If you are a long-time dog owner or new to it, you will come to know that choosing a healthy brand of dog food is not as easy. As pet owners, the sheer number of brands available can be baffling. You walk in to purchase a bag or can of food and you are swamped with different options. However, there are ways to narrow the field down and find the healthiest brand for your dog. First, you have to know the general area you are looking in by gauging what your dog needs. You can do this by talking to your veterinarian about potential or current health issues along with other characteristics including:
- Health history
- Exercise regime
- Taste preferences
Once this has been carried out and you know the specifics of what should be in their ingredient’s list and what shouldn’t, you can look at specific types of health food.
What Makes a Dog Food Healthy?
There are so many different diets to meet your dog’s needs and whatever you choose must be the best quality natural dog food for your dog to ensure his health and well-being. “Healthy” means quality but not necessarily expensive. You want a food product for your dog’s diet that is not just suggested to up someone’s sales commission. If you understand what to look for then you should be able to make some choices based on your own research. There are obviously different diets for puppies, adults, and seniors, different breeds and varying health issues. There are also some limited options for vegetarian and vegan. But, no matter what, all these foods need to have a good balance of healthy protein and fat with the right balance of vitamins and minerals. The healthiest dog food should have a named protein content (preferably meat-based rather than plant) as part of the main ingredients with good fat for omega-3 and 6 fatty acids. There should be no unnamed ingredients, artificial colors, artificial flavors, or artificial preservatives in your dog’s food and a possibly a limited ingredient diet to reduce the risk of food allergies. There are three types of food products to look at for your dog’s diet: raw, dry, and wet. Once you have selected the healthiest available, they can be blended together or served alone—whichever your dog prefers. The brands listed below are some of the healthiest. Although there are certainly others, these ones listed have been rated at five stars and are some of the best on the market today.
The Healthiest Raw Food for Your Dog
Commercially prepared raw options are not all equal. If you choose to feed your dog a raw diet, then you need to be wary of E. coli in both homemade and store-bought products. It is difficult to get the calcium and phosphorus levels needed, so be cautious about nutritional balance. Your raw dog food options from the store are often frozen, freeze-dried, or vacuum packed and should consist of some if not all of the following:
- Muscle meat
- Bones, either whole or ground
- Organ meat
- Vegetables like broccoli, spinach, and celery
- Apples or other fruit
5-Star Rated: Vital Essentials Raw
This product comes in various forms. There is a meal boost topper that is sprinkled on top of a regular meal for fussy eaters or give a protein boost in their diet. There are patties to be crumbled or nibs. All products are made with farm fresh raised beef or chicken, organs and bones. It is grain- and gluten-free with good fat from herring oil. There are no artificial ingredients or flavorings, hormones, antibiotics, or fillers. With such a high protein content and few additives, it really is a good, healthy option.
Pros: No fillers, real meat, gluten-free
Cons: Inconsistent bite-size, some digestive upset during the introduction of food
Healthiest Dry Dog Food
Dry dog food not only has to have good taste but quality ingredients to make it healthy. There is a wide range of offerings on the market and many have good nutritional content. Offering it blended with other forms of healthy food can make up any nutritional deficiencies in a dry food diet that might occur.
5-Star Rated: Merrick Grain-Free Real Duck & Sweet Potato Recipe
This recipe is grain-free so has fewer potential allergens. Its primary protein is real duck along with sweet potatoes, peas, apples, and blueberries. It is packed with healthy vitamins and minerals for balanced nutrition. With 38% protein in addition to glucosamine, chondroitin, omega-3 & 6 fatty acids this product is great for keeping your pup fit. There are no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives present making it a great all-round health food for your pup.
Pros: Duck rather than chicken to avoid allergies, a good section of healthy carbs and fats
Healthiest Wet Dog Food
Wet food is usually enjoyed by most dogs and should contain similar nutritional values as raw and dry food diets. A wet food diet is good for dogs that are missing teeth, have small jaws, or suffer from any dental issues. They are healthy options for getting nutrition into picky eaters while offering extra hydration for those who don’t seem to drink enough water during the day.
5-Star Rating: Wellness CORE Grain-Free
This formula has a high level of quality animal protein with no fillers or grains. It offers a number of vitamin and mineral supplements to boost the nutrient content of your dog’s diet. It has flaxseed and an omega blend for healthy coat and skin and can be eaten on its own or mixed with dry food. Either way, your pup will get a healthy bowlful of tasty food with balanced nutrition.
Pros: Good balance of nutrients, easy for small mouths and dogs with dental issues
Cons: Pricey, strong smell
There are many healthy food options for your dog, but it will take some time to narrow down the field based on your dog’s characteristics and health needs. Whatever form of food you choose, be it raw, wet or dry or mixed, you can find a number of 5-star products that will be the healthiest choice for your dog.