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How To Choose The Right Food For Your Dog? (Vet Answer)

In only a few short years, the dog food market has undergone dramatic upheaval. Poor diets including toxic components have caused several health problems.

Several doctors and animal nutritionists have worked tirelessly to raise awareness and implement improvements so that our pets can live longer.

If you're attempting to make good food decisions for your dog, you likely want as much information as possible on the topic.

Let's examine pet food alternatives in "How to Choose the Right Food For Your Dog? (Vet Answer)" by BestForPets (bestforpets.org) so you may choose what you believe to be the best option for your pets.

Types of Dog Food

There are several textures of dog food, each with their own merits and downsides. Let’s go through this list so you can understand what to anticipate in terms of moisture content, nutrition, and oral health.

1. Dry Dog Food

Dry dog food has existed since 1941, when firms attempted to manufacture a product with a consistent shelf life that would last far longer than open canned meals.

Since then, dry dog food has been a mainstay in the pet food market. Despite the fact that many past recipes featured what we now know to be dangerous additives, a number of corporations have begun to improve their food lines.

Initially, there were significant issues with dry dog food including fillers and synthetic additives. But, as time passes, more and more healthy solutions become available.


  • Toothbrushing with dog food
  • Increased shelf life
  • Convenient storage


  • Lacks moisture
  • Often includes filler components.

2. Wet Dog Food

Wet dog food was the first form of dog food available on the market. In 1922, the Chappel Brothers produced Ken-L-Ration, a diet for dogs consisting of horse flesh.

Initially, they utilized surplus horses from World War I, but later they began raising horses for the manufacturing of dog food.

Since then, foods such as beef, chicken, turkey, fish, and duck have been used into wet dog food. Bison, deer, quail, and wild boar are among the exotic protein sources used in a number of upscale dishes.

Even if improvements have been made to the quality of wet dog food, there are a few aspects to consider.


  • High moisture content
  • Chunks of protein
  • Unopened cans store for years


  • May include fillers and preservatives.
  • immediately perishable once opened
  • May be costly.

3. Moist Dog Food

Moist dog food is less prevalent than other alternatives, although it may be purchased online and in pet stores. It is soft and simple to chew for any dog. It has a somewhat shorter shelf life than dry kibble because it contains evaporable moisture.

If your dog does not consume all of their food in one sitting, you must remove it after four hours. Occasionally, this dish is also richer in calories. Thus, if you pick this sort of dog food, be careful to measure the servings properly to prevent weight gain.

The majority of moist dog food recipes feature an abundance of colours and fillers, as they are mostly composed of low-quality ingredients. There are, obviously, exceptions. Always check the ingredient list to ensure that your dog’s food includes healthy components.


  • Adds a little bit of moisture to the diet
  • Some dogs find it easier to chew


  • High calorie
  • Probability of fillers
  • Decreased shelf life
  • Must store leftovers after 4 hours

4. Raw Dog Food

Raw dog food consists of bits of uncooked animal flesh. Its purpose is to provide your dog with a diet as similar to its natural form as possible. Numerous dog food businesses are now offering raw food diets to their customers.

Under the supervision of a veterinarian, you can also prepare raw choices at home. If you have studied a reliable recipe and your veterinarian has given you the go-ahead, you can produce really nutritious foods for your dog without purchasing a brand.

There are advantages and disadvantages to each. To be edible, manufactured raw dog food must be properly kept and prepared.

So, there will be packaging variances compared to other dog food brands. These sorts of delicacies nearly necessitate delivery service, which incurs additional costs.

It is already prepared, so you do not have to exert much effort to cook it yourself. It removes much of the need for guesswork. To prevent food from spoiling, appropriate storage is essential for any raw diet.

Raw dog food diets are still relatively new in the dog food industry, but the aim is to provide your dog with a high-protein, natural dog food in order to prolong their life.

You may also use a raw food basis to supplement regular dog food. It is an incredible, tasty addition to their meal bowl.


