Best Dog Food

doggie*Updated 6/2/16

Best Dog Food

Shaking Up the Pet Food Industry, One Bag at a Time

 

If you read our previous post, “A Pet Food Revolution,” you know that the tide is turning with pet nutrition. Focusing on the quality of your pet’s food can significantly impact the quality of their life and your time spent with them.

We were encouraged to find out that people were not only receptive to the growing movement of food and health awareness, but that they wanted to know more.

Our Green Vests noticed that the biggest obstacle that inquisitive customers faced when choosing a good pet food was price.

It’s no secret generic foods found on many grocery store shelves seemingly cost less per pound than premium foods you find in specialty stores.

But do they really?

A simple breakdown reveals that the high productivity of nutrients in quality foods give your pet more nourishment with less volume. This means that it takes less food to keep them healthy, happy and satisfied, as opposed to feeding more scoops of something dependent on fillers devoid of anything nutritious.

Couple that with the time and money you’ll save on vet trips later due to long-term nutritional deficits, and you’ve got a worthy investment.

Choosing the Right Food

A pet food can’t be magically better than its ingredients, according to dogfoodadvisor.com, a coalition of independent food researchers, health professionals and veterinarians.

That’s why reading the label is so important. As we mentioned in our last post, the first three ingredients on a bag (placed there due to their proportion to the total volume) will tell you a lot about the food inside.

Because dogs essentially have the same physiology as their ancestors, protein should rank highest on the list. Look for meat from a specific animal or animals and avoid carb-heavy formulas.

On that same ancestral token, people are realizing that their pets often exhibit better results when taken off grain, which was never part of their evolutionary diet in the wild. This applies especially to pets that have preexisting or developed allergies–often grains can be isolated as the culprit of issues with itching and “hot-spots,”  not to mention digestive disorders.

A label shouldn’t list anything artificial, including flavors, colors, hormones or preservatives. It should also be free of by-product meals, fillers and antibiotics.

If possible, try to choose a food containing probiotics for enhanced digestion and immune support

The following brands were on the dogfoodadvisor.com dry food list that received a 5-star rating based on factors like:

  • low glycemic indexes
  • use of natural and whole ingredients
  • minimal processing to maintain nutrition
  • (lack of) preservative use

Acana

Blue Buffalo Wilderness

Canidae

Earthborn

Honest Kitchen

Merrick

Nature’s Logic

Nature’s Variety Instinct

Orijen

Solid Gold

Wellness Core

(View the full list here)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Buyer Beware

By comparison, the following brands were just a few that received a 1-star rating based on factors like:

Alpo

Kibbles ‘n Bits

Ol’ Roy (Walmart brand)

Pedigree

Purina (incl. Beneful)

(View the full list here)

Just because a food has been around for a long time, has an attractive bag, or has clever commercials doesn’t make it good. People are waking up to the fact that what they choose to feed their pets will physically manifest itself sooner or later.

So, why wait? If you want to make the change, start now.

Whether your pet is young or old, it’s never too late, and we think you’ll see a positive difference almost immediately after the switch.

Dr. Camille Torres-Henderson, a veterinarian with the Community Practice service at Colorado State University’s James L. Voss Veterinary Teaching Hospital, reminds that any dietary change should be made slowly to prevent upset stomachs during the acclimation (see image below).

Cats

Don’t worry, we’re not forgetting about our feline friends!

Many of the same rules apply with cats and dogs, and many of the above brands make foods for both canines and felines. One big difference, however, is that cats are obligate carnivores, meaning that their diet should be primarily meat-based, period. No cat has ever evolved to be a vegetarian, and that means finding a food without grains and fillers is imperative for a cat’s digestive and overall sustained health.

Some cats may be picky about drinking water, so if they can get hydrated with their food, they’ll be more content short-term and avoid common urinary and kidney health issues long-term. Having a circulating water source, like a small fountain, also encourages cats to take drinks more regularly.

A Note on Raw Diets

The raw movement is also gaining traction with conscious pet owners.

Dogs and cats are meat-eaters, so raw allies even more with the idea of ancestral diets, feeding minimally processed, uncooked meals that are close to what an animal would eat in the wild, with no loss of nutrients due to heat, shelf-life and processing. Raw diets provide nutrition in its purest form.

Some popular, good-quality raw foods are made by Instinct, Primal and Stella & Chewy’s.

If you’re interested in learning more about a raw diet or have any other pet-related questions, you can always ask a Green Vest.

Also, check out these informative articles about pet food and nutrition: