Choosing a dog food brand is important, now that you have rescued your dog (I hope you have decided to). You may have many questions about what to feed your new furry pal.
Most people buy what they can afford or what’s on sale, without considering what is good and nutritious for the type of dog they just rescued, i.e. puppy, small breed, large breed, senior dog. Some ever think about the ingredients.
If you’ve never had a dog before, I would suggest the following before you bring your new dog home.
- Ask the shelter what they have been feeding him/her.
- Call a veterinarian that you’ve decided you will use. Give them all the background information on the dog that the shelter has provided to you and ask what food they recommend for your dog. This is a good place to start.
- Make sure that within the first or second week of bringing your new dog home, you visit the vet to make sure he/she is healthy and has all the required vaccinations for his/her age.
Basic Criteria for Selecting a Dog Food Brand
There are many things to consider when selecting a brand. You must always consider the health and nutritional needs of your dog. Don’t just go by the company’s claims or advertisements that it is good for your dog. Make sure it meets with Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) standards. Always look for the AAFCO statement on the bag or can.
Check the labels carefully before making the choice of brands for your dog. Look for a statement on the bag like the one above or one by the (FDA) Food and Drug Administration.
The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) is a voluntary membership association of local, state, and federal agencies charged by law to regulate the sale and distribution of animal feeds (including dog and cat foods) and animal drug remedies.
The organization defines and establishes regulations for pet food and feed ingredients, as well as sets standards for nutritional adequacy. AAFCO requires that an adult dog food must contain at least 18 percent protein before the manufacturer can call it complete and balanced. Anything lower that the 18 percent can make your dog sick.
The AAFCO is a private organization. It has no regulatory authority, but does work to protect consumers, safeguard the health of animals and people.
The standards they develop are not laws; however in America, some states have adopted these regulations into law in order to protect pets and consumers.
Buying only AAFCO-approved foods is certainly a good place to start. Try to buy brands that provide more than the recommended eighteen percent protein to ensure that your dog is getting the highest quality foods.
Dry vs. Wet Food – Pros and Cons
There are pros and cons to every choice we make in life and choosing a dog food is just one of them. Here are some of the pros and cons of feeding your dog dry food versus wet food.
Dry food is the cheapest and most popular. It is easier to store. Dry food comes in the form of kibbles and is good for your dog’s teeth. You should provide water for your dog along with dry food.
One con may be that your dog may not like the flavor or that dry food doesn’t have any smell. This might not attract your dog to dry food.
On the other hand, canned or wet food is great picky dogs. Canned food has more water than dry food and doesn’t require as much with the meal. Also, wet food is easier for your dog to digest.
One con regarding canned or wet food is that it is more expensive than dry food.
Ultimately, your dog will be the judge of what he likes and doesn’t like, so take a cue from what he/she turns their nose up at.
One thing I found is that a dog will eat just about any food when it is hungry enough.
Good Food for Your Dog
How do you judge what is a good dog food brand for your dog? The best dog food should always exceed the minimum nutritional requirements set by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the AAFCO.
Some dog foods only provide the minimum required nutritional levels so they can be sold in stores.
These levels are not enough for your dog to thrive to their full potential. Your dog food should and should not contain. The best dog foods will contain over 25% protein.
This should come from animal sources without including vegetable protein. It should contain 10% fat. The food should be enriched with Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. It should not contain, fillers, by-products or additives.
There was an FDA study done in 2018 on dog foods that included potatoes, lentils, legumes, and peas in grain-free dog foods. The study showed a link between canine heart disease and grain-free diets. So, if you choose a grain-free diet, choose a dog food that does not contain peas or legumes.
Puppies – Choosing the best food for your puppy is the biggest and most important decision you’ll ever make. Feeding your puppy the wrong food; especially one that contains too much calcium, can significantly increase their risk of hip dysplasia and other crippling bone diseases.
This can happen in certain breeds. These are a few of the top-rated foods for your puppy. Go! Carnivore Puppy, Blue Buffalo Life Protection Puppy Chicken and Brown Rice, Eukanuba Dry Puppy Food with Lamb and Rice, and Adirondack 30% Protein High Fat Puppy and Performance. You can google each of these products for more facts and information on ingredients.
Small Breeds – Many people favor small breed dogs, not only for their cuteness but also because they do not require the same amount of space as larger dogs. This makes it an ideal situation for pet parents who live in smaller apartments and houses without a large yard.
