For many dog owners, the choice comes down to commercial brand name kibble, or commercial brand name canned food.
1. Kibble or canned food
Kibble is generally less expensive than canned, doesn’t need to be refrigerated, and comes in special formulations for different dogs’ needs, such as weight loss, senior nutrition, etc.
Some canned food does not go through the high temperature rendering/extrusion process. As such, it can retain more vitamins and enzymes than kibble.
Canned food contains more moisture so it contributes to keeping your dog hydrated.
In general, canned food has a longer shelf life as well.
Good quality brands of canned food offer several different menu choices, such as beef, poultry, all the way to more exotic flavors such as duck and buffalo.
Dogs may find having variety in their diet more interesting than just chomping down the same dry kibble day after day. One possibility is to mix some canned food in with the kibble.
2. Price considerations
Most of us are price conscious grocery shoppers, and price considerations carry over into our choice of pet foods. It turns out, however, that buying the lowest cost food may not be wise for your dog’s health, or even in the long run, for your pocketbook.
Nutritionists say that food must contain nutrients that are usable. In other words, they can be readily absorbed into your dog’s system. Higher priced foods tend to have more usable nutrients – proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals. Cheaper brands may have too many calories.
Your dog may eat less of the higher quality product because he’s getting the natural elements his system needs. So the actual difference in cost may be minimal. And you can have the peace of mind of feeding your friend the good stuff.
3. Where to go for information about dog food
Your best bet to finding the correct food for your dog is to gather information from a number of sources.
Breeders have to be very knowledgeable about diet because the health of the puppies they sell depends on the diet they have early on in life. And of course the health of the puppies’ parents (the sire and dam) is dependent on diet as well.
The breeder may be able to recommend a food that works well for that particular breed.
Pet stores, both chain and independent, may have staff members with some knowledge of nutrition. In any case, they will have brochures from the manufacturers that explain the merits of a particular brand.
Veterinarians can also be helpful. But they may not have time to research all the available food manufacturers and be able to give you informed choices.
Their primary job is to keep up with advances in veterinary medicine. But they may be able to provide you with a few choices that have worked well for their own dogs.
Some vets also sell pet food through their offices, so of course they’ll recommend the brand they sell.
Other dog owners
Your friends who have dogs can be a good resource, too. If you see their dogs are happy, healthy, full of energy, with shiny coats, it is an indication they are receiving the proper diet.