best dog food

Freeze Dried, Raw, or Kibble?: A Guide to the Best Dog Food

In 2020 alone, Americans spent over $42 billion on pet food. Our pets play such an integral role in our lives, and it can feel overwhelming to choose the best food for them — especially with so many options on the market.

There’s a lot to consider when you’re choosing the best dog food, but it’s not impossible to make a decision. Everyone you talk to is going to have an opinion, but that doesn’t mean you have to listen to it. Take your time when choosing your pet’s food, and remember that your dog’s needs are going to differ from others.

So, what should you consider when you’re designing a dog diet? Read on to find out.

Each Dog’s Needs Are Unique

The most important thing to remember is that every dog’s needs are going to vary. What your family’s Great Dane ate when you were growing up is going to differ a lot from what your French Bulldog now is going to need.

Starting out with the basics is a great place to start. Here are a few questions you can ask yourself before buying anything:

  • How much time do you have for prep?
  • How active is your dog?
  • Do they have any food sensitivities?
  • How old are they?
  • How much do they weigh?
  • Do they have a preference?

When you’re considering a dog diet, it’s obvious to consider their age, allergies, and maybe weight, but there are other things you might not consider immediately.

When it comes to raw dog food, you have to make time for things like preparation or thawing. If you have a busy schedule, you might not have the time to prepare raw food each time they’re fed. If you spend more time at home, however, then taking the time to do this might be an easy possibility.

Talk to Your Vet

No matter what you decide to do, it’s important to speak with your vet first — especially if you’re starting a raw food diet. Picking a healthy dog diet is no easy task, but your vet can help narrow down your options to make things simpler. They can also test for food allergies if you’re not sure about your dog’s sensitivities.

Dry Food

Dry food is definitely the most popular option on the market. It’s simple to prepare, easy to store, and it’s pretty cost-effective. Since the food is so hard, it can also help keep your dog’s teeth clean, which is great if their breed is prone to dental issues. 

Your vet can recommend dog food brands, but there are a few things you can be on the lookout for as well, like the ingredients. The ingredient label is going to be able to tell you where the food came from, and how high-quality they all are.

At a minimum, you want to ensure that meat is the first ingredient, and you can take an extra step by ensuring there aren’t any potential allergens like corn, dairy, or wheat. If your dog has dietary needs, reading the label is going to be important.

Raw Diet

Like we said earlier, you need to speak with your vet before placing your pup on this special diet. While a lot of vets advocate for a raw diet, they’ll also tell you that it is not for every dog.

A raw dog diet has the potential to change their energy levels, and can even help those with digestive issues. This diet, however, is very high in protein, so it isn’t suitable for dogs with late-stage kidney or severe liver failure. It also isn’t good for puppies or those with cancer, immunosuppressive diseases, or any dog on chemotherapy.

If you’d like to switch to a raw diet, some vets recommend starting with a cooked, homemade diet to help clear up digestive issues first, and then making the swap from there.

Wet Food

Wet food usually comes in cans or trays, and a lot of dogs enjoy it. It’s easy to access and requires little to no preparation, and its high water content makes it great for dogs who need hydration. That makes it a staple for active pets, or those with reduced kidney functioning.

It’s easy to get low-quality wet food, though, so it’s best to find food with no synthetic vitamins or minerals, and with all-natural meat. You can also choose the grain-free route with wet food, which can be good for pups with food sensitivities.

The great thing about wet food is that it can be served alongside a dry diet, which is actually what a lot of vets would recommend. It’s a great way to ensure that dogs get all the nutrients they need while feeding them a diet they enjoy.

Some Human Food Is OK

Unlike cats, dogs aren’t strict carnivores and can thrive on fruits and vegetables. While a lot of dog foods already contain these ingredients, you can also just grab a bag of fresh produce from the grocery store and feed them to your dog alongside dinner.

Be careful, though, because they’re not all safe for pets. A quick online search will tell you if certain foods are pet-friendly or not, though.

You should always avoid processed human food, though.

Which Is the Best Dog Food?

Ultimately, the best dog food is going to depend on your dog and their needs.

Start with speaking to your vet about allergies, preferences, and what they think is best. Then, take a look at your schedule and what’s attainable for your everyday life. Finally, what does your dog like?

You’ll want to take your pet’s preferences into account as well! With all these things in mind, you’re sure to find the perfect pet food for your pup.

Remember, if you’re adopting a new puppy, you need to be prepared. You can shop for everything you might need here.