Although these pups do not take up a lot of physical space, they do take up a lot of room in your heart. If you own a small breed dog, you already know this to be true.
There are several small breed dogs, including Chihuahuas, Maltese, Miniature Pinchers, and Pugs. Their size and activity determine how much food they should be eating, and you might find your pup has specific tastes for either wet or dry dog food.
It is important to know what special dietary considerations and key nutritional needs your small breed pup needs so you can give them enough nutrients to thrive and live a long life alongside you. Here are a few good brands for your small breed dog.
Ollie Natural Fresh Dog Food Recipes, and American Journey Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe, and VICTOR Hi-Pro Plus Formula Dry Dog Food.
Large Breeds – Large dogs have several biological differences when you compare them to the smaller breeds. Large dogs are much more likely to suffer from joint problems, such as hip dysplasia and osteoarthritis.
It is important to recognize this and find a quality food for your pet’s specific needs. The list below is just a few of the most highly rated foods for your large breed dog.
BLUE Buffalo Life Protection Formula, Wellness Complete Health Large Breed, EUKANUBA Adult Dry Dog Food, and IAMS PROACTIVE HEALTH Adult.
Senior Dogs – Like with humans, all dogs get older and the pet food you give them makes a difference. Whether you have a large breed or small breed your dog will eventually get older and shows signs of needing a bit more in the way of nutrition to keep him going.
How do you know what is the best dog food brand for your senior furry friend? Check out the best canned dog food for senior dogs as well as the best dry dog food brand. There are a lot of options. Which grain-free dog food, dry food with meat by-products, poultry by-products/chicken meal is best for your dog.
Here are the four top rated dog foods for your Senior dog. Hill’s Science Diet Adult 7+ Longevity, Nutro Ultra Senior Chunks, Canned, Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe Senior, Canned, and Wellness Complete Health Senior.
Ingredients That Are Bad for Your Dog
Onions – Avoid this ingredient, as regular onion consumption can change the red blood cells in a way that increases the risk of anemia.
Sweeteners – Dogs have no need for added sweeteners like high fructose corn syrup, sugar, sorbitol and xylitol. They have no nutritional value and many of these ingredients can cause dramatic blood sugar changes in your pet and cause weight gain.
If your dog is overweight, he is more likely to suffer from a heart attack or stroke, and more likely to develop some form of cardiovascular disease. Sorbitol and xylitol can also be poisonous for your dog.
Ethoxyquin – This is mostly found in lower quality dog foods. It is a preservative that started out as a herbicide. There are studies that suggest ethoxyquin increases the risk for cancer, immune system problems, thyroid gland dysfunctions, infertility and renal failure.
Other research claims to show that ethoxyquin is perfectly safe ingredient, but just to be on the safe side, stay away from foods that contain ethoxyquin.
Salt – Dogs need a certain amount of salt in their diets, but if salt is an added ingredient on a dog food label, then you should consider this a sign that the food isn’t of a very good quality.
A diet that is high in salt could lead to higher blood pressure, which is a risk factor for heart disease, heart attacks and strokes. Salty foods also make the kidneys work harder.
Dough – Dogs should never have a chance to eat raw dough that contains live yeast cultures, so keep your pet out of the kitchen if you’re baking.
Even the smallest piece of dough can swell in your dog’s stomach until it’s so large it damages your dog’s body. In the worst cases, blood flow to the stomach can be cut off, damaging the tissue. The swelling can also put pressure on the lungs and cause respiratory problems.
Large quantities of yeast cultures can cause alcohol poisoning, as alcohol is produced when yeast cultures breed. Dogs with alcohol intoxication will vomit, have fits and can lead to fatal comas.
Propylene Glycol – This is a solvent sometimes added to dog food to improve the shelf life of semi-moist kibble. This is the very same liquid found in antifreeze.
It will poison dogs if eaten in large quantities. Research on propylene glycol found it could lead to irreversible damage to the kidneys, liver and brain.
Chocolate – This is toxic to dogs. Even if your dog only consumes a little chocolate, they can have episodes of vomiting or diarrhea. Larger amounts are even worse and can lead to potentially fatal arrhythmia’s or fits.
Beef and Bone Meal – This is an ingredient that you would think would be acceptable for your dog. However, beef and bone meal comes from the bits of slaughtered cows that are not considered fit for human consumption.
