As dog owners, we understand the importance of providing our beloved pets with the best nutrition possible. However, with so many options available, finding the right dog food for your furry friend can be overwhelming. To help you make an informed decision, we have consulted veterinarians and animal nutritionists to bring you a comprehensive guide to the best dog foods of 2023.
Dry Dog Food - A Convenient and Balanced Option:
Dry dog food is not only practical and affordable but also provides a well-balanced diet for your canine companion. According to Dr. Megan Shepherd, a board-certified veterinary nutritionist, dry food is an excellent choice as it doesn't include the added water content found in wet foods.
When choosing dry dog food, it's essential to consider the calorie and nutrient content, particularly the protein levels. Contrary to popular belief, dogs are omnivorous and do not require excessively high levels of protein. What's more critical is the quality and digestibility of the protein. The best dry foods meet the nutrient requirements set by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) and include whole meats, fish, meat meals, rice, beans, and fiber from grains, vegetables, and fruit.
Experts recommend looking for dry foods with protein concentrations of at least 18% for adult dogs, while fat concentrations should be kept below 20% unless your dog has specific health conditions. Additionally, it is beneficial to choose dog foods that contain healthy extras such as omega fatty acids for skin and coat health and joint support ingredients like glucosamine, chondroitin, and green-lipped mussels.
Best Budget Dry Food - Affordable Options without Compromising Quality:
While it's true that some ultra-cheap dog foods may compromise on quality, there are plenty of affordable options that provide excellent nutrition. Dr. Jamie Richardson, a veterinarian, and chief of staff at Small Door Veterinary advises dog owners not to overspend on dog food while still ensuring it meets AAFCO standards for complete and balanced nutrition.
Here are some top picks for the best budget dry dog foods:
Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Chicken and Brown Rice Recipe:
Deboned chicken and chicken meal serve as the main protein sources in this recipe, while other standout carbohydrates include brown rice, barley, oatmeal, peas, sweet potatoes, carrots, and cranberries. It also contains omega fatty acids and glucosamine for added health benefits. With 24% protein, 14% fat, and 5% fiber, this food is suitable for moderately active, normal-weight dogs.
Natural Balance Original Ultra Chicken and Barley Formula:
This dry food contains chicken and chicken meal as its primary ingredients, along with pearled barley, peas, oat groats, brown rice, and carrots. It also includes fish oil for omega fatty acids. With 23% protein, 13% fat, and 5% fiber, it is an ideal choice for normal, active-weight dogs.
When it comes to feeding our furry companions, providing them with the best nutrition is a top priority. For some dogs, wet food offers a delicious and easily digestible option, especially for those with sensitive stomachs. To help you choose the best wet dog food for your canine friend, we have consulted experts and selected top picks from trusted brands like Wellness, Go! Solutions, and Hill's Pet, all of which meet AAFCO complete and balanced standards.
Advantages of Wet Food:
According to Dr. Jamie Richardson, a veterinarian and chief of staff at Small Door Veterinary, some dogs prefer the taste and texture of wet food. Additionally, wet foods are often less processed and contain fewer preservatives, making them easier to digest for certain dogs. However, it's essential to be cautious of wet food that contains only meat, as it may not provide complete and balanced nutrition. Instead, you can use a small amount of such food as a meal topper for kibble or as a stuffing for interactive dog toys like the Kong Classic and puzzle feeders.
Comparing Wet Food to Dry Food:
Comparing the nutritional content of wet and dry food can be tricky due to the higher water content in wet food. To make an accurate comparison, you need to assess the protein, fat, and fiber content on a "dry matter basis," which is a measurement of nutrients without water included. This can be calculated with guidance from sources like Cummings Veterinary Medical Center at Tufts University or by reaching out to the brand or your veterinarian for assistance.
Our Top Picks for the Best Wet Dog Foods of 2023:
Go! Solutions Skin + Coat Care Shredded Chicken Recipe:
This wet food features protein sources of chicken, chicken and turkey broth, and chicken liver, along with wholesome ingredients like brown rice, carrots, peas, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin. With 48% protein, 28% fat, and 1.5% fiber, this 12.5-ounce carton contains 320 kcal, approximately 25.6 calories per ounce. It is an excellent option for dogs in need of skin and coat support.
Choosing the best dog food for your furry friend doesn't have to be a daunting task. By considering factors such as protein quality, nutrient content, and ingredient list, you can ensure your dog receives a well-balanced and nutritious diet. The recommended dry dog foods for 2023, along with their healthy extras, offer excellent options for your canine companion. Remember to prioritize your dog's specific needs, life stage, and health conditions while making your choice. Happy feeding