The Best dog food brands In 2020

Looking for the best dog food in 2020? You are not alone. I decided to conduct a test on the best foods available for your dog and sum it up all in this article.

In this article you will learn:

  • What dog foods are the best to buy
  • How to choose the right food for your breed
  • What to consider first
  • What to avoid
  • The different types of Foods
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The Best Dog Food In 2020

Editor’s PicksBrand
Best OverallWellness Complete Health Dog Food
Best Budget BuyDiamond Naturals Dry Dog Food
Best grain-FreeTaste of the Wild Wetlands Grain-Free Kibble
Best For Seniors Wellness Core Senior Dog Food
Best For PuppiesWellness Complete Health Puppy Food

Best Overall Dog food brand (editors choice): Wellness Complete Health Dry Dog Food

Best Overall Brand
Wellness Complete Health Adult Deboned Chicken & Oatmeal
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Five-star rated, Wellness Complete Health Dog Food is a dry, grain-inclusive dog food that derives a dominant animal protein source from a significant amount of named meat meals.

There is a fifty-one percent ratio of fat to meat protein. With twenty-nine percent protein content and fifteen percent of fat levels, the overall product line suggests a forty-eight percent carbohydrate content for the overall line of products. Chicken is the first ingredient in this kibble, followed by chicken-meal.

Wellness contains almost three hundred percent more protein compared to its fresher version. Gluten-free substitute for wheat flour, ground brown rice, is the third ingredient. Other ingredients include barley and peas.

Pros

  • First five ingredients include real food such as chicken meal, deboned chicken, peas, ground barley, and oatmeal
  • Various recipes include lam and barley, oatmeal and turkey, sweet potato, and whitefish so your pooch will never get bored
  • Large breed, puppy, and senior recipes cater to your dog’s changing needs

Cons

  • Costs a little bit higher than the average

Best Value: Diamond Naturals Dry Dog Food

Best Value
Diamond Naturals Dry Dog Food
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Diamond Naturals is known for its signature inclusions of many ingredients that usually found in dog food of a lesser-grade. These ingredients include vegetables, fruits, and berries.

Diamond is available in the formula chicken & brown rice. You can expect a level of protein ranges from twenty-three to twenty-six percent. From every selection, soy, wheat, and corn are absent.

It’s also enhanced with superfoods and probiotics, as with all products by Diamond Natural. In this blend, there is a pack of nutrients from quality ingredients that include coconut, carrots, spinach, and papaya.

There are only two sizes to choose from. You can get this brand of kibble in the forty-pound sack or the six-ounce pack. The smaller packs are perfect for sampling whether or not your dog loves his food. 

Pros

  • First five ingredients are lamb meal, white ground brown rice, pearled cracked barley, sorghum, and egg product
  • Very affordable
  • Includes recipes for large, small, puppy, senior, and adult breeds

Cons

  • Does not as many high protein ingredients as in other brands

Best Grain-Free: Taste of the Wild Wetlands Grain-Free Kibble

Best Grain-Free
Taste of the Wild Wetlands Grain-Free Kibble
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This recipe is grain-free with the first ingredient being real duck followed by other ingredients rich in protein including roasted turkey and quail.

Described as the diet nature intended for your canine companion, Taste of the Wild Wetlands Grain-Free Kibble includes sweet potatoes and peas that deliver energy easily digestible by all pups.

Real vegetables and fruits and the root of Dried chicory provide natural antioxidant support. Amino acid chelated minerals ensure maximum benefits and do optimize absorption. This does give your pooch balanced, complete nutrition with a taste of the wilderness your furkid will crave constantly.

Pros

  • High protein content for adult dog maintenance
  • Complete and balanced diet
  • Grain free dog foods is usually the best option for most breeds

Cons

  • Not for puppies because puppies require their own specific nutrition for their growing bodies

Best For Small Breeds: Taste of the Wild Appalachian Valley Small Breed Recipe

Best For Small Breeds
Taste of the Wild Appalachian Valley Small Breed Recipe
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I have tried many different types of kibble for smaller breeds, but find that the Taste of the Wild Appalachian Valley Small Breed Recipe takes the cake, so to speak.

Taste of the Wild Appalachian Valley Small Breed Recipe is highly digestible, making this brand extremely easy on your smaller breed’s teeth and tummy. Prebiotic fiber and probiotics help in supporting health and digestion. Along with ocean fish, duck, eggs, and lamb is roasted venison.