These are very cheap and easy to obtain and they help to bulk up dog food. Dog food manufacturers use it to save money. It does have much nutritional value, and could contain any part of a cow. You should choose high quality protein sources like cuts of meat that could also be safe for humans.
Raisins and Grapes – There is a lot of confusion regarding the reasons why raisins and grapes are so hazardous to your dogs health, but they should be avoided. There are many cases of both raisins and grapes leading to renal failure in dogs, causing vomiting, diarrhea, lack of urination and sometimes coma or death.
The dogs that survive this kidney crisis usually end up with lifelong damage and reduce their life expectancy. Dogs that are affected in this way need prescription foods and medications for the rest of their lives.
As of September 2019, there were seven dog food products recalled and four others were issued letters. To get more facts about recalls and letters for these products simply google each of the brand names or product. Below is the list by brand name and product. In parenthesis, I identified which were recalls and which were issued letters.
- Performance Dog – Performance Dog raw pet food produced on/after July 22, 2019 (Letter)
- Best Bully Sticks – Pig ears (Recall)
- Aunt Jeni’s Home Made – Turkey and Chicken Dinner Dog Food (Letter)
- Texas Tripe – Various raw pet food products (Recall)
- Various – Pig ears (UPDATED) (Recall)
- Thogersen Family Farm – Ground pet food (Recall)
- Darwin’s – Natural Selections (Recall)
- Hill’s Pet Nutrition – Science Diet and Prescription Diet (Recall)
- Woody’s Pet Food Deli – Raw Free Range Turkey (Recall)
- Hare Today – Hare Today Gone Tomorrow Ground Chicken With Bones and Organs (Letter)
- Lystn, LLC – A+ Answers Straight Beef Formula (Letter)
Brands Linked to Canine Heart Disease
The FDA recently named sixteen dog food brands which are linked to canine heart disease. Heart failure is a known issue for large breed dogs; however, the condition just began appearing in smaller breeds.
The FDA is investigating over five hundred reports that link dog foods that are marketed as grain-free to canine heart disease. The disease is called dilated cardiomyopathy, which is commonly known as an enlarged heart.
Dog foods that are being investigated contain high proportions of peas, lentils, legume seeds or potatoes as the main ingredients. Below is a list that is in order of the number of cases linked to them.
Acana, Zignature, Taste of the Wild, 4Health, Earthborn Holistic, Blue Buffalo, Nature’s Domain, Fromm, Merrick, California Natural, Natural Balance, Orijen, Nature’s Variety, NutriSource, Nutro, and Rachael Ray Nutrish
Dog lovers are always asking veterinarians what they feel are the top vet recommended dog food brands. Pet owners feel that they can trust their vet to know what is healthy for dogs. You want to consider the price range you can afford.
You should consider the best cheap dog food brands that are also good for pets. This list of veterinarian recommended dog foods will help you make a better choice for your furry friend.
Vets always mention that even though they have their favorite vet approved brands, each individual canine will have specific needs, and there is no “one size fits all” when it comes to dog nutrition and foods.
The nutrition that your dog needs is based on a lot of different things. Nutrition requirements are based on breed, size, age, weight, skin and coat condition, medical history, and overall health.
Your veterinarian knows your pet and understands his specific health needs. They will be able to give you a list of vet recommended dog food brands that will fit your dog’s needs and suggest additional supplements if required.
The dog food market is very large. There are lot of vet recommended dog food brands that offer blends for dogs with sensitive stomachs, skin allergies, and other special dietary requirements.
Talk with your veterinarian about your dog’s needs before you switch their diet, but here are just a few of the vet recommended dog food brands that are good enough for the majority of canines.
A Happy, Healthy and Energetic Dog – The Key to Longevity of Life.
Just as in humans, if your dog leads a happy, and energetic life he/she will enjoy longevity. In the topics above, I hope I have provided you with the necessary information to make the right choice for your new rescue dogs food. If you treat them well you will find that the love you’ve given will be returned three-fold.
What dog food brand do you give your dog? Does you Vet approve of it? Is it on the FDA’s list of 16 Brands that can harm your dog? I would like to hear what you think of dog food brands. You may leave your thoughts, questions and comments in the section below this article and I will be happy to respond.
All the best!
Founder/Creator: Love A Rescue Dog🐶
“Saving one animal won’t change the world, but for that one animal, the world changes forever”