Dog food comes in a variety of forms and feels like a mine field at first knowing which one to choose - as each one provides its own advantages and disadvantages.
This guide will take you through the various varieties of dog food, which ones might be the most suitable for your pet and provide you with recommendations for when you need to switch to a new food source.
The different types of dog food
So, lets waste no time and get stuck straight in with the basics, here are some of the most common types of dog food you will come across:
Dry food (kibble)
This variety of dog food is the most popular and is renowned for both its convenience and lengthy shelf life. Cooking a mixture of ingredients, such as meat, grains, and vegetables, and then cutting them into bite-sized pieces creates this dry food mix. Kibble is simple to serve, store, and leave out for dogs to graze on as and when they please.
Wet food (canned or pouches)
The process of making this kind of dog food involves cooking a mixture of ingredients before putting them in cans or pouches. Wet food is frequently used as a supplement to dry food or for dogs with dental problems, senior dogs, or finicky eaters who might find it difficult to consume dry kibble since it contains more moisture than dry food.
Food that has been freeze-dried is produced by taking the moisture out of a cooked mixture of ingredients and then sealed in a container. The food is kept fresh for a very long time and the nutrients are preserved by the freeze-drying process. When travelling with your dog or having a small space, freeze-dried food is an excellent option because it is simple to prepare and store.
Making homemade food involves combining several ingredients, as directed by a veterinarian or a licenced nutritionist. With this kind of food, you can regulate the quality of the components and meet the individual dietary requirements of your dog.
Uncooked meats, fruits, and vegetables make up raw food. This kind of food is intended to resemble the diet that dogs consumed in the past. According to some supporters, it's the most natural diet for dogs and can provide health advantages including better digestion and a shinier coat. If handled and stored improperly, however it poses risk of contamination and bacterial infection developing, so it's crucial to do your research before giving your dog a raw diet.
The differences between Puppy and Adult dog food?
Now you've probably misread labels previously or perhaps accidentally chosen the incorrect product in the past, but what precisely defines puppy food from adult dog food?
Dog food for puppies and adults is prepared differently to meet the specific nutritional requirements for each life stage. The main differences between these two categories are:
Generally speaking, puppy food has more protein than adult dog food. Puppies' increased protein requirements are a result of their quick development and growth. However, because they are not growing as quickly as puppies, adult dogs need less protein in their diet.
Puppies need fat to grow and develop their brain and nervous system, as well as to provide them with energy. Adult dogs, on the other hand, require less fat in their diets because their energy requirements are lower and they are not growing as quickly.
Calcium and phosphorus
The right amounts of calcium and phosphorus are included in puppy food formulas to assist the development of the puppy's bones and teeth. However, adult dog chow contains less of these minerals because adult dogs don't have the same needs for growth and development.
Vitamin and mineral content
Puppy food is made with increased concentrations of some vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin D and Vitamin E, to promote the immune system's growth and development. However, adult dog food contains less of these vitamins and minerals because adult dogs don't have the same needs for growth and development.
As opposed to adult food, puppy food often has smaller kibble sizes, making it simpler for puppies to chew and digest.
It is important to remember that there can be variations even within the category of puppy food. Puppies of large breeds have different dietary needs than puppies of small breeds, and there can be differences between growth formula and maintenance formula. Before making any significant dietary changes for your dog, especially when switching from puppy to adult food, it's always a good idea to speak with a veterinarian or qualified nutritionist.
What is grain-free dog food?
You see more and more of this entering the market now. But what is it, why should you care and what benefits could it bring to your Percy’s health?
Grain-free dog food excludes grains like corn, wheat, or rice. Dog owners who wish to provide their animals a diet that is more in line with their ancestry frequently choose it. Although grains have long been a staple ingredient in dog food and some believe that grain-free choices would be better for dogs with certain health issues or allergies.
The benefits of grain-free food
Easier digestion: Some dogs may have trouble digesting grains, particularly if they have sensitive stomachs or certain medical issues. Grain-free diets may enable dogs to more effectively absorb the nutrients in their food, improving general health.
A more natural diet: Dogs are the descendants from wolves, and they had a diet that mostly consisted of meat and vegetables. A diet free of grains is more like the food of a dog's ancestors.
Managing allergies: Some dogs may be sensitive to grains, and removing them from the diet can reduce or eliminate symptoms such as itching, stomach upset, and skin irritation.
Better weight management: Grain-free dog foods may have fewer calories than those with grains, which can help dogs maintain a healthy weight.
