Healthy Dog Food
I don’t know about you but to me, dogs really are man’s best friend. Like seriously, I’m closer to my dog than I am to most of my blood relatives. My dog is truly an integral part of my family, so why would I treat him any worse than I’d treat my actual family?
Taking care of a dog is a lot of work. Between multiple walks a day, taking them out to use the bathroom, training them and showering then, the last thing you need on your plate is health issues and huge vet bills because you’re feeding your dog low quality kibble.
Picking a healthy dog food can be a daunting task, with there being so many brands selling so many different varieties of food. There’s wet food, dry food, raw food, organic dog food, homemade dog food, grain-free, GMO-free, gluten-free, it makes my head hurt just thinking about it.
But getting your dog the right food is still essential, pet nutrition expert Dr. Gary Richter states, “the single biggest thing you can do to keep your dog happy and healthy is to provide them with optimal nutrition.”
Dogs need a certain amount of proteins, fats, minerals, carbohydrates, vitamins, and water every day for them to reach their nutritional needs.
By providing your dog with the right foods and the right nutrition, you’re in turn: making their muscles strong, keeping their fur coat silky and shiny, helping their digestive system function smoothly, preventing constipation, and building up their immunity to various diseases.
But how do you choose the right foods? How do you make your way through the hundreds of dog food brands to find the high quality ones? Keep on reading to find out.
Rachael Ray isn’t just a celebrity chef, daytime talk show host, and best selling author she also sells some of the healthiest dog food you can find. There are no artificial ingredients present in the dog food, only all natural, gluten, and grain-free ingredients
Every single Rachael Ray Nutrish product makes sure animal protein is the first and most prevalent ingredient, unlike many of the competition who use meat substitutes as their main ingredient.
Also, every purchase of a Nutrish product gives a portion of the sale to the Rachael Ray Foundation, which helps fund numerous pet charities worldwide. This way, your dog is healthy and you’re helping other dogs stay healthy too!
A disadvantage that Nutrish products do have is that they lack probiotics. These are bacteria that help regulate your dog’s digestive system. They usually don’t have many fruits or vegetables in their recipes either, which can be a let down to some owners.
- All-natural ingredients
- A portion of the sale goes to charity
- Not a lot of fruits and vegetables
- Probiotics not in the recipe
Blue Buffalo has been in the dog food game for a long time, and they’re one of the best in it too. They serve up a diverse portfolio of dog food for puppies, adult dogs, large breeds, small breeds, any kind of dog you can think of.
The story of their brand begins over a decade ago when the founders of Blue Buffalo found out that their dog had cancer. He was a large Airedale named Blue, and he’s what prompted the family to look into making premium pet food using all healthy, all-natural ingredients.
Their formulas are high in rich protein and even contain their special antioxidant-rich Lifesource bits to help with your dog’s disease prevention and overall health. The brown rich they use in their formula is also antioxidant-rich.
The Blue Life Protection Formula for dogs and cats is the number one selling natural pet food in America, enough said. This is one high-quality brand, and personally, I feed this to my own dog so I can say with confidence that you won’t go wrong with this one.
- Special antioxidant rich Lifesource bits
- All natural ingredients
- No byproduct meals, soy, corn, or wheat
- A bit on the expensive side
- Contains grains, although they’re healthy grains
The Taste of the Wild High Prairie recipe has become somewhat of a fan favorite in recent years. Understandably so, with their excellent real roasted meat selection including Bison, Buffalo, Venison, Wild Fowl, Lamb, Boar and more.
This is a premium dog food brand with recipes full of protein and healthy fat and free of grains, fillers, and artificial additives. It’s also packed with antioxidants from real fruits and vegetables, chelated minerals, and dried fermentation products used to promote healthy digestion by acting as a probiotic.
This dog food is perfect for sensitive dogs that may have an allergy to traditional proteins like beef and chicken. The variety of proteins that taste of the wild provides is unmatched by any other current healthy premium dog food brand.
- Real roasted meats
- No artificial additives
- Supports skin and coat health
- Easy on a sensitive dogs stomach
- A bit expensive
- Contains some plant protein concentrates
High Quality Dog Food Vs. Low Quality Dog Food
The thing about dog food is this: good or bad, technically all dog food has at least the bare minimum amount of nutrients all dogs need. What truly separates good dog food from bad dog food is the actual quality of the ingredients.
Making sure that the food you feed to your dog is made of only real ingredients and no artificial additives are one of the first and most important steps on picking a dog food brand.
Here are some more tips you should keep in mind when shopping around for dog food:
The main ingredient in any dog food should be a whole protein, so check the label and make sure the first ingredient is a protein like chicken, beef, turkey, duck or fish
The first 5 ingredients listed on the label are the most prevalent in the meal, so they should be filled with animal proteins, healthy fats, and digestible carbohydrates.
Look for the label from the Association of American Feed Control Officials, or AAFCO for short. They determine what pets should be eating in a balanced diet, so that label means it’s been approved of meeting those standards
Avoid unspecified ingredients like “meat”, and avoid none whole ingredients like “beef byproduct” or “beef meal”
Avoid any artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, or preservatives
Grain-free is good, but healthy whole grains are good of them too if they aren’t allergic
Buy the right size food for your dog, don’t feed a puppy some adult dog food, or a small dog food meant for larger breeds
Wet Food or Dry Food?
This is a very common question a lot of new dog owners have, deciding between wet food and dog food. Truthfully, the answer is a personal preference as both can be great food sources.
Dry food is easier to travel with and store, and its hard texture makes it good for dog’s dental health. Wet food has more moisture so it’s easier to eat and digest for some dogs. Wet food is also the best dog food for allergies, and it is a great choice for puppies or any dog with sensitive teeth.
Both have advantages and disadvantages, but I personally stick with dry food when feeding my own dogs.
Now that you know the basics in what makes a high quality dog food and how to pick them out from the bad ones, here is a list of, in my opinion, The Top 3 Dog Food for 2022 :
Our pets are our family and deserve to be treated as such. Learning the differences between good dog food and bad dog food is the least we can do for our little buddies, but at the end of the day, it’s up to you to decide what food is best for your dog.
Every dog is different, your dog could react badly to top dog food from one of the top dog food brands even though it is well recommended. Watch your dog and see how he or she reacts to each food you give them.
Try the three brands recommended above, and if you find that one of them is agreeing with your dog, you’ll see your dog being active and happy with a beautiful silky coat. If none of the dog food agrees with your dog’s stomach, consider talking to a veterinarian about your dog’s diet and get a professional recommendation.
References and Citations
Burke, Anna. “Best Dog Food: How to Know What’s Right for Your Dog.” American Kennel Club, 8 July 2019, www.akc.org/expert-advice/nutrition/best-dog-food-choosing-whats-right-for-your-dog/.
“Understanding Pet Food.” Pet Nutrition Alliance, petnutritionalliance.org/site/pnatool/understanding-pet-food/.
Barrington, Kate. “The Best Dog Food You Can Buy.” Business Insider, Business Insider, 15 Mar. 2019, www.businessinsider.com/best-dog-food.
Barrington, Kate, and Kate Barrington Kate Barrington. “15 Best Dog Foods: Our 2019 (Extremely) In-Depth Guide to Dog Food.” Breedsy, 6 May 2019, https://breedsy.com/best-dog-food/