Which dog food is best for my dog?

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Christian Sadler

Veterinary Surgeon and co-founder of Tatton Veterinary Practice

Which dog food is best for my dog?

Deciding on which food is best for your furry friend can be daunting and full of obstacles, every owner wants to know they are doing the best thing for their pet but where do you start when it comes to food?

First thing to say is there is no single food that will suit every dog, in the same way every person will have different nutritional needs based on; exercise, age, health conditions etc.

Below is some information on the popular forms of foods that are available and commonly asked questions to help you make an informed decision.

Traditional dog food (ie dry kibble or tinned dog food)

  • Can my dog live on just dry food/kibble?
    • If it is a complete and balanced form then yes, there is often the misconception that things need to be added to dry food to make it healthier for your dog however these added calories, if they are not required, can contribute to health conditions such as obesity.
  • Do dogs like dog food or do they get bored of it?
    • Many dogs are happy to continue to eat dry food their whole life however some like more of a variety.
    • You could try adding warm water to your dry food to entice your pet to eat or warming it gently in the microwave for 30 seconds.
    • There are also often a variety of flavours available for any particular brand so try to keep as consistent as possible.

Grain free diets

  • Is grain bad for my dog/cat?
    • The vast majority of dogs/cats do not have an intolerance to grain, food intolerances are found in less than 1% of all cats and dogs and only a small portion of that 1% is caused by Gluten/grain (specifically wheat gluten) intolerances. If you think your dog/cat is having a reaction to food then speak to our veterinarians.
  • Why is grain added to dog food?
    • Similar to in people, grain is used as a carbohydrate source in a balanced diet to give the energy requirement that will be released slowly throughout the day.
    • Grain free diets will often replace this carbohydrate source with another, such as potato.

Raw food diets

  • What is raw food?
    • Any food containing a form of protein (such as meat or animal product) that has not been processed i.e cooked.
  • Is raw food better for my dog/cat?
    • Currently there is no scientific evidence to confirm that food being raw (ie not processed or cooked) is healthier for dogs or cats. This is under continuous review and please contact us so our veterinarians can discuss this further.
  • Is it safe to feed raw food to my dog?
    • If handled correctly, from a good quality source and has been tested to prove that it is a complete diet nutritionally then it can be used as a long term diet for your pet.
    • It must be known that feeding raw meat does have some risks for both yourself and your pet. We cook/process meat for human consumption in order to reduce the amount of infectious bacteria that may be present on/within the meat. Without this step there is likely to be an increased number of infectious bacteria present in the mouth and coat of your pet.
    • Freezing of raw food can kill a number of parasites that can often be found in raw food however it is not effective at killing bacteria that may be present in the diet.
    • If you are considering a raw food diet for pet we encourage you to speak to one of our veterinarians to make sure it is as safe and nutritious as possible

Home cooked diets

  • Can anyone do it?
    • Yes and no. Sure, cooking for your pet can be really rewarding and it can reinforce your bond. However, we just need to be mindful of their dietary needs and what they can and can’t eat! Dogs and cats have different requirements and we need to make sure their diets are “complete”. This means they have all the nutrients they need to live a happy long life, without having deficiencies which can be caused by poor diets.
  • What does it need to contain?
    • The list is very long and can vary considerably between individual, give us a call and we can put you in touch with some great canine and feline nutritionists who can walk you through exactly how to make the best food for your pet. We warn you, it’s only a matter of time until your pet starts eating better than you…!
  • Are there alternatives?
    • There are! So don’t worry, if the idea of feeding your dog or cat natural, home cooked food sounds great but you simply don’t have the time or want the hassle of thinking about exactly what is required give us a call. We work closely with a few companies that make complete dog and cat food for you, naturally made and all home-cooked! Get in touch with us if you would like to organise a trial.
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