Reduced inflammation: Inflammation in dogs is frequently triggered by grains. By eliminating them from the diet, you can reduce chronic inflammation and possibly improve the symptoms of bowel disease and arthritis.
Improved skin and coat health: Consuming grains may result in dry, flaky skin and a dull coat. By eliminating them from the diet, a dog's hair and skin may look and feel better overall.
Not all canines benefit from eating grain-free dog food. There is no one-size-fits-all solution to feeding your dog, and certain dogs may thrive on a diet that contains grains.
Is grain-free dog food suitable for my dog?
Both adult dogs and puppies can eat grain-free dog food, but it's important to take into account the particular nutritional requirements of both life stages when choosing a meal.
In some circumstances, such as for adult dogs who are prone to weight gain and need a lower-carbohydrate diet, or for dogs with dietary allergies or sensitivities to grains, a grain-free diet may be advantageous. Keep in mind however, some research has linked grain-free eating plans to a higher chance of dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). The FDA has cautioned that some grain-free dog foods have been associated to DCM, a disorder of the heart that can result in congestive heart failure. Therefore, it's crucial to speak with a vet before making the switch to a grain-free diet, particularly if you're thinking of doing so for an adult dog who has a history of heart disease.
A grain-free diet for puppies may also be beneficial in some circumstances, such as when the puppy has a grain sensitivity or food allergy. It's crucial to remember that pups' nutritional requirements differ from those of adult dogs. In order to maintain good bone growth and development, puppies, especially those of large breeds, may need increased dietary quantities of calcium and phosphorus, which are commonly present in grains like corn and wheat. Additionally, because puppies frequently need smaller kibble sizes, grain-free dog food might not be as pleasant for them.
It's essential to choose a meal that offers both adult dogs and puppies all the necessary nutrients. In order to give enough levels of calcium, phosphorus, and other minerals, vitamins, and vital fatty acids, it is recommended to read the labels and look for high-quality protein sources, such as meat or fish, as the first ingredient in food products.
Grain-free dog food can be a good option for adult dogs and puppies, but it's important to carefully consider all of the potential risks and benefits, as well as to speak with a veterinarian or a qualified nutritionist before making the move. Additionally, it's critical to closely track your dog's reaction to the new food and modify the diet as necessary if problems occur.
Types of food we offer at Doggie Solutions
Here at Doggie Solutions we have a range of dried dog food products to really get their lips smacking, including:
- Our BRAND NEW Grain free kibble for Seniors, Adults and Puppies – Perfect for those with a grain intolerance, or those looking for a more natural food source
- Our Super Premium kibble for Adults and Puppies – A high quality protein source, formulated with a range of hypoallergenic recipes that they will love
- Our Superfood 65 kibble – for Adults and Puppies – featuring the finest raw meat and blended with nutritiously beneficial superfoods
- Dog food supplements – perfect for keeping those older joints going
Things to consider when changing your dog’s food
A dog's diet can be changed for a number of reasons, but it should be done with caution to prevent upset tummies and other negative effects. When switching your dog's food, keep the following considerations in mind:
A gradual transition
Start by introducing a tiny bit of the new meal blended with their regular food over the course of a week or more. The dog's digestive system will have more time to get used to the new diet this way.
Monitor your dog's response
The transition should be adjusted if there are any signs of stomach trouble, such as vomiting or diarrhoea. Additionally, keep an eye on their faeces because these might be a good sign of how their body is handling the new diet.
Consult with your vet
It's always wise to speak with a veterinarian before making any significant dietary adjustments for your dog. They can advise you on the best course of action and offer specific advice based on your dog's particular requirements.
Consider the dog’s age
Pick a food that is suitable for your dog's life stage based on their age. You should select a diet that is formulated for the particular nutritional requirements of puppies and elderly dogs because they have varied needs.
Always read the ingredients of the new food, and make sure it does not contain any ingredients that your dog is allergic to.
Quality of food
Make sure the new food is of good quality, contains premium ingredients, and has the right ratio of protein, fats, vitamins, and minerals.
Do some research on the company and look up any recalls, as well as the company's history, customer reviews, and any certifications they may have.
Your dog might refuse to eat anything if it doesn't smell or look good to them, so choose wisely.
Compare the costs of various dog food brands and varieties. Finding a balance between price and quality is essential.
It's important to be patient and watch your dog's reaction to the new food over time because some dogs might be quite sensitive to dietary changes. It is best to speak with your veterinarian to identify the origin of any uncommon symptoms and to develop a treatment plan.