These provide the amino acid nutrition recommended for smaller breeds. Rich in fat and protein, this recipe gives active smaller pups the energy they need.

Pros

  • Grain-free and perfect for puppy maintenance

Cons

  • This brand costs a little bit higher than the average

Best For Large Dogs: Wellness Core Grain-Free Large Breed Dog Food

Best For Large Dogs
Wellness Core Grain-Free Large Breed Dog Food
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With higher levels of chondroitin, glucosamine, and protein, the ingredients of Wellness Core Grain-Free Large Breed kibble are all designed to cater specifically to the needs of larger dog breeds. Crated based on the theory that the primal ancestry of dogs thrives on a diet that is naturally composed of meat.

The protein-rich, grain-free dry pet food for large breeds is packed with nutritious super-foods and premium protein. Your dog is sure to thrive from the core, is their motto, and rightly so. Key ingredients include flaxseed, spinach, and chicken.

With each mouthful packed with nutrition, your large dog will not likely overeat, as his well-toned body will get proper nutrients from Wellness Core Grain-Free Large Breed kibble.

Pros

  • No fillers, pure meat, no preservatives, and artificial colors
  • Approved by the AAFCO for maintenance
  • Sufficient protein for large breeds

Cons

  • This brand costs a little bit higher than the average

Best Brand With Grain: Nature’s Logic Canine Duck And Salmon Meal

Best Brand With Grain
Nature'S Logic Dog Food Canine Meal Feast, Duck & Salmon
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The nutrient-dense and highly palatable Nature’s Logic Canine Duck And Salmon Meal is packed with vegetable and fruit concentrates.

Digestive enzymes coat each bite of kibble along with a protein plasma that contains natural minerals and vitamins in high levels as well as the proteins globulin and albumin. It features duck meat, which is high in protein, as its primary ingredient.

Knowing your dog is getting the best lets you rest easy. Made without the use of potatoes, soy, brown rice, corn, wheat, lentils, peas, chemically synthesized minerals, vitamins, carrageenan, trace nutrients, xanthan gum or guar gum is refreshing to see in the dog food world.

Pros

  • No artificial ingredients
  • 100% all-natural salmon ingredients
  • Includes enzymes and probiotics
  • kibble pieces are small enough for smaller breeds to chew

Cons

  • Some breeds will prefer grains 

Best Brand For Seniors: Wellness Core Senior Dog Food

Best Brand For Seniors
Wellness Core Senior Dog Food
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Wellness Core Senior Dog Food has added chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine hydrochloride to support the health of older dogs’ joints. Coat and skin health is supported by omega fatty acids.

Fortified with minerals and vitamins supporting a strong system of immunity, the recipes of Wellness Senior Dog Food are based on the philosophy that due to their ancestry, they prefer a primal diet based mostly on meat.

The protein-rich, grain-free dry dog food is perfect for more senior pups and does maintain their health so that they thrive in their old age. 

Pros

  • Low calorie, grain-free and 359 calories per cup
  • High protein and natural balance ingredients

Cons

  • Costs a little bit higher than the average

Best Brand For Puppies: Wellness Complete Health Puppy Dry Dog Food

Best Brand For Puppies
Wellness Complete Health Natural Dry Puppy Food
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Wellness Complete Health Puppy Food combines premium, natural protein, and wholesome whole grains delivering a diet balanced and filled with your canine’s required nutrients for lifelong well-being.

Each variety is made with balanced nutrients to optimize energy and antioxidants supporting a strong system of immunity.

The recipe includes ingredients such as tomatoes, which is an excellent source of vitamin C and the essential antioxidant carotenoid lycopene. Salmon oil supports eye and brain development and is a natural DHA source. Salmon is a natural vitamin source along with Omega Fatty acids. 

Pros

  • Designed for optimal growth
  • All puppies including larger breeds
  • natural balance Food with high protein

Cons

  • Not grain-free
  • Costs a little bit higher than the average

Best Vet-Recommended: Hill’s Science Diet Adult Large Breed Chicken And Barley Recipe Dry Dog Food

Best Vet-Recommended
Hill's Science Diet Dry Dog Food, Adult, Large Breed, Chicken & Barley Recipe
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Science Diet Adult Large Breed Chicken And Barley Recipe Dry Dog Food is formulated specially to fuel the needs of larger dog breeds during their prime. Easy to digest, high-quality ingredients also provide nutrition for lean muscles and joint health.