  • Protein-rich, all-natural
  • You determine the components
  • May be used as a food additive


  • Rapidly deteriorates
  • Must be accurate and well-balanced
  • May be time-consuming if made by hand
  • Can become costly

5. Homemade Dog Food

Several dog owners are adopting a healthier diet for their canine companions. As pet owners become increasingly resourceful, the prevalence of homemade recipes is increasing. Social media is rife with recipes for pet food that can be prepared in the home.

With so many dogs suffering from allergies, there has been a revolution of pet owners searching for a better solution. Hence, many owners report that their dog’s health concerns or symptoms improved after switching to natural, home-cooked foods.

Depending on dietary constraints, homemade dishes often include a full protein source, vegetables, fruits, and possibly grains.

Preparing homemade dog food might be costly or time-consuming. But, bags can be frozen in advance and defrosted as needed. Your veterinarian must approve each recipe to ensure it fits all nutritional guidelines for dogs.

Homemade dog food may include any nutrients your dog requires for optimal health. You may create your own recipe that they will adore, albeit it may need trial and error and some individuals may not have the time.


  • Can be produced at home
  • Manage each element
  • Freeze to store
  • Simple-to-locate recipes


  • Time-consuming planning
  • Vet must approve recipes

6. Freeze-Dried Dog Food

Freeze-dried dog food is a raw diet alternative. Formulations that have been freeze-dried have been thoroughly dehydrated to eliminate all moisture. Hence, the dog food may be kept for the same length of time as kibble without rotting.

Finally, freeze-dried dog food aims to provide your dog with a healthier option while extending its shelf life. This sort of dog food is available in both solo and meal-topper varieties.

Due to the novelty of the idea, several items are still under development but have not yet reached the market.

You can really prepare particular snacks or meals at home if you so wish, which is another pretty great aspect of freeze-dried foods.


  • Extended storage life
  • 100% pure components
  • Available as a topping or as a main dish
  • Can manufacture at home


  • Fewer food preparation options
  • May be rather pricey

Dog Food Recipes

Who knew that dog food could become so complex? After deciding on the basis and texture of your dog’s food, you must then choose a specific recipe.

1. Standard

Standard diets for dogs are those intended for daily feeding. Although different food lines have different names for these sorts of dishes, they are often the most popular diet option. AAFCO criteria are satisfied by standard recipes for pet nutrition, which cover all nutritional bases.

These foods include grains, a typical source of protein, as well as vitamins and minerals. Frequently, these formulae are incompatible with dogs that have special dietary or health limitations.

2. Grain-Free

Grain-free diets for canines are now a contentious issue. Although it first sounded like a wonderful idea to provide a more natural diet for dogs, it had negative consequences on the hearts of many dogs.

In fact, since grains have been substituted by peas to a considerable extent, grain-free recipes have been associated with heart disease.

Yet, some dogs benefit from a grain-free diet if they have a true sensitivity to grains or gluten. Fortunately, this is uncommon, although grain-free diets are expanding.

In the future, perhaps, all difficulties with grain-free options will be resolved and become less bothersome for our beloved friends.

3. Limited Ingredient

Diets with limited ingredients have fewer additives than conventional dog food recipes. The goal is to produce shorter ingredient lists with more natural components in order to decrease possible allergies in dog food.

4. Organic

Many dangerous ingredients and chemicals are eliminated from organic dog food. In recent years, a great deal of attention has been paid to particular components in produced pet and human meals. Individuals are reconsidering the foods their loved ones consume.

Organic dog food must be fully devoid of synthetic hormones, antibiotics, pesticides, and other artificial ingredients in order to carry the label. As a result of the fact that so many substances might contribute to more severe health problems, many owners begin to treat, manage, or avoid dietary-related disorders.

5. Vegan

Vegan dog food is highly contentious, given that dogs require animal protein to survive. Yet, this does not prevent proponents from developing appropriate recipes for canine friends. Several nutritionists have developed recipes that address all the fundamentals of canine nutrition.

