How to Choose the Right Dog food?
So you’ve done your homework and now your family has a new furry friend. You went to the pet store and bought some toys, a bed and a crate but what about food? There are so many different kinds of dog food available, where do you start? The best tasting food may not be the most nutritious.
If you adopted a rescue dog and the dog was in foster care, check with the foster care provider to find out what food they were using. If you got your new family member from a breeder, they should be able to give you a supply of the food they use for their puppies. When you bring a dog into a new environment , it’s important to continue using the food they are familiar with, at least initially.
Once your dog has become more comfortable in his new surroundings, you may want to consider switching him to a better quality food. Start by checking the ingredient list for his current food to determine its suitability for your dog. Avoid food with common allergens like wheat, corn, soy and artificial colours. Good quality kibble should contain high quality protein (i.e. chicken, beef or fish), whole grains, vitamins, minerals, fruits, vegetables and antioxidants. Be careful of dog foods that contain ‘by-product meal’ since some manufacturers use chicken feathers, beaks and feet as filler.
If you decide to change your dog’s kibble, you will need to mix the old food and new food together for several days to transition your dog from one food to another. If you don’t, your dog may have a problem with diarrhea or other gastric issues. You would usually feed your dog two thirds their current food and one third their new food for the first three days. Then for the next three days, feed half current food and half new food. For the last three days, feed your dog two thirds new food and one third current food. Then, on the tenth day, feed your dog all new food.
Another choice would be raw food. Raw food is considered a more natural diet since wild dogs would eat a diet mainly consisting of raw meat and bones or other animal parts and are sometimes supplemented with grains, fruits and vegetables. Raw food might also be an option if your dog has food allergies or other health issues.
When switching your dog to raw food from kibble, you should stop feeding kibble one day and then start feeding raw the next. You could even fast the dog for a day before starting raw to give the dog's system time to clear out any remaining kibble. If you want you can mix a little kibble with the raw food, but it is not recommended.
When choosing kibble vs. raw, another consideration should be convenience. If you are going away and leaving your dog with a friend or in a boarding kennel, raw food may be difficult for someone else to manage since it needs to be refrigerated or frozen.
When it comes to food for your dog, do your homework and choose your food as carefully as you chose your dog. Prices can vary considerably so discuss your pet food needs with the knowledgeable staff at your local pet food stores like Global or Petvalu. Good quality dog food, whether kibble or raw, is an investment and can extend your dog’s length and quality of life.