Walking down the dog food aisle nowadays can be pretty intimidating. Just like humans’ food, dog food has trends. What we need to ask ourselves is are the trends beneficial for our dog or not. This can be a hard question to answer if you don’t have a background in animal nutrition but, I’m here to help!
Grain-Free vs. Grain
Let’s talk about one of the biggest trends out there right now, grain-free vs. grain in dog food. This has become a huge trend in dog food but again, is it beneficial? Based on what I have learned in animal nutrition, talking to different veterinarians, and some research I would say that it depends. If you talk to your vet and you both believe that your dog has a food sensitivity to grain, then yes, grain-free can be a great option for your pet. Some of these grain-free foods to have amazing formulas with a lot of great nutrients and omega fatty acids in them. I have been told by some vets that if you supplement the grain by making your dog rice to mix into their food that grain-free can still be okay. Just make sure you consult your vet before making any major changes to your dog’s diet. Recent studies have shown that grain-free dog food may cause heart problems later on. So I would just say to be careful with eliminating grain from your dog’s food. Some commercials may lead you to believe that dogs should not eat grain but, it is actually an important part of your dog’s diet so don’t’ let them fool you into thinking that your dog needs to “eat like a wolf”.
Another common misconception is that ‘meal’ in dog food is bad for your dog, this is not true. Meal is a perfectly healthy way for your dog to get protein and nutrients. Meal is simply the meat with the water and fat removed. This means that it will have a high protein content. So if you are wanting a high protein, lower fat diet for your dog this may be a good option for you.
What type of meat is best for your dog’s food? There are a lot of different opinions. Like any factor in dog food, it kind of depends on the dog. Make sure to try out different dog foods to see what works best for your dog but, don’t forget to slowly change food so you don’t upset your dog’s digestive system. One big trend in meat is lamb. I started hearing that Lamb is a great source of protein in dog food if you want your dog’s coat to be extra healthy. This is because lamb has a ton of essential amino acids. Essential amino acids have good fats which help your dog’s coat be healthier. Lamb is just one good choice for meat though. Chicken tends to be good lean meat and can be great for dogs with a sensitive stomach. These are just two examples of protein sources but, try out different options to see which one your dog responds best to. Make sure to factor in how much exercise your dog is getting when putting them on a high fat or high protein diet. Certain meats like fish are high in fats. Although this can be good for some dogs it may not be good for others such as less active dogs.
Small bites or big? Based on the size of your dog and how fast they eat you can figure out which will work best for your dog. I recommend smaller bites for dogs that seem to eat super-fast and forget to chew some of their food as well, as smaller sized dogs. Bigger bites tend to be for larger dogs.
For reference, Saylor eats Blue Buffalo chicken and brown rice and I sometimes use Tiki Dog flavor booster/ tummy toppers. Links are listed below. Check them out!