Choosing the best dry dog food for your dog

Dry dog food is a staple for many pups! Depending on dietary needs, there are a variety of options that can provide quality nutrition for your dog. There are so many kinds of dry dog food to choose from and some are better than others. It can be stressful to figure out the healthiest option for your pet. So before you make your next dry dog food purchase, check out this guide to understanding and selecting the best dry dog food. For puppies Merrick grain free is not only food loved by puppies but is highly rated based on it’s nutritional content. If you’ve ever tried to feed your dog sweet potato then you’ll know what I mean.


What is dry dog food? 

Dry dog food is typically made out of a variety of ingredients, but the main components are carbohydrates, protein, fat, water, and sometimes vegetables. Carbohydrates usually make up the largest ingredient in many dry dog foods. Depending on the brand, the carbs might be from wheat, barley, or even corn. It is the carbs in dry dog food that make the final product stick together and provide it with texture. Protein and fat are also ground up and added. Meat is used as the main protein source however, some brands may use a vegetable ingredient like soy. Water is then mixed in to make a bread-like paste that is pushed through a stamp, cooked, and cut into small shapes. The final dry dog food is usually sprayed with oils, vitamins, or minerals based on the specific recipe, and preservatives are added to keep the food shelf-stable.

What ingredients should your dry dog food contain?

The very best ingredients to have in your dry dog food should be the ones that meet your dog’s specific nutritional needs. While most dry dog foods have the minimum requirements, your dog may require specific things to maintain a balanced diet. It’s also important to remember that your dog’s nutritional needs will vary throughout its life. A puppy will need different food, just like human babies cannot eat the same way an adult can. Older dogs, dogs with nutritional deficiencies, or with stomach sensitivities may also require a specific type of dry dog food to stay healthy.  

What ingredients should be avoided in dry dog food? 

In general, some ingredients should be avoided in dry dog food for all dogs. These can be found in many cheap, low-quality dog food brands because they are inexpensive to make. Unfortunately, while the final product may be cost-effective, it will be filled with empty calories that provide no nutritional value for your dog. 

These ingredients are:

  1. Unregulated Meat By-products – While meat should be the main ingredient in your dog’s dry food, meat by-products should not be included. This type of meat can be taken from any animal, including those that are diseased or even roadkill. Not something you want to feed to your favorite friend! 
  2. Synthetic Dyes and Flavorings – Similar to human fast or pre-packaged food, synthetic ingredients in dry dog food can be very unhealthy for your dog. If the dry dog food is made of quality ingredients, additives will not be needed to try and “trick” your dog into thinking the food tastes good! 
  3. Too Many Bad Grain Fillers – Corn, wheat, and soy are very cheap and can increase the calories in dry dog food, however, they can also be hard for many dogs to digest. This is why quality dry dog food contains no or only a small amount of healthier carbohydrate ingredients. 

If any of these ingredients are listed first or near the front of the ingredient list on the side of your dry dog food package, you should probably consider a different option. 

What are the benefits of dry dog food?

Many aspects of dry dog food can directly benefit your pup. For starters, dry dog food is much more covenant than wet food because it won’t spoil as quickly once opened. Dry dog food can be much more cost-effective than other options as it is offered in a variety of price points and bag sizes. It also encourages good dental health in your pet. The chewing of dry dog food can prevent tartar buildup on teeth, which minimizes decay.  

What kind of dry dog food should I buy?

Alpha Paw a leader in pet wellness ranked the best dry dog foods for 2022 and blue buffalo was the best adult dog food with IAMS proactive health minichunks dog food coming in as the runner up. If you’re on a budget they suggest Diamond Naturals and if you have an aging dog then Nutro Ultra Senior is the top pick.  

All dry dog foods fall into the category of either complete or complementary. Complementary dry dog foods do not contain all the nutrients that your pet will need. Additional wet food or biscuits will need to be served along with the dry dog food to provide a complete meal. As the name might suggest, complete dry dog food should contain all the calories and nutrients without extra food supplementation. In any case, it’s very important to provide your dog with ample water when feeding them dry dog food. Moisture is needed to properly swallow and digest food that is served dry. 

Talk to your veterinarian if you have questions about your dog’s particular nutritional needs and what brand of dry dog food would be best for your pooch! It may take some trial and error with a variety of options to find an option that works best. 

Waleed Khalid

A professional writer and a passionate wildlife enthusiast, who is mostly found hooked to his laptop or in libraries researching about the wildlife.

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