Everything you need to know about picking the right dog food
Knowing what to feed your beloved pooch isn’t always easy. Pet parents can’t rely on the preferences of pups alone, as Fido will typically eat anything and everything he can get his paws on, even if it isn’t good for him. Here’s everything pet parents need to know about each type of dog food.
Picking a dog food that’s right for your pup
There are many things to consider when choosing dog food varieties, including breed, size, activity level, health concerns, food sensitivities, allergies, and stage of life. Your pup will likely need a few different types of food as they age, or just to mix it up a little with some fun and nutritional food toppers to reward them for good behaviour. In the end, the right kind of food is one that your doggo will eat and love.
The first thing to know about dry dog food is that there is a kibble for every occasion.
Dry dog food comes in a variety of flavours—including some surprising ones like apple and blueberry—as well as different formulations and sizes for each breed’s bite.
Grain-free and low-protein options are also available if your dog has food sensitivities.
Because crunchy kibble requires more chewing, dry food can support dental health, removing plaque and tartar buildup.
Many pet parents also find dry food more convenient as large bags can be stored without spoiling. No refrigeration required.
Wet dog food contains more moisture, which is great for hydration, digestion, and can even support kidney health which can be a concern for certain breeds and senior dogs. If you’re looking at wet food, consider the following:
Picky eaters tend to prefer wet food’s soft, meaty texture and flavours, including shredded chicken, trout and salmon.
Wet food can be served alone or mixed with dry dog food, and it’s a great option to add to a dish if you want to transition your pup to another kibble.
There are formulations for skin and coat health as well as weight control options.
Most wet dog food does need refrigeration and will spoil if opened and left out too long. But don’t worry, wet food comes in a few package sizes for easier portion control and fewer leftovers.
To make freeze-dried dog food, fresh food is frozen, and then moisture is removed in a vacuum chamber. The process preserves nutrients and normally doesn’t require as many additives. There are also other benefits:
With the shelf-stable convenience of dry food and the health benefits of a raw diet, freeze-dried dog food is a great option.
It’s also packable for easy travel if you want to feed your dog fresh (but dry) food on the go. Just add water for that wet food texture that your doggo craves.
Freeze-dried dog food can be eaten on its own, mixed with other food types, or used as treats.
The process of making dehydrated and air-dried dog food is a little different. Dehydration slowly removes moisture from raw food at low heat settings with minimal additives.
Dehydrated food is lighter and more nutrient-dense than frozen raw food and doesn’t require refrigeration.
Air-dried dog food is made in a similar fashion, exposing raw food to air that slowly evaporates moisture but doesn’t require heat.
Dehydrated and air-dried dog food have many of the same health benefits as freeze-dried dog food.
Freezing preserves raw food without processing by lowering the temperature to prevent bacteria growth. Be sure to pick the right food for your pup’s stage of life. Keep in mind:
Frozen raw dog food supports healthy digestion, offers alternatives for pets with allergies, and increased antioxidants can boost the immune system and contribute to a healthy coat.
Once thawed, leftover frozen raw food can’t go back in the freezer.
Toppers sit atop (or mix in) to whatever is on the regular menu. Dog food toppers are the perfect way to add variety to your dog’s diet without switching their preferred food entirely. If you do need to transition food types, toppers can help dogs ease into that change slowly—with added flavour and vitamin boosts. Dog food toppers include freeze-dried, chewy, and even liquid varieties such as raw goat milk.