You feed your dog every single day, but how do you know which dog food is best? It’s a topic that comes up a lot around here at Ruffly Speaking (and our parent company The Dog Gurus!).
- Is it better to feed my dog kibble or wet dog food?
- Is one dog food brand really better than the other?
- How do I know (and should I care) what fillers are?
- Can my adult dog eat the same dry dog food as my puppy?
- Should I order it from Amazon or is Chewy the only place to trust online?
- Is this all some big pet food ploy to get me to spend more money?
You see, there’s a lot of mystery swirling around how actually to determine which dog food is best. Our job is to help make it easier.
We always empower the pet parents who come to us with dog food questions to think critically about their unique pet circumstances. There’s rarely a one-size-fits-all solution to caring for your animals.
We’ll share how our founders feed their dogs at the end of this post, but before we get to that, here are the questions to consider when deciding how to feed your pet.
Nutrition: Which Dog Food is Best for Your Dog’s Wellness?
The first factor in determining which dog food is best for your pet is understanding his or her health and nutritional needs.
Wellness is a bit of a trendy word this year, so to be clear, we’re not talking about the best kibble to chow down on at the doggy spa.
Instead, we’re talking about your dog’s overall health and quality of life.
How often does he exercise? Does she get regular baths? Does he get table scraps? Are her treat-based training sessions giving her more calories than she needs?
All of these factors contribute to your dog’s health, including how his or her dog food meets dietary needs.
If you’re wondering which dog food is best for pets based on nutrition and wellness, consider these factors:
- Your dog’s breed, size, and age. No two dogs are exactly alike. Different breeds and sizes require different amounts of nutrients every day (and even portion sizes!). Your dog’s age also plays a big role in wellness. Senior dogs may need special formulas, while puppies need calorie-dense food to support growth.
- Allergies and sensitivities. Dog food impacts much more than how frequently your pet needs to go for a walk. It can affect his or her coat, skin, and stools. If your dog is especially itchy or has diarrhea, their dog food may not suit them.
Lifestyle: Which Dog Food is Best for Your Dog’s Activity Level?
Have you ever left the gym feeling a little shaky or light-headed? Usually, that’s because you haven’t had enough nutritionally dense food to power your workout. The same thing can happen to your dog.
That’s why it’s important to determine which dog food is best for your dog’s activity level.
Exercise and enrichment are important parts of your dog’s daily routine, but an energetic large breed like a German Shorthaired Pointer will burn more calories than a smaller breed like a Corgi. So these two breeds wouldn’t necessarily need the same dog food.
If you’re wondering which dog food is best for pets based on activity level, consider these factors of your dog’s daily routine:
- The number of walks and training sessions. If your dog attends doggy daycare or you take them for multiple walks a day, he or she may need a more calorie-dense food to maintain weight.
- Veterinary recommended supplements or probiotics. Some dogs with stomach or joint issues have nutritional needs per their vet’s recommendation. Dog food brands add supplements like glucosamine or probiotics into their formulas to make it easier to incorporate them into your furry friend’s diet.
Budget: Which Dog Food is Best For Your Wallet?
There’s a trend going on around social media right now where dog owners ask their pets how they will pay for a vet bill and remind them they live in their homes rent-free. It’s funny, but it’s also true.
Pet costs can add up quickly. While we always recommend buying dog food with high-quality ingredients, you don’t have to break the bank to care for your pet.
If you’re wondering which dog food is best for pets on a budget, consider these factors when you’re checking nutrition labels:
- Made in the United States, Canada, Western Europe, Australia or New Zealand. These countries have strict requirements for dog food production, which will keep recalls to a minimum and suspicious ingredients out of the food.
- Contains no artificial dyes or flavors. High-quality dog food appeals to your pet without relying on fake flavors or colors. Artificial ingredients can cause allergy flare-ups and be dangerous to your dog.
- Uses whole proteins and veggies. Check to see if whole proteins, like chicken instead of chicken meal, are listed first. Protein meals aren’t necessarily bad, but you want a whole protein and real vegetables making up most of the dog food.
Also, remember how much you need to feed your dog based on the feeding guidelines on each food bag. Generally speaking, you will feed smaller portions of a more nutritionally dense food with fewer fillers. So even if the price point is higher, the bag of food may last longer if it’s higher quality food.
What Do We Feed Our Pets?
Now that you have more information to consider about pet food, we’ll share what our founders use. Robin Bennett and Susan Briggs co-founded The Dog Gurus (the parent company of Ruffly Speaking!) to help pet care professionals build businesses that serve pets and their caretakers well.
Combined, they have over 40 years of experience in training dogs, keeping pets and their parents safe, and running successful dog daycares.
So how do they feed the dogs in their lives?
Robin uses a hybrid diet, with one-half of the meals being raw food and one-half Orijen dry dog food. Susan uses a completely raw food diet.
A raw food diet uses high-quality unprocessed and uncooked proteins and fats. Yes, like raw chicken wings and uncooked eggs. We recommend researching and considering the time and resources a raw food diet for your dog takes before handing over a package of ground beef to your pup.
Orijen dry dog food is our kibble of choice because it’s made with animal-based proteins, like chicken, turkey, and flounder. You can find it at many pet store retailers and online.
What Dog Food Brand Will Work For You?
As you can see, the options seem almost endless when it comes to feeding your dog. And what works for us and our pets may not be the best fit for you and yours.
That’s why our ultimate recommendation in which dog food is best is the one that checks all the boxes that matter to you!
You know your dog, wallet, and pet supply routine better than anyone else, so do your research and select the highest-quality option available to you.
Remember, look at protein and fat ratios, the use of grains, and when in doubt, you can consult the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) guidelines for pet food.
But if you’d like insider tips and professional pet product reviews, there’s a spot for you at Ruffly Speaking!
Ruffly Speaking is a membership community founded by Robin and Susan that offers real-time training exercises, insider information on the latest dog products and pet food, and access to some of the most experienced dog trainers and pet professionals.