Whether you've just welcomed a new puppy or a fully grown woofer into your family, OnBuy is here to help with choosing the right dog food!
It's no secret that your pup's nutrition is vital - but with a multitude of options to choose from, it can seem a little intimidating at first. Luckily, our dog food guide is here to tackle some of the confusion, making choosing the right dog food for your four-legged friend (no matter their age) an easy-peasy task!
Just like humans, your canine has several options when it comes to their diet, so we've broken it up into easily digestible (we couldn't help ourselves!) sections to make it that little bit easier for you. After all, feeding your pooch is one of the most important aspects of pet ownership!
Types Of Dog Food
When it comes to dog food, there are two ways to classify it: firstly, whether the food contains all the nutrients your pup needs (is it complete or does it require a mixer?) and secondly, how it was prepared.
Most of the commercial dog food found in UK shops is complete - or sometimes referred to as "balanced" - which means that it's packed with everything your pooch needs to thrive. A complete diet is often the most convenient option as you won't need to feed your pup other foods.
Complementary options, however, are not made up of the full range of nutrients and therefore need to be mixed with other foods to form a complete diet. You might decide to top up their meal with a handy cereal-based mixer biscuit. Complementary diets are great if you want to offer your pup more variety in taste and texture.
"...feeding your pooch is one of the most important aspects of pet ownership!"
Dry Dog Food
Also known as kibble, dry food is often the most convenient choice for dog owners. Packed with high energy content, your pup only requires a small amount to feel satisfied and meet their needs, which makes it a lot more affordable for you!
Not only is it easy to store, it's also less messy and quicker to clean up any spills by pups who struggle keeping food in their bowl. Chewing on crunchy things is also great for reducing tartar build-up, so this can be a good option for dogs that simply refuse you fiddling around in their mouth with a doggie toothbrush!
However, there are concerns about the way dry food is produced and that its high processing levels may destroy many of the natural nutrients found in the ingredients. Dry food also tends to have a higher grain content and is more likely to contain preservatives.
Wet Dog Food
Full of flavour and loved by most canines (even the fussiest eaters!), wet food is another convenient option when it comes to feeding your dog. Available in tins, trays, pouches and chub rolls, you can stock up with delicious flavours of this popular choice.
Like kibble, it's also easy to store, and can be a great hydrating choice for dogs with a low water intake. Being soft and easy to eat, it's especially suitable for dogs with jaw problems or missing teeth. Due to the way wet food is prepared and packaged, it is often free of artificial additives.
However, since its content is much higher in water and less calorie-dense, your pup will require more to meet their nutritional needs, which can make it pricey. As wet food tends to be most appetising for our canines, its cost may not be a deciding factor for some pet parents.
Raw Diet For Dogs
Taking it back a step to nature, raw food has been a growing trend for some time now as a more natural alternative to feeding our carnivorous companions. Commercial availability has made this a relatively easy option for owners with many premium dog food brands offering a full raw diet range.
Combining the convenience of pre-prepared food with the essence of a pre-domesticated canine diet, a raw diet is often preferred by owners concerned with the processed nature of kibble and wet food. Raw food is stored frozen and needs to be thawed before feeding.
Feeding a dog with this option may be right for some owners but greater care needs to be taken with preparation and keeping bacteria at bay for obvious reasons! While vets generally advise against it, it is becoming an accepted option - but one that requires plenty of research.
Feeding A Puppy
They may be tiny and snooze a lot, but don't let their size fool you - puppies actually require twice the energy intake of adult dogs. They'll need a special diet (sometimes known as "growth and development") that's packed with special nutrients to help them mature into a strong, healthy woofer.
Feeding puppies is therefore very different but, like with dog food advice for grown-up pooches, quality ingredients should be a top priority. Luckily, there are plenty of commercial options designed specifically for their growing needs, so finding the right food should not be tricky.
Dry food is said to be better for puppies as it teaches them to chew slowly, but if they prefer the taste and texture of wet food, stock up on a few dog chews! While you should always consult your vet to find the most suitable diet for your pup, raw diets are not widely recommended for puppies.
Aim to feed them at regular intervals to avoid overstretching their little stomachs: four meals a day until the age of four months is often recommended - just don't forget to divide up their recommended daily allowance!
Now that you're a little more clued in, you're hopefully no longer wondering "what should I feed my dog?" or fretting over what to feed a puppy! With so many options available, a little trial and error might be required to find a choice that's great for their tummies and your lifestyle.
Ultimately, every pup is different and what works for one may not work for the other. They'll be relying on you, their pet parent, to find a diet that helps them stay healthy and keeps their tail wagging!