I feed my toy-breed dog Merrick, but there are many other high-quality foods available as well.
There is no food that is the *best*, different individual dog may thrive on different foods. What is best for one may not be the best for the next. And just because a food is good quality, it doesn’t mean it will jive the best for your dog.
What you want to find is the high-quality food that *your dog* does best on.
Read the ingredients on the food you buy. Go with a high quality dog food.
Here is my "short list" of rules when I am looking at dog food ingredients:
1) When I chose a dog food, I chose one high meat content. I want to see preferably at least 2-3 out of the top 5 ingredients be meat or meat meal (first ingredient must be!). Meal is simply the meat with the moisture removed.
2) I want to see higher quality grains, such as barley, brown rice, and oatmeal, instead of seeing wheat and corn. Or an alternative starch/carbohydrate such as potatoes or sweet potatoes.
3) I don’t want to see any byproducts.
4) I don’t want to see a lot of fillers.
5) I don’t want to see preservatives that are believed to be carcinogens (BHA, BHT, ethoxyquin).
6) I don’t want to see artificial colorings such as the Red, Blue, and Yellow dyes.
7) I don’t want to see added sugars (sugar, corn syrup).
I don’t want to see mystery meats (meats identified only as "meat" or "poultry".)
Here is an article about byproducts:
And an article on what ingredients to avoid:
Here are some examples of high quality foods:
* California Natural
* Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover’s Soul
* Eagle Pack Holistic Selects
* Nature’s Variety
* Solid Gold
* Taste of the Wild
* Timberwolf Organics
Higher quality food may seem more expensive at first, but it evens out. The higher quality the food, the less fillers eaten (and therefore the less poop comes out the other end). Your dog eats more of a low-quality food to try to get the nutrition it needs, and most of the food just passes right on through. Also, higher-quality food will make your animals healthier, so you save money on vet bills in the long run.
Stay away from grocery stores brands. They are low-quality foods chalk full of fillers, preservatives, dyes, etc.. (Grocery store foods are those like Beneful, Old Roy, Alpo, Pedigree, etc.)
Beware "premium" foods. "Premium" does not always mean good nutritionally, and is not a nutritionally high quality food. Most of these foods have the same types of ingredients as grocery store foods, just a bit better quality of those not-so-good ingredients. (Premium foods are those like Iams, Eukanuba, Science Diet, etc..)
Another thing to be wary of: A lot of vets will recommend what they sell in their office. They get profit from the brands they keep on their shelves, that’s why they push it. Truth is, vet schools don’t focus a lot on nutrition. It’s not saying that a vet is a bad vet because he recommends those foods, a lot of vets just are told "this is good food", so they pass the message along without proper nutrition knowledge. Also, some dog food brands (like Hills) support vet schools, so vets have heard of it from the time they start college, which makes them think it’s good as well.
Hills company, the makers of Science Diet, are heavily involved in vet schools. "Hill’s scientists author more than 50 research papers and textbook chapters each year and teach at leading schools of veterinary medicine" (Source of quoted section: http://www.hillsvet.com/zSkin_2/company_info/company_info_general.jsp?JSESSIONID=HMz2B3Jn3hv0rnSoxCobfbBhOec35ODG7yh5t3P0vcvhOtzRlQ9M!598359213!167846923!7005!8005&FOLDER%3C%3Efolder_id=2534374302026072&bmUID=1196192566575 )
"Big box" petstores like Petco and Petsmart rarely have quality foods. (I do believe that PetCo sells "Solid Gold" and "Natural Balance" brands and Petsmart sells "Blue Buffallo", which are all higher quality foods, but most of the foods aren’t.)
Also, grocery stores and Walmart aren’t good places to buy food either.
Your best bets for getting quality dog food are:
- small, locally owned petstores
- dog boutiques
- farm supply stores
When switching foods, do it gradually. I do this over about a two week timespan:
25% food A, 75% food B
50% food A, 50% food B
75% food A, 25% food B
100% food A