Carbs provide canines with energy and help in digesting. Look for barley, oats, peas, and brown rice. n the other hand veggies are not essential. That said, they can benefit from minerals and vitamins that vegetables can provide including the potassium source from sweet potatoes.

Other minerals and vitamins that sweet potatoes and other vegetables can provide include antioxidants, vitamin B, beta carotene, and potassium. Based on science, this diet is surprisingly what vets recommend the most. 

Pros

  • Balanced for larger dog breeds
  • Natural chondroitin and glucosamine
  • Good for sensitive stomach

Cons

  • First five ingredients are not all meat

Best For Weight Loss: Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula

Best For Weight Loss
Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Healthy Weight Dog Food - Chicken and Brown Rice
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Hands-down, the best dog food for weight loss is Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula. Their formula works really well to get your dog down to the right size and a healthy weight. The result is that your dog gets great muscle tone and increased satiety, among other benefits.

Good muscle tone will require protein in their diet to maintain organs, tissues, and healthy cells in their body. The only amino acid source living things need to repair tissues is protein. Canines need to have a lot of access to these amino acid building blocks of protein to function optimally.

Increased satiety is another result of feeding your dog appropriate dog food. Poor quality, low nutrition will result in less satiety and less-than-optimal health.

Pros

  • Affordable price
  • Uses animal protein from fresh chicken
  • Offers Free shipping

Cons

  • This brand is grain-inclusive

Best For Weight Gain: Bully Max High-Performance Supplement

Best For Weight Gain
Bully Max High-Performance Supplement
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After tons of trials and error, I have found that the best dog food for weight gain is Bully Max High-Performance Weight Gain. Whilst your dog will benefit from this recipe, check if they are within a healthy balanced weight first, as keeping things moderate in the fat arena may be the better choice.

On the other hand, malnourished, under-nourished, or dogs that have just recovered from an illness and are underweight will benefit from consuming Bully Max High-Performance Dog Food For Weight Gain.

This formula features 100% natural ingredients with no corn wheat or soy. No artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives and has Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids to help relieve dry skin.

Pros

  • High performance, highly-rated brands, and 535 kilocalories/cup

Cons

  • This recipe is not for overweight pups 
chicken food options

Buyers Guide: How to choose the right foods

Like me, if you are a crazy dog person, you may spend endless months, days, and hours searching for the dog food that is exactly right. It seems impossible to try to find food that is good quality, within your budget, AND a brand that your dog finds delicious.

I know that struggle of finding dog food more than you can possibly guess. Essentially, good food for your dog should not upset his system of digestion. There should be no upset stomachs.

A good brand should keep your dog’s coat shiny and smooth, give plenty of energy, and keep his eyes clear and bright. Of course, this is no easy feat! I broke down this complicated task to make it easier for you to find the perfect food for your pet.

Sweeteners

When it comes to dog food, sugar forms such as caramel, cane, and fructose, and glucose are utilized for enhancing the taste of the food in sufficient amounts. The taste system of canines is not unlike human beings. Most canine taste buds respond to sugar and love a fruity-sweet flavor.

When added in minimal adequate amounts, sweeteners in dog food do help the dog become attracted to the taste of the good nutrition contained in dog food.

From a manufacturer’s point of view, sugar is an easy method of improving the flavor of dog food. The best dog food features a great-tasting dog food that provides the most nutrition to your pets.

Texture

There are two dog food textures available in the market. For pet parents such as you and me, each type has benefits. Generally, pups that like grazing all day long do better with dry food.

On the other hand, more hydration is available to your pet in wet foods. This helps pups that live in hot climates and those that don’t drink sufficient amounts of water.

Wet food tends to taste more potent so your pet might like the taste and smell of beef and other meat. Other breeds might turn away from food that smells too strongly of meat and gravitates towards something like such as a vegetable or chicken dish.

To find out what flavor your furkid likes bets, try getting free samples from a local pet store or your vet. You can also buy single cans. Once you have figured out food that meets the needs of your pup and makes his taste buds happier, implements a nutrition routine- dry food at night and his favorite wet food in the morning.

It is important to stick to feeding your pup similar regimens as you try out new food no matter what feeding routine you use. Improper transitioning of food can lead to problems. Keep the same schedule, even while you experiment with different types of food to discover which one he likes the best.

