Best dog food?
What is the best food for a dog? I just adopted a dog, and the shelter where I got him from recommended that I feed him the "Science Diet" brand. But a friend of mine recommended that I make my dog's food myself. Who is right?
Start by talking to your vet. But I will share what I've learned from over 30 years of caring for dogs, and observing first-hand the long-term effects of one diet over another.
A lot of people assume that feeding dogs more of a "human" diet is better for them, or assume that, since it would be really bad for people to eat dog food, food made for dogs must not be very good for dogs, either. Not true. Dogs have different dietary needs than humans, so you're not doing the dog any favors giving him/her a human diet.
The best way to evaluate the quality of the food is to look at the results you see in other dogs that have been given the food. If the food has a good track record of keeping dogs healthy, strong, and living long lives, that trumps all the politics and pop theories you hear floating around everywhere.
This is why your vet would be a good person to talk to. He/she has seen hundreds, perhaps thousands of dogs, and knows what diets give the best results. Most people who make their own dog food don't really know what the best balance of nutrients their dog needs; they just guess, based on what they know about human nutrition, with some minor considerations for the fact that dogs are mostly carnivorous. People are publishing their ideas of what makes good homemade dog food all over the internet, and I have seen some real doozies.
My vet refuses to endorse a particular brand, but one thing she does stress is to feed a food that contains a high amount of QUALITY (i.e, easily digestible) protein. If the main source of protein is from corn, that is not easy for a dogs digestive system to process, and makes the dogs kidneys work overtime to get the job done. It's better to feed foods with at least one of the main sources of protein coming from MEAT. Also avoid sources like beef tallow and other fillers.
There are several foods out there that meet these requirements. Science Diet is one of them.
That depends on what you mean by a 'human diet'. I base my dog's diet off of what a wolf eats, not a human. I obviously don't give my dog pizza (this is also awful for people), but would you object to me giving my dog human-grade free range meat?
I agree, Melissa - there are so many misconceptions about dog food and feeding dogs...! There is no such thing as "people food" and "dog food." I need to finish writing an article I started writing a couple years ago on this subject!
There are several brands at pet specialty stores. Nutro is a great food. Natural Balance is great for dogs with allergies. Wellness is another top notch food. They are all comparable in price to Science Diet, but better ingredients. The ones in the picture are complete junk. Full of corn, by-products (gizzards, intestines, and the like.) That's why they are super cheap. Blood and Bone meal is another very disturbing filler ingredient.
Boiled chicken, brown rice, potato, peas, green beans, spinach, carrots and a little fat makes a decent basic home food. A good store bought food will have these types of ingredients listed.
I agree, Natural Balance is a good food. I used to feed my dogs Natural Balance. However I do not recommend that pet owners make their own food. It is not as simple as one might think. That's not to say that commercial dog foods are that great - but
Ari - I don't think it's an either/or question. I have been meaning to write a hub on how to select a good dog food but haven't had time yet...it will be coming!
But to answer your question, I do not know a trainer who recommends Science Diet. A client of mine even told me her veterinarian sells it but doesn't recommend it! Fill in the blanks for yourself.
Neither do I recommend feeding your dog a concoction of your own making. I know from my studies as a nursing student in human nutrition and later from my coursework in pet nutrition at Colorado State University that it is very difficult to blend the right amount of ingredients in the right proportions to make your own pet food. Serious consequences can result if you do not do it correctly.
I feed my own dogs a high quality dog food, which means a lot of things that involve knowing how to read a dog food label. Some of the better dog foods include Blue Buffalo, California Natural and Innova but there are new ones coming out all the time and there seems to be a constant changeover in company ownership so the quality may not stay the same.
Look for my hub on how to read a dog food label...coming soon!
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