What should I feed my dog?

There are so many choices of dog food on the UK market which can make it difficult to decide which one to choose.

I usually answer this question with “this is what you should NOT feed”.

The following are a few simple dog food tips:

  • Ingredients on the back are more useful than the marketing claims on the front. When the front packaging mentions a specific ingredient then the ingredient list must specify the percentage e.g. foods that say Chicken on the front often contain just 4% Chicken!
  • Less is more. A short ingredient list is generally better than a long one with lots of cheap fillers.
  • If you don’t know what an ingredient is or you would not eat it yourself then don’t give it to your dog. Do you know what animal derivatives are?
  • Be specific. Do you know if “meat” in the ingredients is chicken, beef, or horse? Is the “cereal” wheat or rice? Choose a food that lists the actual ingredients rather than hides them under a generic term.
  • Don’t blindly follow your vet’s recommendation. Vets have minimal nutritional training and often sell brands that provide them with large profits but which don’t do well in independent reviews.
  • Buy from a pet shop rather than a supermarket. Supermarkets tend to stock the low-quality foods.
  • Garbage in, garbage out. If what comes out the other end is loose and smelly then your dog’s body is not processing it very well. If it is small and compact then he is using most of it as nutrients.
  • Do your research. www.allaboutdogfood.co.uk is an excellent resource that reviews specific products and explains what the ingredients mean. Check out the market leaders to see how they compare.

What dog food do I recommend?

There are so many to choose from! However, a food that has high quality ingredients and is readily available in pets shops and for delivery is Canagan.

What about raw food diets or BARF?

Some people will tell you that feeding raw is the single most important thing you can do for your dog’s health. Others will say that the risk of salmonella is too high. Do lots of research if you plan to change to a raw food diet since you don’t want your dog to have any nutritional deficiencies.

Take home message

There is a massive difference in the quality of commercial dog foods.  Do your research and choose the best you can for your budget.

Is your dog not interested in food?

Check out this blog post.

Mike Garner is a dog trainer and behaviourist at Rainbow Dogs in Brighton & Hove, Sussex.

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