How To Choose The Right Food For Your Dog
Diet and Nutrition
When it comes to our dog’s food, we should be feeding them food that is both enjoyable and keeps them healthy. They deserve the best dog food, it really is that simple.
As your dog grows and gets older, their dietary needs change, and, more often than not, their taste buds and preferences do too. Changing your dog’s food is likely to happen several times in their lifetime if not more.
You could be changing your dog’s diet because they are reaching a new life stage, they’re not eating their current food, you’re wanting to improve their diet or try the mixed feeding method, or it might just be that their current food is out of stock.
Though, with many types, variations and so many great brands available, choosing dog food can be a challenge. To help you choose the right dog food for your pooch follow the four-step guide below.
Our 4 step guide for choosing the right dog food
1. Consider premium dog food
The first factor to consider when choosing your dog’s food is premium dog food. But, why choose premium dog food? I am sure you have heard the saying we are what we eat, this goes for pets as well.
A premium dog food refers to the products with formulas that target specific life stages, breed size, and/or health concerns, such as joint problems, sensitive stomachs, or have dental support or digestion.
A lot of research and development goes into premium food formulas to ensure you are providing your dog with the very best nutrition and a well-balanced diet which will help keep them happy and healthy for longer. These foods typically are made with higher quality ingredients and protein sources, no artificial dyes, and added antioxidants and vitamins, and are often formulated to exceed AAFCO standards.
Many dog owners think premium dog food is a lot more expensive, so we created this chart to help you understand the cost of buying premium dog food vs buying a ‘cheaper’ non-premium dog food brand. Often referred to as supermarket dog food. This chart is an example of two existing small breed dog food products (Purina Beneful Originals With Beef vs. Eukanuba Small Breed Adult) and takes into consideration the bag size, price per kg, and overall cost per feed. Feel free to use the chart and swap out the examples for the dog food you are looking to buy.
The cost of buying premium dog food vs buying a ‘cheaper’ or ‘supermarket’ dog food.
Before we get into it, here are our top tips to keep in mind when you are thinking of changing your dog’s diet:
- Only change your dog’s food if you have a good reason to and transition slowly. Changing your dog’s food can upset their stomach, cause stress, and it can take up to 30 days for their body to adjust to the new food.
- Make sure the dog food contains the five essential nutrients your dogs should be eating.
- Use the feeding guidelines and labels for each food product to maintain portion control. Different ingredients and concentrations mean the calories vary, and your dog can quickly become overweight.
- Look for the AAFCO logo. It was created to provide regulatory guidelines and it means that the ingredients and mix of ingredients will be exactly what is on the bag label.
|Small Breed Dog (10kg)||Supermarket Dog Food||Premium Dog Food|
|Price per kg||$9.44/kg||$11.87/kg|
|Weight per feed per day||500g||130g|
|Feeds per bag||5.72||56.82|
|Cost per feed||$4.72||$1.57|
2. What is your dog’s weight and age?
The next couple of factors to consider when choosing your dog’s food are your dog’s weight and age.
- How much will your dog weigh when they are fully grown?
- How old is your dog?
Dogs have different needs depending on what age they are and what they weigh, so make sure you select the correct food appropriate for their life stage and size. This will help make sure their diet supplies your dog with all the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals they need to be happy and healthy.
If you don’t know the answer, take into consideration their breed/s. Often the breeder or rescue shelter would have indicated their age and how big they will weigh when fully grown such as small, medium, or large breed.
Then use this guide to understand the variation of dog food you should be feeding your dog.
|Dog’s Life Stage||Fully Grown Weight||Puppy Stage||Adult Stage||Senior Stage|
|Xtra Small Dog||0-4kg||0-12 Months||1-7 Years||7 Years Plus|
|Small Dog||5-10kg||0-12 Months||1-7 Years||7 Years Plus|
|Medium Dog||11-24kg||0-12 Months||1-7 Years||7 Years Plus|
|Large Dog||25-40kg||0-18 Months||1-5 Years||5 Years Plus|
|Xtra Large Dog||40kg+||0-24 Months||1-5 Years||5 Years Plus|
3. Does your dog have special diet requirements?
Next, ask yourself if your dog has any special dietary needs?
Does your dog have a sensitive stomach, joint problems or have dental concerns? Or maybe you’re looking to help manage their weight?
Many brands have specific dog food formulas specially designed to help meet your dog’s needs. Various dog food brands have breed-specific dog food options too. Filtering your search with the specific needs you are after will help you narrow down the results to find the best dog food option for your pooch.
If you are not sure and your dog is showing signs such as an upset stomach, itchy skin, get some advice from your vet whether your dog has any special diet requirements.
TIP: Pet.co.nz allows you to filter your results to help you narrow down to the suitable food for your dog. You can search by breed size, life stage, food type, dietary requirements, brand, price, and more.
4. Are you going to feed your dog wet or dry food? Or are you going to mix feed them?
When it comes to deciding between wet or dry dog food, consider your dog’s preferences and situation such as eating schedule, eating habits.
One type of food is not better than the other. Some dogs prefer to have one meal of dry food and one meal of wet food per day. Whereas other pets prefer to have wet and dry food mixed together in one meal. Other dogs prefer only eating a wet food diet or dry food diet.
Wet food has high water content and provides a strong aroma, flavour, and texture. Great for fussy eaters or dogs who struggle to chew dry food. Dry dog food is typically more concentrated in nutrition and helps with a dog's dental health while being convenient to feed. Many dog owners opt to mix feeding their dogs to get the best of both worlds.
So, what is the best dog food brand?
Each dog and dog food is different, so there is no one brand of dog food that is better than the other.
When choosing dog food, check whether it has the AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) logo on its packaging. It was created to provide regulatory guidelines and it means that the ingredients and mix of ingredients will be exactly what is on the bag label.
Other than that, it’s about understanding your dog, preferences, and needs. Finding the best dog food for your pooch may take some trial and error, however, most (in particular premium dog food products) have palatability returns policy. Easing both your mind and pockets to help you in the process of changing products.
We stock a great range of dog food brands. Varying in price, life stages, breed sizing, and special dietary needs to suit you and your dog.
If you need some more advice on the different brands talk to our friendly customer experience team.
Transitioning your dog onto a new food
Changing your dog’s food can cause your dog stress and an upset stomach, so we encourage you to continue feeding them the current food unless there is a good reason for you to change their diet.
When you do change their food, allow some time to transition as your dog’s body can take up to 30 days to adjust to the new food. We know this may not be possible in all cases, but taking your time to transition will help minimise upset stomachs and stress. Every dog is different so we would suggest you keep a close eye on the dog for any signs of an upset stomach and get in touch with your vet if you are concerned.
How to change your dog’s food
|Day 1||Day 2||Day 3||Day 4||Day 5||Day 6||Day 7||Day 8||Day 9||Day 10|
|Old Dog Food||90%||80%||70%||60%||50%||40%||30%||20%||10%||0%|
|New Dog Food||10%||20%||30%||40%||50%||60%||70%||80%||90%||100%|
Your dog should be enjoying mealtimes as well as getting all the benefits from the nutrients they need. Finding the ‘best dog food’ on the market varies from dog to dog, but we hope this guide has been helpful in your search to find what works best for your fur friend.
After all, your pooch is part of your family, so they deserve the best food!
View our dog food range and use the filter to narrow down the results to find the right food for your dog.
Written by The Pet.co.nz
Written by The Pet.co.nz Team
A team of specialists with backgrounds in animal nursing, animal care, and all things pet related.