How to choose the right dog food
If you’ve ever gone to the pet store and stared, mouth open, at all the different options, you know how hard it can be to settle on a dog food. There are so many different choices, some of which you probably never would have even thought about. Of course, add the online dog food stores and there are hundreds and hundreds of options in front of you. So how do you choose? Here are a few things you’ll need to consider.
1. Cost – Having a dog at all is expensive. Dog food is one of the major costs involved in dog ownership, and it’s also the one you have to expend the most often. So if your dog doesn’t have any specific medicinal needs and isn’t a picky eater, it’s perfectly fine to just go with the most cost-effective option. Sometimes what’s right is really just what’s best for your budget. Buying online can help you find the best price, and you can use services like Amazon’s Subscribe and Save to get discounts on recurring orders. Petco also has a delivery service specifically for pet foods and supplies.
2. Wet vs. dry – A lot of this is personal preference. There are some dogs that just don’t like one or the other. If that’s the case, you kind of have to go with what they’ll be willing to eat. But wet foods can be especially good for your dog if she isn’t good about drinking as much water as she should. Dry foods tend to be better for dogs’ teeth, though. Dry food is also better if you’ll be leaving the food out for any period of time — such as if you leave food for your dog to eat while you’re at work — as wet foods are meant to be eaten immediately. PetMD has a thorough comparison of wet and dry dog foods.
3. Food allergies – Just like humans have food allergies, our four-legged friends can have aversions to specific foods too. If you think your dog might have a food allergy, don’t look things up online, go straight to a veterinarian. With her expert knowledge, she can tell you whether or not the problem is likely to stem from a food allergy or if something else is wrong altogether, and she can also give you suggestions of foods that will be better for your dog. Not sure if Fido is allergic or is just acting a little funny? This Pet Education article details some of the normal symptoms of food allergies, including itchy skin, chronic ear infections and hair loss.
4. Quality – Want the absolute best for your dog, no matter the price? There are a lot of conflicting schools of thought out there about what precisely makes a dog food good and what the best dog foods do or don’t have. Some people are into feeding their dogs “biologically available raw foods,” known as BARF, while many others think this is poppycock. It’s important to talk to your veterinarian before making a drastic decision like that, but among the more normal foods, it can good to think of it in the same way as cereal. The most delicious foods generally aren’t going to be the best for you. Look at the actual nutritional content rather than the flavor descriptors used in the marketing and you’ll probably be fine. Wag.com is really good about making the ingredient list and product descriptions readily available. This can be a great resource if you’re looking for a healthy food for your dog.