If you’re not sure what to feed your dog, we highly recommend that you read to the end. We have some fantastic advice for all dog owners, who want to know what the best food options are for their four-legged friends. From complete kibble to raw and bone fed (BARF), we’ll cover some basic details, pros, cons and considerations whether you’re feeding puppies, adult dogs, senior dogs, dogs with allergies or those who need a ‘lite’ option.
Convenient and very common, dry food, also known as ‘kibble’ is a great food type for most dogs. Kibble comes in a variety of shapes, sizes, flavours and make ups depending on your dog’s age, breed and physical needs; as well as your budget. Below we answer the common Pros and Cons questions.
Why should I feed my dog a kibble diet?
- It’s very easy to store. You can feed your dog dry food at any time in the year. It’s also easy to pack for travelling and give to instruct friends, family or dog sitters how and what to feed your dog without any hiccups.
- It’s affordable. While there is a broad price range for complete dry dog foods depending on the ingredients, dietary modifications and brand name, most can be bought in bulk for a reasonable price.
- You also use it for training purposes as it’s light enough to pack in a pouch or pocket.
- It’s usually very easy to clean leaving limited residue or smell in the bowls.
What are the downsides of feeding a dry dog food diet?
- Some people believe it’s not always safe for puppies. Dry food can require good jaw muscles and strong teeth, which puppies may not have either yet. However, a little warm water added to the ‘kibble’ and left to soak can soften the food enough to make it easier to eat, while also releasing the flavours; making it even more appealing for your dog at the same time.
- Some dry foods are poorly made, with poor nutritional value and consistency. It can also be too hard and stiff, which can be a sign of high-fat or high-carb content. We recommend feeding a good quality kibble, such as Seven, Fish for Dogs or Autarky.
Wet food is often deemed as a more tasty option for dogs with low jaw strength and weak gut systems. But as ever, there are always pros and cons to balance each other out.
Reasons why wet dog food is a good choice.
- Wet food is more stimulating to your dog’s senses. It’s, therefore, a good choice for puppies, senior dogs and fussy eaters.
- Wet food can be a great dog food choice for certain breeds that may have weak gut systems
- Wet food is also high in water content, which can help to reduce dehydration in more active breeds.
The downsides to feeding your dog wet or tinned food.
- Wet food can be expensive, depending on what you buy. Some cheaper products aren’t always as nutritional either.
- It is generally sold in smaller portions which can make it an expensive and bulky solution for larger breeds.
- You need to store it properly and keep it out of direct sunlight. Any opened tins or trays should be kept refrigerated too.
Increasing in popularity, raw dog food is considered to be a more natural and healthy choice for your dog. People used to think it was only suitable for certain breeds, such as German Shepherds, Huskies and Great Danes, but it is equally as suitable for a Russian Toy as it is a St Bernard. Complete raw food contains the right balance of meat, bone, vegetables, fruits and herbs to offer dogs a diet as close to that which their ancestors would have consumed.
The benefits of feeding your dog a raw diet
- Raw dog food is high in protein. This is great for muscle mass, brain function, not to mention slower digestion.
- Raw food is also great for the gut, as strong bacteria is required to break down the meat and bones.
- For active, working dogs that are used for hunting, agility, flyball, canicross or fieldwork, raw food offers a great nutritionally balanced diet.
- Raw fed dogs tend to have smaller, odourless poos.
The downsides of feeding a raw/BARF diet
- Feeding a raw diet requires stringent hygiene. Bowls, surfaces and utensils need to be thoroughly cleaned to avoid illnesses in both dogs and humans.
- Raw dog food can be expensive. As with all dog food options, there is a range of options to suit a range of budgets, but as with cheaper dried food, cheaper raw food can have a higher bone content which can cause constipation.
- Some raw foods contain a lot of blood, which can be off putting for some owners. However, some foods, like Country Hunter, freeze their raw food into ‘blocks’ making it easy to measure out and remove some of the mess.
- As raw food is generally frozen, it is difficult to travel with and does require quite a lot of freezer space if you like to ‘stock up’.
Some people prefer to take a home-cooked approach to dog feeding. This means either feeding them from their own plate, or cooking meals specifically for your dog.
As with all feeding options, there are upsides and there are downsides. Let’s take a closer look.
Positives of a home-cooked diet for your dog
- Home-cooked dog food is oftentimes more reassuring, as you know exactly what you have put into it.
- Home-cooked food allows you to manage serious food allergies carefully as you are only giving your dog what they can consume safely.
- With home-cooked meals, you can add grain-free alternatives such as oats and sweet potato.
Negatives of a home-cooked diet for your dog
- Dogs can’t eat everything humans can; in fact, a lot of foods we eat are toxic to dogs. If you don’t know exactly what they should and shouldn’t be eating, you could end up with a poorly dog.
- Dogs, like humans required a balanced diet of proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. But their needs are very different to ours. Unless you know exactly what to feed and how, you could end up with a dog lacking in vital nutrients.
- Home-cooked meals are expensive and time consuming to make.
- They also don’t last that long, maybe 1-2 days in the fridge.
We’re fortunate enough in the modern world to be spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing the right food for our pooches. Ultimately, the right choice for you needs to be weight up between what’s right and healthy for the dog, what you are happy to feed and your daily budget.
Of course, we’re always on hand and happy to support. So why not pop in store and have a chat with one of our members of staff?