Being omnivores like humans, vegan and vegetarian dog diets are really simpler for dogs to digest. Before transitioning your dog to a plant-based diet, you should always consult with your veterinarian.

Harmful Ingredients

Here are a few areas to keep in mind if you wish to be cautious about possibly harmful pet food components.

1. Artificial Flavors & Preservatives

While reviewing the contents on a dog food label, keep an eye out for artificial flavors and colors. Not only are these ingredients useless, but they can also be extremely dangerous to your dog.

Man-made chemicals are used to produce artificial tastes. Preservatives These compounds have been associated with allergic reactions, diarrhea, vomiting, and food sensitivities.


  • BHA
  • BHT
  • Ethoxyquin
  • Red 40
  • Blue 2

2. Fillers

As pet food manufacturers advance, they have begun to eliminate fillers from their product lines. Yet, there are still some, particularly those found in the majority of big department shops, that employ fillers.

Examples of fillers:

  • Corn
  • Wheat
  • Soy

Typically, these fillers are also genetically engineered, making them unnatural. Over time, consuming meals high in fillers can lead to obesity, allergies, and diabetes.

3. By-Products

First, by-products do not always sound that horrible. They consist of all animal components other than the actual flesh. The liver, heart, lungs, kidneys, spleen, and skin are among examples.

While this is not always harmful, these organs are often extracted from ill, dying, or deceased animals. That is not something that your pet should ingest. In addition, the uncertainty makes the substance much more suspect.

Picking the Right Dog Food

Your list of factors for selecting the type of dog food may vary significantly from that of another reader. It depends on your lifestyle, the breed of your dog, the dog’s overall health, and your money. Here are some considerations.

1. Home Delivery Choices

Several pet food providers offer doorstep delivery. In order to ensure that you never run out of food, websites such as Chewy provide auto-shipping alternatives.

In addition to personalized door-to-door delivery, several brands of fresh pet food also provide doorstep delivery services. Each packet contains customized dog chow for your pet.

2. Smart Ingredients

The greater our understanding of our dog’s nutritional requirements, the greater our ability to select nutritious dishes for them. If you recognize some red flags on ingredient lists, you may avoid them entirely prior to purchase.

3. Trendy Diets

Trendy diets are innovative recipes or food lines that provide a novel approach to conventional diets. Consult with your veterinarian first if you want to try one for the health of your dog.

4. Specialized Recipes

Due to their nutrition, dogs might acquire allergies that can be persistent and serious. Food trials may be challenging, especially when the trigger is unknown. The purpose of specialized meals is to prevent your dog from developing an adverse immunological reaction.

5. Business Reputation

Undoubtedly, one of the most significant factors in determining whether to trust a pet food is familiarity with the manufacturer. If you do not want to produce your own recipes, examine the dog food firm extensively. Verify if there have been no recalls and examine any concerns that stick out.

If a corporation produces high-quality goods and stands behind them, it may establish brand credibility.


Your final decision should always be based on what is best for your dog. Like to people, dogs might have a variety of dietary restrictions that limit them from consuming particular substances or promoting a certain element of health.

As noticed in How to Choose the Right Food For Your Dog? (Vet Answer)” by BestForPets (bestforpets.org), if you can’t pronounce the ingredients on the back, it’s generally not the best idea to purchase that meal.

We want our puppies to remain with us for as long as possible, so please contact your veterinarian before making a final choice.

Author Image

Dr. Deborah Fletcher

Deborah R. Fletcher, DVM, is a skilled veterinarian with more than 15 years of experience dealing with companion and exotic animals. She has experience caring for a variety of animals, including household cats and dogs, reptiles, birds of prey, and even primates. Dr. Fletcher is a valuable part of the BestForPets team, where she contributes to their aim of providing pets and their owners with the finest possible treatment and services.

Veterinarian (DVM) Dr. Deborah Fletcher


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