Dog Food Dilemma
Dog Food Dilemma
How do you choose the best dog food that is appropriate for your dog? There are so many different types and brands of dog food available these days that choosing the right one for your dog can be a daunting task so we have done some research to make it easier for you. You might also want to check that the food you are currently feeding your dog is up to standard as it is a proven fact that what you feed your dog will play a crucial role in their short and long-term health.
Generally, the best dog food is one that is higher in animal protein. However, in spite of their natural carnivorous design, dogs have still managed to evolve over thousands of years… supplementing their diet with the non-meat scraps given to them by their humans.
So, over time, dogs have proven to be fully capable of thriving on a variety of foods.They have few nutritional needs that cannot be met by eating grains and vegetables, according to American academic Marion Nestle. The exception is vitamin B12, which must be obtained from meat. While dogs are able to digest grains and plant-based proteins, a diet high in meat and animal protein is recommended by many experts. However, Dr Marion Nestle writes in her book ‘Feed Your Pet Right’:
“As long as this vitamin [B12] is added to complete-and-balanced vegetarian foods, dogs should be able to meet their nutritional needs…”.
If you prefer to feed your dog a meat-based diet it’s important to look for dog food that lists meat or animal proteins as one of the first few ingredients.
Many of us like to avoid artificial ‘nasties’ in our food. It’s a good idea to also do this for your furry friends. Some additives are harmless but others can cause harmful effects over time. As there are so many natural alternatives available now, artificial additives can be avoided. It is frustrating that some dog food manufacturers still add artificial colours to their food. Do they really think that dogs care what colour their food is!!
The artificial preservatives to watch out for are BHA, BHT and ethoxyquin. Look for dog food that contains natural preservatives – tocopherols (Vitamin E), vitamin C and rosemary extract.
Best dog food for your pooch
If you want to ensure you are feeding your dog the best dog food available here are some suggestions for you to investigate. All of them are Australian made so you will be supporting local industries when you buy these brands.
NOTE: For your convenience, we’ve listed the online suppliers from the lowest to highest overall price for each product range as of publication date. Not only is this very likely to change over time, but prices may not be consistently lower or higher over the full range. We haven’t taken shipping into consideration and that can make a big difference to the cost of your order.
These listings will tell you which online suppliers carry the featured brands. Please be sure to follow all the links if you want to compare prices for your particular purchase so you can use the most recent data. Always check to see if the product you want is in stock as some of the suppliers were getting low on or out of stock on popular products and sizes when we did this survey.
Ivory Coat – as well as quality Australian protein as the #1 ingredient, these products include the added goodness of superfoods, fruits, vegetables and wholegrains. They state that they will never compromise on nutrition, nor add cheap fillers or nasty additives. Their seafood dry dog variety has a strong reputation as being a ‘miracle’ for dogs with skin issues. They have a manufacturing commitment to Australian Farmers and donate $1.00 from every 8kg bag of Australian Natural Health to the charity Aussie Helpers, who provide financial support for farming families in tough times.
Vetalogica – cooked in small batches with no outsourcing, Vetalogica pet food contains only nourishing ingredients – no grain, gluten, corn, wheat, soy, or artificial colours, flavours or preservatives.
Meals For Mutts – organic, natural, holistic food for both dogs and cats. They use the finest in balanced ingredients including kangaroo, lamb, salmon, sardine and turkey with ground brown rice, vegetables, polyunsaturated fats plus vitamins, herbs and minerals. They have grain-free products that are good for pets with sensitive skin.
Savourlife – natural treats and food for dogs. Savourlife also donate 50% of profits to small Australian pet rescue organisations. They aim to raise awareness for rescue dogs and provide a ‘see who you helped’ service which allows you to see which shelter dogs your purchase has helped support.
Black Hawk – contains premium meats, grains, fresh vegetables, pulses and fruits, as well as delicious and nutritious herbs, vitamins and minerals.
Billy & Margot – packed with quality protein as well as superfoods and holistic ingredients, each Billy + Margot® product is completely grain-free and contains antioxidants, phytonutrients and essential vitamins and minerals to promote optimal vitality and wellbeing.
Advance – produce a top of the range diet for cats and dogs with nutrition scientifically designed by Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition, ensuring strict quality control and optimal nutrition for your pets. Advance design their recipes with the Aussie climate in mind. They also have a breed specific formula for terriers such as Staffies.
People food that is safe for your dog
We all like to slip our dogs a table scrap every now and then and don’t they love it! However, it’s important to ensure that you only give them human foods that are safe for doggy tummies:
- Peanut butter – don’t feed your dog sugar-free peanut butter that has artificial sweeteners, particularly xylitol, as these substances are very toxic to dogs. Read more about the danger of some peanut butter for your dog.
- Cooked chicken – make sure it doesn’t include any cooked chicken bones.
- Cheese – don’t overdo the cheese as a lot of cheese is high in fat. Cottage cheese is best.
- Carrots – good for teeth and low in calories.
- Yoghurt – only choose yoghurts that are free from artificial sweeteners or added sugars.
- Salmon – cooked salmon, salmon oil or salmon skin are all a good source of omega-3.
- Pumpkin – make sure it’s cooked.
- Apple – good for teeth but remove the seeds as they contain amygdalin, a substance that releases cyanide into the blood stream when chewed and digested.
Healthy additions to your dog’s diet
If you want to be sure that you are doing all you can for your best friend alongside feeding the best dog food here are some other foods that you can add.
Bone broth is a great addition to your dog’s diet as it has great health benefits. It can have the following benefits for dogs:
Contains calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and zinc and increases their absorption
- Strengthens muscles, bones, joints, tendons and ligaments
- Provides relief from joint pain
- Reduces inflammation
- Improves digestion
- Supports brain function
- Improves skin health
- Boosts the immune system
- Helps to detox the liver
Organ meat is a crucial part of a dog’s diet as they are strength and blood builders. Try to include some of the following in your dog’s diet and aim to make it at least 10% of their diet.
Eggs are so easy to add to your dog’s diet and are good for cardiovascular eye and skin health. Feed them raw and you can even crush up the shell and add that as well. You can feed a large dog one egg a day and perhaps every second day for smaller dogs. Eggs provide:
- High quality protein and amino acids
- Calcium (especially if you add the crushed shell), selenium and zinc
- Vitamins A, D, E and B
It’s best to feed your dog free range eggs as they generally have twice as much omega-3, three times more vitamin E, seven times more beta-carotene, 60% more vitamin A and are 98% less likely to carry salmonella!
You might also like to read about what NOT to include in a doggie diet.
Making your own fresh dog food
If you would prefer to feed your dog fresh food you probably already know that feeding the right combination of fresh food will make a difference to your dog’s health.
Fresh meats such as chicken, turkey, beef, lamb or fish and a combination of any of the following – carrots, broccoli, zucchini, pumpkin, apples, eggs, cottage cheese, plain yogurt – will ensure that your dog has a good balanced diet.
You should aim for a diet of
- 70% meat or fish
- 10% organ meat (liver, heart or kidney)
- 20% vegetables including some fruit
- Bones at least once a week. Bones should come from mammals. It is essential that they are uncooked and large enough so that your dog can’t swallow or break them.
Disclosure: Some links in this blog are affiliate links. You don’t pay more for the product but, if you buy from the link, we’ll get a commission. We only recommend products and online retailers we trust.
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