With so many types of dog food floating around in the market, it can be difficult to decide which diet your dog should be on. While you’re searching for a suitable option, it’s important to note that there is no one dog food that is thebest.Consider feeding a rotational diet or even mix different food textures together for a more diverse diet based on your dog’s lifestyle and needs. Below, we delved into six different types of diets:
TheBARF (Biologically Appropriate Raw Food) diet emphasizes on well, everything raw - from the meat and bones to vegetables and fruits, eliminating any form of processed food entirely. The BARF model was derived to follow the evolutionary diet of wild, ancestral canines and includes a ton of nutrition for your dog! The raw bones are a natural source of calcium and phosphorus, while the raw meat, fruits, and vegetables provide enzymes, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals - all essential to support your dog’s overall health!
It can be time-consuming and difficult to balance the nutritional aspects of raw food, so many tend to opt for commercial frozen raw dog food brands likePetcubes. It’s a convenient way to reap the health benefits of raw served in portioned, nutritionally complete cubes!
Raw dog food also comes in freeze-dried form. Freeze drying is a method used to remove the moisture content of raw food without using any heat for maximum nutrient retention. Food is first frozen raw before going into a freeze-dryer to convert the ice (moisture in the food) into water vapour directly - turning frozen food into a freeze-dried product without having to thaw.
Freeze-dried dog food, while on the pricier side, is a convenient way of feeding raw. The removal of moisture content also stymies pathogen growth in the food, making it a shelf-stable product. You can feed the patties or nuggets on its own or rehydrate them with water orWholesome Paws’ bone broth to ensure your dog stays hydrated. Five star brands likeStella & Chewy’s,Primal, andSmall Batch are famed for their freeze-dried recipes.
Dehydrated dog food is similar to that of freeze-dried as both methods remove moisture content from food to create shelf-stable products without added preservatives. Where dehydration veers from freeze-drying is in the method of moisture extraction. The dehydration process very gently and gradually cooks the raw proteins (not completely cooked, just enough to dry them out) at a low temperature to kill pathogens without compromising on the nutritional integrity of the food.
The Honest Kitchen andPURE are good options to consider if you’re looking to go the dehydrated route! Feeding dehydrated dog food is extremely straightforward, simply rehydrate with warm water, bone broth, or someZeal milk!
Homemade diets, whether raw or cooked, are supported by those who favour knowing exactly what goes into their dog’s food. Curating a homemade meal plan requires dedicated effort into research to fully understand canine nutrition before one can adapt their knowledge to fit their dog’s individual dietary needs. Since the realm of canine nutrition is rather wide, it’s always best to formulate a plan together with a vet or canine nutritionist to avoid neglecting important aspects of your dog’s health.
Once you’re fully acquainted and ready to invest time into making your own food, then your dog can enjoy the many benefits of a homemade diet. The ingredients you use are definitely fresher, you’re in full control and can make adjustments anytime, and there are so many food pairing permutations to explore.
Alternatively, you could also opt forGrandma Lucy’s to keep the home-cooked aspect, but with a guarantee of nutritional completeness. Top it withStella & Chewy’s meal mixers for that extra boost of raw nutrition and enhanced palatability!
Wet food has very high moisture content (about 75% water), which makes the food softer and easier to chew. Food is cooked at a very high temperature before being transferred into a sterilised can or pouch. The sealed air-tight packaging maintains its long shelf life which eliminates the need for synthetic preservatives.
This diet is often high in protein and low in carbs, with a higher fat content than other diets. Nutrition-wise, given the high moisture content and high heat processing, it’d be good to note that there are definitely less nutrients in this compared to the diets listed above. You would have to augment each serving with supplements to ensure that your dog is meeting his daily nutritional requirement.
Many feed it as a complete meal on its own or use it as a topper for dry food. Some great selections include theStella & Chewy’s stews (BPA-free cartons!) and this Wellness CORE range - both of which are refreshing takes on the conventional canned wet food.
Dry food is by far the most popular diet choice out there due to its cost-effectiveness, convenience, and long expiry dates. Most kibble today go through the traditional extrusion method: a dough like mixture is first formed before being put through an expander to cook under high pressure and temperature.
Very little of the naturally occurring vitamins and minerals remain at this point, and almost all moisture has been eliminated as well. As such, it’s always advised to give your dog’s health an extra boost with supplements likeNaturvet’s.
Since most dry food brands use the same process, perhaps a good differentiating factor between high quality and low quality kibble would be the ingredients used. For instance,Orijen andAcana both have very high fresh meat content (up to 80% for Orijen and 70% for Acana).The ingredients also typically travel from farm to kitchen within 3 days and into the food within 2 days.
Kim is an avid dog lover, serial guac and chips eater, and thrill seeker - all in one body. Currently chillin’ with her dogs.