It's a dog-eat-dog world, especially in the canine food market. There are so many brands, each with its own ideas and suggestions of what your dog should and shouldn't eat. But after the 2007 pet food recall, dog owners have become a little more careful about dog food brands and their promises.
Even if the word "organic" is on the label, how many of the ingredients are actually organic? And how much of the food is actually meat and vegetables, and not just junk? These questions are what every dog owner should ask, for a dog's health depends to a large extent, on its food. However, some dog food brands are genuinely good for your dog's health, by providing high quality ingredients in the right balance. The best dog food brands are not necessarily the most expensive or premium ones, but the ones that suit your dog's lifestyle and your budget.
How to Choose Good Dog Food
- Dog food must consist of even parts of vegetables and meat. Choose dog foods which contain whole meats or meat-meal.
- There must be no corn, soy or wheat grains in the food. They cause allergies and other health issues in dogs.
- No meat by-products should be a part of the dog food ingredients. These are animal feet, intestines, heads, nails, hooves and beaks. Even animal fats and vegetable oil are bad ingredients.
- No artificial additives like flavors, colors or preservatives (BHT, BHA and ethoxyquin), should be part of the food's content.
- Canned food is more fresh and has less grain content than dry food. But do not feed only one type of food to your dog. Use canned food as a supplement to a dry food diet.
- Puppy and adult dog foods are different in content.
- Look for an AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) certification on the dog food.
Some Good Dog Food Brands
Based on the above thumb rules, here are some of the best dog food brands, that are safe and excellent for your dog's health.
Solid Gold Dog Food
Founded in 1974, Solid Gold is considered one of the best dog food brands in the market. It produces natural and human grade dog food, free of chemical additives and by-products. There are no animal fats or grains like corn, wheat and soy, present in their products, and their meats are USDA choice. Their product line includes canned food, dried food, treats and supplements, and is diverse enough for dogs of different sizes and ages. For example, Hundchen Flocken Puppy and Hund-N-Flocken Adult are 2 of its well-known formulas.
One of the lesser-known, good dog food brands is Timberwolf, who produce dog food with high grade ingredients. Some of the ingredients are organically grown, and Timberwolf uses meat-meals of lamb, chicken and salmon, which are not meat by-products. Oats and brown rice are the grains used, with a mix of herbs, nuts and grasses, to provide a balanced food mix. Timberwolf dog foods are a wholesome, additive free, gluten-free product, suitable for a wide range of dog needs.
Wellness Dog Food
An extremely healthy dog food brand, Wellness products come in canned and dried formulas. Wellness dog food has no wheat, corn or soy grains. They are free from artificial flavors and colors, and use human consumption lamb, white fish and deboned chicken meat. Their products fit the most generic and specific of dog nutritional profiles, from Super5Mix for all life stages, to Simple Food, designed for dogs with food allergies.
This is a top-notch and slightly expensive dog food brand. The Merrick brand offers both canned and dry food, with ingredients grown and produced in the U.S.A. Merrick products are additive free, with human grade ingredients. While their dog food is not organic, they use organic chicken meat. What distinguishes Merrick among various dog food brands, is the versatile array and type of ingredients used. Oatmeal, brown rice and barley, are among the grains used. Different meats and meals, like salmon, trout, chicken, beef, buffalo and venison, are used. Rich and easily digestible are two key factors of Merrick dog products.
This dog food brand was founded by actor Dick Van Patten in 1989. The food line includes dry, canned and specialty food, with formulas adapted for allergies, vegetarian diets and small breeds. The meat used is USDA approved, all ingredients, meat and grains are made in the U.S.A ., and there are no artificial flavors or colors, meat by-products or preservatives used. One Natural Balance dog food, "Organic Formulas" is a certified organic chicken dog food. Natural Balance is the official dog food of the working dogs of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives office.
Fromm Family Foods
The Fromm Family Foods dog food is famous for being one of the oldest and most respected dog food brands. The family itself has been involved with dog health, from introducing a distemper vaccine in 1930, to introducing the concept of premium dog food to the public in 1949. The company is based in Wisconsin, and all ingredients used in the food are from local farms. They offer 3 lines of food, Four Star, Gold and Classic, in both dry and canned forms. Their dog food is protein rich with USDA approved meats, like chicken, whitefish, salmon and duck. Grains used are barley, brown rice and oats. No corn, wheat or soy grains are used. Fromm dog food is even recommended for prescription diets, as its products are easily digestible and suited for dogs with allergies or sensitive stomachs.
Some people like chocolate, some like vanilla. It's a personal choice. The same applies to your dog. Just because your neighbor's hound will chow down on a brand of dog food, it doesn't mean your pet will like it too. So don't get surprised if your dog turns his nose up at that expensive brand you bought. Another factor is variety. If you ate only chicken at all meals, aren't you missing out on the nutrients present in vegetables and fish? The same rule applies to your dog. Don't just feed him one brand for the rest of his life. Try alternating and testing, if one brand is good, the other might be better.
Dog food makes an impact, not just in internal health, but in physical appearance as well. Top dog food brands make a change in diet, that can make your dog's coat shiny and glossy, and he can be more alert and active. A poorly fed dog has loose or watery stools, dull eyes, and bald coat patches, to name a few effects. So it's up to you to be careful about your dog's diet, as he trusts your choice for his health.