Dogs: How to Choose the Right Food for Your Dog

Dogs: How to Choose the Right Food for Your Dog

Ever had that feeling when you go to buy your dogs new food that maybe you are not buying them the right food? Which so many options out there how do you figure out which one is the best for you? All of those hundreds of options aside how do you decide who to listen to when it comes to what your dog should, can, or could be eating? My advice?Tune them out. That might sound counter productive to working with brands and sharing information about them with you. But it isn’t yes get an idea about what is out there, the options from Raw, to Grain Free, to Home Cooked, to Grocery Store Brands but do not let anyone tell you that by not following their exact feeding advice that you are harming your dogs. Politely tell them you know your dog best and with some unbiased education you and only you can make the right decision on what to feed them.

Dogs how to choose the right food for your dog

This isn’t going to be your typical post about choosing the right dog food. In fact I am not going to name a single brand or put one way of feeding above and beyond another. When it comes to your dogs you know them best. And because I know that my least favorite part of going to Trade Shows in the Pet Industry is going down the Pet Food Aisles where half of the brands literally put down, degrade, or completely bad mouth other brands I would never use my blog to do that to you. Those are the brands that will not find a place on Two Little Cavaliers because it isn’t fair to use scare tactics to get people to buy your dog food. You are welcome to tell me why your brand is the best or why your nutritionists have come up with the most nutritionally balanced diet on the market because I do want to learn and so do my readers but please do so in a way that educates.

How to Choose the Right Food for Your Dogs – The Two Little Cavaliers Approach

1. Figure out what your dog food budget is for the month. Can you afford $80 worth of food or are you looking at $30 or something under $20? Be honest with yourself. Sure your dog might like the $80 bag of food but if you can’t afford it there are other options out there and just because you opt for a less expensive food don’t let anyone put you down. Trust me I know exactly how it feels to have to go from a more expensive brand to a less expensive brand because you can no longer afford it don’t let people make you feel bad about the decision you had to make.

2. Does your dog have any allergies or protein sources they will not or cannot eat? Davinia does not like lamb and a beef based diet doe not agree with Indiana. They do like chicken but they really seem to love salmon. They do also like Buffalo but that is a much harder protein to find so it is not something they generally have anymore. Find a protein source that your dogs like and that you feel is as high quality in your price range as possible.

3. Check out a few different bags of food. Is protein the first ingredient? Check to see what percentage the protein vs carbohydrates vs fat is for each and choose one in the middle. For us a food that is protein and fat heavy will upset Indiana’s stomach and then all of those great ingredients will not benefit her. Davinia on the other hand needs a well balanced food or she will lose weight. Which means right in the middle works for us.

3. Dry, Canned, Dehydrated, Wet, Raw, Home Cooked can you only feed one or can you mix and match? I have heard reasons not to mix and match but honestly if your dogs regular food source is Dry for instance I see nothing wrong with adding some fresh steamed vegetables or fruit to the mix. Feel free to add some wet food once in a while as a treat. Making Chicken and rice for dinner? Leave the seasoning off and use the chicken as a training treat or mix it into the rice and let your dog have a home cooked meal. Heard that raw bones are good to help clean their teeth especially if they have a little bit of meat still on them that your dog has to work on? Great instead of their normal treat that day give them a marrow bone. The only thing you probably do not want to do is feed your dog a meal of dry food topped off with some raw meat and chicken bone as digestion can become an issue.

4. Once you decide on a food or feeding system for your dogs monitor their behavior, their potty schedule, and their skin and coat for changes. Changes for the better are what you are looking for. Just because your neighbor swears by a brand of food does not mean that it is the right food for your dog. If the food is making them sick stop feeding it and go back to your old food. Every dog is different and will react differently to food.

5. Yes, technically you should transition your dogs to a new food slowly. In the real world we know that is not always possible for one reason or another – they refuse to eat another bite of their food or you ran out of food and completely didn’t realize it. Feed the new food in treat size portions and monitor their potty schedule. If everything seems good you can feed some more. Once a half a day to a day goes by and everything is good you can go ahead and feed them a meal sized portion at one time. Your dog will not starve because you are feeding them the food as a treat while they are adjusting to the new food.

6. Depending on the type of food you decide to feed your dog will need more or less water then in the past. With dry food they will need the most water and with home cooked likely the least unless you are drying their food and not just steaming, baking, or crock potting it.

7. Remember a lot of the brands you find on the shelves at the grocery store and at the pet supply store have gone through rigorous field testing. That means that he food was fed to a group of dogs and their body condition, potty schedule, coat, and skin, as well as energy level were all observed. It also means that they had blood work done as well as urine and stool samples taken while they were being fed the food (as a regular diet like any other dog). It means that these foods passed a lot of testing before hitting the shelves so that your dogs are not guinea pigs. On the other hand if you buy in bulk and home cook their food you know exactly what is going into their food and where it was sourced.

Whatever decision you make for your dogs in the right decision for you and do not let anyone second guess what you have decided.

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  1. Sounds like a very wise post to me!!

  2. Jessica Sala says

    We swear by Wellness Core Grain Free 🙂

  3. I really love this post and have actually been thinking about this a lot lately. People get so offended at even the mention of specific brands of dog food. I am focusing on being non-judgmental about dog food and not putting others down because of what they feed their dogs or cats. I know some foods may be superior to others, but they can be very expensive. I’d love to feed my dog super expensive dog food, but truth is that I really can’t afford it. I try to make the best decision I can with the amount of money I have to spend.
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