Your dog will ultimately tell you whether he or she likes something or not. Just like you and me, dogs are finicky and won’t eat food they don’t like.

Calories

It is important not to assume how many calories your pets need in a day. To know what the right range is for your pooch, talk to your veterinarian. They will able to assess your pet’s lifestyle, body, and size to recommend how many calories your pets ought to consume each day.

Speak with your veterinarian to find out how much calories your pet needs. Each pet will need a varied amount of calories. Simple math can help you figure out how many calories your pets should consume.

Pets that are overweight at the moment and smaller pets will need to consume fewer than the standard range of calories. Other life events such as an illness, aging, or pregnancy affect the caloric needs of your dog as well.

When you have an extremely active dog that goes running with you daily, more calories will be required in his meal to make up for the exerted energy as you exercise. To sustain their daily efforts, larger breeds will also require more caloric intake.

Storage

Regardless of whether you decide to buy wet or dry dog food, remember to properly store the food. After every use, clean the dog dishes. I pay close attention to the way my dog reacts to various brands. Evaluate the label of the dog food for the nutrients your dog requires.

When you place close attention to the preferences of your dog and follow a proper meal routine, you will be able to find the food he loves eating and help him maintain his health year after year.

What should you consider before buying dog food?

When buying food for your pup, consider the ingredients, your dog’s health condition, grain content, shelf life, size and weight, and age of the dog before you jump in and purchase the most beautiful label in the dog food aisle. 

Ingredients

You and I both know that most brands of dog food claim to be the best. You will find brand after brand of various flavors and ingredients. Most dog owners though know how important the right ingredients are in dog food. Knowing the most beneficial ingredients in dog food will help you make the right choice.

For every brand, remember that each ingredient is listed by weight. Meat such as fish, chicken, beef, and poultry will most probably be listed at the top as these weigh more than the rest. Meat is the most important of all ingredients contained in dog food.

For most brands, the source of protein comes from venison, rabbit, fish, beef, or chicken. 

There are other sources of meat as well. Some labels may list protein from eggs. This is all well and good but make sure you see real meat listed and not just eggs. Another high source of protein is called meat-meal.

In a label, when I first saw the word meal, it threw me off and I assumed it wasn’t meat. However, it turns up that meat meal means ground up chicken meat. The chicken meat was dried and ground up before it was included in the dog food. Grains and carbohydrates should also be part of the list of ingredients. 

Everyone has heard about fats and the dangers involved. However, canines still need a certain amount of fat in their diet to aid in digestion and cellular function. These help your little one absorb vitamins and provide energy, as well as keeping their coat shiny and healthy.

High-quality fat such as olive oil, chicken fat, canola oil, fish oil, Omega 6, and Omega 3 will all be beneficial to your hound. Vegetables help with the immune system, digestion, and metabolism. Look for ingredients such as beta carotene, thiamin, riboflavin, pyridoxine, and biotin.

Health condition of your dog

The health condition of your dog will affect the pet food you buy. For example, senior canines will require specific nutrition and vitamin content compared to puppies. Overweight canines, underweight canines as well as pregnant dogs will affect the dog food brand you buy. Like me, you probably want the absolute best for your pooch.

This starts by keeping them as happy and healthy as possible. Keep your four-legged pal in top shape by giving him the appropriate food and making sure that he or she is not going through any health issues.

Check with local veterinarians if you notice any allergy-like symptoms on your dog.

Grain-free

A protein found in grains and wheat, gluten is contained in grains that include oats, barley, rye, and wheat if these go through the same processing as other foods containing gluten. It is important, however, to realize that there is such a thing as gluten-free grains. Some natural sources that are free of gluten include mullet, amaranth, brown rice, quinoa, and corn.

Check your dog’s food label to see what source of gluten is used. Potential gluten sensitivity in dogs includes constant licking of paws or chewing, itchy, red paws, chronic ear infections, weight loss, frequent diarrhea, and a poor, dull coat.

If your dog shows these symptoms, switch to a dog food brand that has no gluten, and see if there are any improvements in your dog’s health. Make a health appointment with your vet to find the root causes if symptoms persist.

Storage & shelf life

Don’t ignore storage and shelf life when it becomes time to go dog-food shopping. A sack of dog food in my house doesn’t last very long, but it does last more than a week. Remember to find a variety of dog food that has an appropriate shelf-life so that you don’t end up feeding your dog expired food.

