Dog Food Comparisons: A Quick Look at Commercial and Homemade Dog Foods

You may have seen dog food comparisons and reviews before, telling you which brand to choose or which one you should avoid. However, these reviews tend to overlook the fact that different dogs have different temperaments and therefore different likes when it comes to food. In the end, the best way to get the best quality is experimentation and observation. Buy a few servings’ worth of different brands of commercial dog food, and observe carefully how your dog takes to it.

Aside from your dog’s observable preferences, one has to consider the dog’s dental conditions. Dogs may be loyal and loving, but they are not exactly knowledgeable about the condition of their teeth. Dry dog food is great for developing jaw muscles, but can wear down on teeth over time and also cause gum injuries in some cases. Wet dog food is softer, but dogs don’t always take to it. If you do give your dog dry dog food, make sure to keep his or her water bowl filled.

Commercial Dog Food

When it comes to commercial dog food comparisons, a lot can be gained from simply reviewing the labels – particularly the ingredients. Simply put, the more specific and honest manufacturers are about their ingredients, the easier it is for you to decide on what dog food is best for your friend.

Remember that though most manufacturers have your dog’s interest in mind, it may not always be the case. You may even be surprised to read from a reliable dog food review that some of the trusted brands out there actually make use of ingredients that you would never think of giving to your furry friend. Would you give your pet by-products like intestines and feet? How about chemical preservatives? Your pet deserves nothing but top quality.

So, if for example you read that the dog food contains “meat” or “meat meal” without being detailed, then you need to pull back. The position of the protein source should ideally be in the first position on the list, and more importantly before the fats. Speaking of fats, the same level of specificity should be sought for fat sources. Look for products that specify the fat source, such as “chicken fat”, “canola oil”, and so on, rather than the vague “meat fat” or “lard”.

Grains are not necessary in a dog’s diet, with them being primarily carnivorous. Thus, your dog food should contain little to no carbohydrate sources, which can be used to extend the product and lower the overall usefulness for your dog. Again, the label can help you identify and judge. If the dog food does contain grains, then it must come after the fat source, and must also be specific (rice, barley, oats, etc.).

Homemade Dog Food

Homemade dog food is no doubt an open option, but not one that people readily make. After all, there’s stuff on the shelf that one can readily buy, so why toil over something for the family pet? Well, first off, homemade dog food can be much more affordable than commercial products. Remember that with homemade dog food, you don’t have to pay for branding and other commercial markups. You only pay for the ingredients and the gas or electricity you use in preparation. You also avoid creating more garbage from packaging materials.

Of course, another advantage that homemade dog food has over commercial dog food is the fact that there are no artificial or added preservatives, additives, colorings, and flavorings. That means that homemade dog food has a shorter shelf life, but at least your dog won’t have to deal with all those nasty substances.

Of course, it’s not all rainbows and butterflies. Preparing homemade dog food requires research, as well as time to be spent on preparation. One has to figure out the right balance of ingredients and nutrients, as well as avoid stuff that dogs don’t like or should not eat. For example, onions may seem like a good addition, but they are toxic to dogs. Onions cause red blood cell damage in dogs, leaving them susceptible to anemia.

Remember that your dog’s nutrition lies very much in your hands. Hopefully these dog food comparisons have given you a better understanding of the wide array of choices available to you as a dog owner.

Ame Vanorio

Ame Vanorio is a former science and special education teacher who has morphed into a freelance writer, specializing in blogs about animals, education and environmental science topics. She is the executive director of Fox Run Environmental Education Center and is a licensed wildlife rehabilitation expert. Ame lives on her farm in rural Kentucky with 4 wonderful dogs and lots of other critters!

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