Now that puppy Duncan is becoming an adult, and old Rex is getting older, I am revisiting this oft pondered and markedly idiosyncratic interrogative. Rapidly remembering just how overwhelming pet food analysis can become, I was elated to rediscover a couple of excellent resources to share. There isn’t a “catch all” in the best pet food department, but there are several superb choices nonetheless.
I noticed when considering dog food, sites provide vital information regarding protein/fat/carb/fiber ratios, quality of ingredients, kibble size, availability, and price. Of course, age, breed type, allergens, weight-loss requirements, and specific health conditions are also important. Finally, don’t forget to decide whether wet, dry, or raw food is the optimal choice for your furry friends.
Thank goodness our dogs appreciate all the agony, analysis, and penny-pinching we go through, so they have the finest food that engenders a long, healthy life. After all, a longer life means more time to eat wood chips, food wrappers, acorns, and barf.
Choosing the wrong puppy food, one that contains too much calcium, could cause permanent bone damage and hip disease for large breeds.
Compared to kibble, the best wet dog foods contain more protein, fewer carbs, and no cancer-causing preservatives. Plus, they’re easier to chew, which makes canned foods a smart choice for puppies, smaller dogs, and seniors.
A raw dog food diet has many notable benefits including firmer stools, improved digestion, healthier skin and coat, reduced allergy symptoms, and better weight management.
A raw dog food diet isn’t as convenient as kibble, but there’s another issue: bacterial contamination. Salmonella and E. coli germs can be a potential problem with raw meats. The risk of food-borne disease is low for dogs (their digestive system is shorter and more acidic), but not for humans preparing meals.
Pro-tip: Preparing 2-3 homemade meals each day for your pet is a wonderful way to bond with them and keep them happy and healthy. However, if you never make a homemade meal for your spouse, she may notice this. On the days you do decide to extend this language of love to your spouse, it is highly recommended you prepare an altogether separate meal, and not simply offer her a portion of the daily dog rations.
One of my favorite sites to research pet food is Dog Food Advisor because they explain things in a professional and relatable manner, and they have an easy-to-use search interface. Word Press didn’t feel like providing a hot link for the Dog Food Advisor site, but their top-rated adult dry dog foods include:
Wellness Complete Health, $6.70 per pound
Orijen, $3.60 per pound
Go! Carnivore, $3.10 per pound
Instinct Original, $3.10 per pound
Nulo Freestyle, $2.92 per pound
Nature’s Logic, $2.76 per pound
Canidae, $2.70 per pound
Nutro Ultra, $2.00 per pound
Taste of the Wild, $1.86 per pound
Eagle Pack, $1.70 per pound
Another excellent site for pet food reviews is Consumer Search. This site also has great reviews for your home, tech, and fitness needs as well.
I love analyzing dog food. Hopefully you are able to find a product that isn’t cost prohibitive or hard to find, since vets and specialty stores change their stock over time.
Aside from grocery stores, PetSmart and Pet Supermarket carry many brands of top-rated foods, and online stores like Chewy, Amazon, PetFood, and Dog Food Direct are good alternatives. In the Raleigh, NC area, Phydeaux and Unleashed are well established, and highly recommended for food, supplies, and treats.
I’ve known many dogs that have lived a long time eating inexpensive grocery store foods, so I usually go for the 4-star, dollar-a-pound brands I can find at Harris Teeter. Nutro, Rachel Ray, and Iams may not be the BEST, but Duncan and Rex like them. Besides, let’s face it, our little angel babies are already eating slugs, mulch, toads, and poop every chance they get.
Featured photo – l to r: Duncan, Bear, Ollie, and Rex enjoying their evening meal.