Dog Food Guide: The Basics

A dog’s gotta eat. But what should you feed them?

There are so many options and possibilities, and after writing about raw diets (in case you missed it check it out here) which require a lot of time and effort, we also wanted to look at other options.

Whole Dog journal has a great starting point.They recommend why starting by assessing your dog’s health. Start a list with write out health problems (such as bad breath, dental issues, itchy paws, gas, thinning coats, etc.) and health assets (clean ears, good breath, high energy etc.).

If the health assets are greater than the problems you may already be feeding your dog a great diet. If however there are more a lot of problems then it may be time to change your pooches diet.

Once you understand the dietary and health benefits you are looking for it’s time to dig into the different options out there. (Should you want to address specific problems l this is also a great time to have a conversation with your vet.)

Here are a few helpful guidelines to consider when looking at dog food options:

  • First ingredient: Look for quality sources of protein
    • Avoid any generic descriptions such as “meat”, “poultry” or “animal” and look for “turkey” “lamb” “beef” etc.
    • General rules to remember: if it says Beef dog food, it’s a minimum of 95% beef. If it says dinner then it’s 25% (Beef dinner for dogs). If it says with (Doof food with Beef) it’s 3%. And it if says flavor it’s it has minimum to no amount of beef. (more info on this can be found on Pawcurious)
  • The second ingredient after protein should be a meat source with the word meal (i.e. Turkey meal, beef meal etc.)
  • Next two ingredients should be vegetables, ideally whole grain or while fruits.

Try and avoid:

  • Anything containing corn, cornmeal or soy.
  • Ideally avoid wheat and look for barley, rolled oats millet quinoa or brown rice
  • Anything with by products (especially when the source is not specified)
  • Anything with artificial colors, flavors, preservatives and sweeteners. Namely avoid: BHT, BHA ethoxyquin and propyl gallate. (In stead look for foods preserved with Vitamin E or C)
  • Avoid labels with “splitting”- in these cases the main ingredient such as rice may be spilt into white rice, brown rice, rice bran etc. so it can be written lower on the ingredients list (more info on that here)

What food do you buy, and how did you choose it? Tell us in the comments below!

And don’t forget you can always make you own food and treats

Additional sources:

Check out Dog Food Analysis to compare different kinds of food

Dogster guide on how to choose healthy dog food

Good overview on The Bark

Check out other yummy blogs

Part of Tastey Tuesday Blog Hop

3 thoughts on “Dog Food Guide: The Basics

  1. Thank you for the check list! I often wonder if I’m feeding my dogs correctly. At that, I change up their food regularly. But it’s always kibble. My dogs don’t really have any of those issues, though, so I guess I’ll stick with what we’re doing!

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  2. Those are important guidelines to incorporate when feeding our best friends! We feed a high quality, grain-free kibble without any artificial ingredients and/or preservatives, no empty fillers, no soy, and no by-products. We also add pumpkin puree and sprinkle turmeric on our pups’ meals, along with the occasional fruit & veggie toppers.

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