” should be avoided.
Fact: The word “meal” simply means that water has been extracted from the product. However, meat meal is not as nutritionally sound as chicken meal, lamb meal, and other hand, are carnivores and require specific nutrients that are only present in animal sources.
When in doubt, ask your vet. Also make sure to slowly transition your dog food to not cause stomach upset. We wrote a great blog on the best way to introduce new food to your dog.