Is wet food better than dry food? Expensive better than budget? Here’s the scoop on your puppy’s nutrition

There is no right way to feed all dogs. In fact, with so many brands and types of dog food to choose from, a big part of cooking your pet comes down to his unique nutritional needs and the flavors he likes.

One thing, however, is certain: most veterinarians suggest that you buy dog ​​food with an AAFCO (Association of American Food Control Officials) statement on the bag or can. AAFCO is a not-for-profit group of government officials, veterinarians and scientists in the United States and Canada that regulates the sale and distribution of pet food.

According to Erin Katribe, DVM and chief medical officer of the Best Friends Animal Society, “AAFCO denotes that the diet has been formulated according to guidelines that ensure complete and balanced nutrition for dogs. A proper diet provides more than 30 essential nutrients, including protein, essential amino acids, essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals.”

She recommends choosing a high-quality commercially produced dry dog ​​food and feeding your dog an amount that will maintain a healthy weight. (Many dog ​​food bags have serving size guidelines on the bag. If you’re not sure, ask your dog’s vet.) “This can be supplemented with a canned formulation of the same food for a change,” she says.

Dry dog ​​food vs. wet dog food

One benefit of dry kibble over canned kibble is that as your dog chews the kibble, “mechanical teeth cleaning takes place,” says Dr. Katribe. “This can help delay or prevent dental disease. Canned foods contain a higher water content and this can be beneficial in certain health conditions or when the water content helps to provide bulk to your dog’s diet without increasing the calorie content. Linda Simon, MRCVS, veterinary surgeon and consultant for FiveBarks, a website for dog owners, says: “Wet food is best for those who have ongoing urinary or kidney problems. It is useful for dogs that are unwell or prone to dehydration. It’s also a good option if a pet has oral pain and is struggling to chew hard kibble.

Raw vs. homemade food

Raw was a huge trend a few years back. “It’s going out of style to some extent,” shares Dr. Simon. “The main disadvantages include the cost and associated health risks, both for pets and their owners. Raw foods pose a real risk of food poisoning from bacteria including salmonella, E. coli and campylobacter.”

Another option is to cook for your dog. This works as long as you include all the essential nutrients, proteins, vitamins and minerals in the food. The Doctor. Katribe suggests talking to a veterinary nutritionist or your dog’s veterinarian if you go this route.

fantasy vs. cheap food

The most expensive food in the store is not necessarily the healthiest. “In fact, all complete dog foods on the market should meet a dog’s nutritional needs,” says Dr. Simon. “When we spend more money, we are often paying for higher meat content and more expensive ingredients like fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, probiotics and supplements. We are also paying for a more sophisticated marketing campaign and packaging.”

She advises her customers to buy the best quality food they can without worrying that they can’t afford a more luxurious brand.

Prescribed diets for dogs

Certain medical conditions require veterinary prescribed diets to manage your pet’s health issues. They include food for dogs with the following medical conditions:

  • allergies

  • Arthritis

  • Cancer

  • dental problems

  • Diabetes

  • gastrointestinal problems

  • Heart disease

  • Kidney disease

  • kidney problems

  • skin problems

  • Weight control

You can purchase prescription diets from your dog’s veterinarian.

Can your dog be vegan or vegetarian?

Technically, the answer is yes. However, Dr. Simon believes that “this is not a route most vets would advise. Dogs are omnivores and are designed to eat meat and plant-based foods. They enjoy the taste of meat and have a high need for protein, especially when growing up or if they are an active breed.”

If you’re a vegan or vegetarian and want your dog to be too, talk to your vet to make sure you’re feeding your dog a balanced, protein-rich diet. Dogs definitely need amino acids in their diets, which are the building blocks of protein.

It is possible, however, for your pet to eat a high-protein vegan or vegetarian diet. the tricky part
is finding the right combination of foods, as not all proteins are created equal. Eggs, for example, are rich in complete proteins and can be a good option for dogs. But most plant proteins are not as complete as meat proteins, and some proteins are harder for dogs to digest than animal proteins. On the positive side, a plant-based diet will have less fat than a meat-based one.

Do a thorough check at your favorite pet store, as some pet food manufacturers sell pre-packaged vegan kibble and canned wet dog food, which can be an easier alternative than trying to make it yourself. If you put your dog on a vegan diet, check his coat. It’s usually a good indicator of whether he’s getting enough essential fatty acids in his diet. A dull or scruffy coat or flaky skin could mean your dog needs more essential fatty acids in his diet.

“Research into these diets is ongoing,” notes Dr. Katribe, who also works with the Humane Society of the United States Rural Area’s Veterinary Services program. “Some data suggest that these diets are equivalent or even superior to traditional diets, although these retrospective studies have many variables that are not controlled. More research is needed before veterinarians can recommend this for all dogs.”

Making the dietary change

If you decide to change your dog’s diet, whether from cooked to raw or meat to vegan, transition gradually over several days or even weeks to avoid upset stomach or other adverse reactions. “Diarrhea is common with abrupt dietary changes,” says Katribe. “Even if it’s just switching between different food brands.”

A version of this article appeared in our partner magazine, Inside Your Dog’s Mind.

Is wet food better than dry food? Expensive better than budget? Here’s the scoop on your puppy’s nutrition

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