Dog on Lawn

Today, pet owners are fortunate that there are practically as many dog food options as there are human food options.  What is right for you and your dog is a personal decision that may be dependent on a variety of factors.  Choices include dry kibble (which most dog owners are familiar with), wet dog food, or raw dog food (uncooked meat/vegetables).  The debate over which is best may rage amongst dog-lovers and each has their benefits and their drawbacks.

Dry dog kibble is far and away the most common type of dog food.  But, within the category there is a wide range of quality, cost, and type.  High quality dry dog kibble will contain grains, vegetables, fruits, starches and meats.  Dry dog kibble tends to be less expensive than other types of dog foods, is readily available and every major store and stores very easily.  But, many dry dog kibbles, particularly the less expensive ones, tend to be high in carbohydrates and low in protein which is not ideal for dogs.  In recent years, many dry kibble manufacturers have come out with recipes that are higher in protein and lower in carbohydrates to meet the demand of consumers but these may be a little more costly. BarkPost released a list of the best dry dog kibble options and their list includes brands like Wellness Core, Taste of the Wild, Solid Gold Barking at the Moon, Orijen, Nature’s Variety Instinct, Natural Balance Synergy, Merrick, The Honest Kitchen, EVO, and Canidae.

Wet dog food used to be seen as problematic because it could cause tooth decay but studies have shown that there is actually very little difference in tooth decay between dry dog kibble and wet food.  Due to the moisture content of wet dog food, it is better at keeping your dog hydrated than other types of food.  Additionally, wet food tends to be more nutritious for your dog than some dry dog food because it often contains less carbohydrates and at least the same amount of protein.  Wet dog food also often appeals to picky eater, dogs with dental health problems who need softer food, or dogs with an illness.Most wet dog food is canned and thus shelf-stable, making it easy to store.  There are also some refrigerated types of wet dog food available.

Some pet owners opt to feed their dogs a raw diet because there are many that believe that it is the more natural option for dogs.  Feeding your dog raw meats, vegetables and fruits allows you to specifically tailor your dog’s diet to their needs and health and may provide a shinier coat and overall improved health.  But, the challenge of raw diets is two-fold: it can be difficult to meet all of your dog’s dietary needs so that they receive a well-rounded diet every day, and there are the same health/safety concerns about eating raw meat for dogs as there is for humans. Anytime raw meat is consumed, particularly if you do not know how fresh it is or where exactly it came from, it can lead to Salmonella, Campylobacter, Escherichia coli O157:H7, Clostridium perfringens, Clostridium botulinium, and Staphylococcus aureus and more.  Consider your dog’s health and activity level, as well as overall needs, and consider your lifestyle as well when choosing the right type of dog food for your household.