Simply because a product is labeled as dog food does not necessarily mean it is good for dogs to eat. Similar to food sold for human consumption, there are types of dog food which are both good and bad for dogs.
When buying groceries, most people take the time to check the ingredients within certain products. However, not everyone checks out the ingredients of the dog food they purchase. Here is a look at some of the differences among today’s most popular dog foods.
Dry Dog Food
There is a large selection of dry dog food to choose from and it also has a very long shelf life. There is also the convenience factor to consider as it comes ready to eat. However, this is a processed food, which means there are preservatives and fillers added. Nutrients are also lost in the processing of dry dog food. This is also a significant lack of freshness. Dry dog food does have its advantages when it comes to rationing meals as dogs who eat a little at a time can continually come back to dry dog food. It is good for dogs who are considered grazers while the kibble may also make dogs less inclined to finish large servings immediately.
Wet Dog Food
Wet dog food is easier to chew and is often viewed as a better alternative for older dogs who may be experiencing problems with their teeth or gums. Wet dog food is also a better option for dogs who are still growing as it typically contains more protein than dry dog food varieties. Wet dog food can actually last longer than many types of dry dog food. There is also the option of blending wet and dry dog food to get a mix of the benefits offered by each variety.
Raw Dog Food
This option allows dogs to get nutrients in their purest form. This often consists of muscle meat, which is still on the bone. The advantages of using raw dog food extend to cleaner teeth, shinier coats, increased energy levels, smaller stools and healthier skin. There is a lot of upkeep with maintaining this type of diet as meat must be eaten shortly after purchase or frozen and thawed before eating. It can be costly and there is also the risk of bacteria in raw meat. However, if handled correctly, a raw dog food diet can improve the health of a dog.
Dehydrated Dog Food
Nutrients in dehydrated dog food are very pure and there are generally less digestive problems than there are when using dry dog food. The dehydration process retains a lot of the minerals, amino acids, antioxidants and vitamins. This serves as a contrast to the way that dry dog food process uses high temperatures that eliminates many of the nutrients. Dehydrated dog food also does not add any additives or preservatives.
Homemade Dog food
Freshness is readily available when it comes to homemade dog food. This option gives dog owners complete control over what goes into their dog’s meals. While this can be time-consuming, there are other factors to consider. Dog owners need to learn what dogs can and cannot eat. There is the need to balance the ratios of what kind of nutrients dogs need in their diets. A balanced diet is necessary, but requires a different kind of balance than humans. For example, dogs have difficulty digesting grains and have no biological requirement to include them in their diets. That is just one of many factors in maintaining an appropriate and balanced diet.
It is important to note that not all meats are the same in dog food. Much of the meat used is rendered meat, which remains a bit of a mystery. Dog foods listed with just meat or meat meal are not divulging where that meat came from. And when it comes to chicken, look for chicken or chicken meal as an ingredient, as opposed to chicken byproduct. It is also important to note that some dog foods use corn as a food filler. This type of food is the dog equivalent of human fast food. It will satiate your dog’s hunger, but it is not at all nutritional or healthy.