Picking the Right Food for Fido
There has recently been a massive influx of new dog food companies and meals plans that claim to be the "ideal" and "best" diet for dogs - there's typical dry food, raw diets, fresh food thats delivered to your door, grain free diets, and the list goes on.
Among all of these labels and articles that claim each one is better than the next, how is anybody supposed to figure out what to get?! My family has always fed our dogs dry food. So when I got my dog, Ziggy, I just went with dry food because that's what I knew best and chose the brand of food because I had heard some pretty good things about it.
But as I did more research, continued my studies in Animal Science, and compared different brands and diets, I came to the realization that maybe that food wasn't the best for him after all. I started to read claims that the meat is imported from Asia and it was causing illness in many users of the product - I was terrified!! One of the scariest things to learn is that you are feeding your dog a poor quality product that's filled with God knows what and you had no idea.
I started to look into transitioning him to a raw food diet - just fresh, raw meat, bones, veggies, and supplements. My initial thought was "sure, it might take a lot more effort on my part to construct a perfect meal so that he gets all of his nutrient requirements, but if wolves eat like this, why shouldn't my dog"? Well after much research and thought - that plan was going to be WAY over my budget, I would be risking not giving him sufficient nutrients (or giving him too much of some), and dogs really aren't wolves. People love to think that our dogs are close ancestors to wolves but in reality, they are pretty far from them. From years and years of inbreeding and morphing breeds to have specific qualities, they have lost pretty much all resemblance to wolves. I fully support any dog mom who feeds there dog a raw diet - many of them seem to be thriving on it - but it just wasn't for me.
Okay, so back to square one. I thought back to a website that I learned about in one of my classes in college - dogfoodadvisor.com. They give you a break down of all of the dog food brands out there and according to their analysis, Taste of the Wild High Prairie got one of the highest scores. So I decided to go with that and also add in some Primalvore Bone Broth, raw beef bones every few days, and steamed veggies when I have some laying around.
Ziggy was never crazy about food since the day I adopted him. He never seemed too enthusiastic about it, never begged for it, and sometimes just wouldn't eat the food when it was sitting in his bowl right in front of him. I thought he didn't like the flavor or maybe he just wasn't really food motivated. But let me tell you - his initial reaction to Taste of the Wild was like nothing I have seen him do before. He LOVED it - and to this day, he gets so excited for his next meal, quite literally jumping for joy.
So here's a breakdown of everything I have learned over the course of my dog food journey:
Look for lots of animal protein at the top of the list of ingredients. Each ingredient is listed by weight, so the first 5 ingredients are going to make up a majority of the kibble. And be sure that it's listed as a specific animal (chicken, beef, lamb, etc.), not just "meat meal" - who knows what that even means. Yuck.
With that in mind, pay attention to whether the first ingredients are fresh, meal, etc. Fresh meat and fish are great, but also contain a lot of water, so while they make up most of the kibble when they are fresh, after the water cooks off, you're left with a negligible amount of meat in the the finished product. So if fresh meat is listed first, just make sure the next few ingredients are some type of animal meal so that you know your dog is getting adequate protein.
Stay away from added preservatives, colors, and flavors. These would be ingredients such as BHT, BHA, or ethoxyquin. These are unecessary, harmful chemicals. Better quality foods will use ingredients such as Vitamin C, rosemary, or tocopherols which are a much more natural form of preservation.
Don't listen to everybody else's opinion. Yes, this whole article is pretty much me giving you my opinion on what to do and what not to do, but it doesn't mean the diet thats right for my dog is right for yours! I'm just trying to give you a guideline to help you find what best for your pup. People are so quick to judge these days and will attack you and say you're a bad dog mom whether you feed raw food or dry food. The bottom line is, if its good quality, healthy, and works for your budget and your dog, then go for it!
If you want to try Primalvore bone broth, you can go to this link and use code "DOG-MOM" at check out for 15% off! I will write another article about the benefits of bone broth, but in short, its great for digestion, vitality, and skin, and its a healthy treat when frozen.