Canned or dry, most dog food is made to last for a specific period of time. Dog foods that are commercially available may have lengthy self lives but still, these won’t last forever. When stored improperly, dog food can go rancid or get spoiled.

Store canned dog food unopened in a dry, cool place. Once open, dog food in cans can be stored in the refrigerator. Dry dog food can be stored in bins. Store dry dog food in an airtight bin or in its original bag. This prevents the fat content to begin oxidizing.

Unopened pet food has a shelf life of around twelve to eighteen months. Canned foods that are unopened are good for around twenty-four months from the manufacturing date.

Look at the bottom of the dog food cans or bags to check the date of expiry. Make sure you plan ahead and use the food before the indicated dates. On the bag, the date stamped indicates how long food will remain okay to eat before being opened.

Once open, moisture and air have a chance to enter, causing degradation of the dogfood. Use open dog food within two weeks to be safe.

Size and weight of your dog

Giving the right amount of food to your dog is key to a long, healthy life. When it comes to how much to feed your dog, this will depend on how much they weight and what breed they are. Smaller breeds will need less food and larger breeds will eat more.

Large breeds such as golden retrievers, Labrador retrievers, and collies weigh around 50-75lbs and will require 2.5 cups of dry food daily. Medium-sized breeds of weight around 25-50lbs and will eat 1-2 cups daily.

Poodles and other small breeds such as Pekingese and Scottish terriers weigh between 10-25lbs and will eat up to one cup of food per day. Toy breeds such as teacup pups that weigh less than 10lbs will eat up to 3/4 cups of food per day.

Age of dog

The age of your dog will affect what kind of food you buy him. It is important to choose the appropriate pet food for your pooch. Make sure your pet food includes an AAFCO statement indicating that the food has been tested to meet nutritional guidelines.

AAFCO stands for the Association of American Feed Control Officials. Switch from puppy food to adult dog food when your pooch is around two years old. Giant breeds take longer to become adults and so talk to your vet about what food to get your giant breed and at what age to do the transition.

What to avoid when buying dog food 

When buying dog food, avoid the brands that have:

  • Low natural ingredient
  • Fat content
  • Corn
  • Wheat
  • Soy
  • Grains
  • Garlic

Low Natural Ingredients

In order for your dog’s health to thrive, he must consume food with high natural ingredients. All living things need to eat food designed for them. When not appropriately fed, some species die. Like humans, dogs can eat many things and are resilient enough to stay alive even when they eat food they are not supposed to eat.

Processed food is food that has gone through high processing with heat that kills harmful pathogens. One processing method is called rendering, which sanitizes plants and animal products so they can be eaten. The problem with processing food is that the high heat also kills nutrients.

In addition to synthetic nutrients, flavor enhancers are added to replace what was lost with heat. This can produce processed food by-products including carcinogens like acrylamide, which could affect the long-term health of your food.

Fat Content

Fat happens to be one of the topics I discuss most with other pet owners and vets. Though beneficial to some types of dogs, most dogs that consume a diet with high-fat content can develop pancreatitis.

This is especially true in dogs that are not used to eating high-fat content foods and are suddenly switched to a high-fat content diet. Ask your vet how much fat content should be in your dog’s diet. 

Low energy, overweight dogs will not benefit from a high-fat diet either. Some dogs get diarrhea, diabetes, gastrointestinal issues, or high blood fat levels from a higher fat diet.

Even if a high-fat meal may taste good to your dog and can be beneficial for more active dogs including military dogs, police dogs, sled dogs, nursing/pregnant dogs, or hunting dogs, this may not be the choice for your own pooch.

Corn

Corn has gotten a pretty bad rap when it comes to dog food and is something you want to avoid. In general, grains are something I personally avoid when I feed my pets. The reason is that even if corn won’t kill your furbaby, it is not the easiest thing for him to digest.

The body of canines is not able to properly process corn. This starchy ingredient is a cheap filler and serves hardly any value nutritionally. Some attest to joint swelling, allergies, and bloating that may have stemmed from the aflatoxin-contaminated corn in dog food.

Fungi or mold toxins called mycotoxins sometimes contaminate corn that is used as a dog food ingredient. It is not unlike giving corn syrup to your child. You may notice hyperactivity, energy dips, and swells and a hard time focusing on your otherwise focused, relaxed dog.

High corn content also inhibits brain serotonin. The important chemical serotonin reduces anxiety and stress. As a general rule, I don’t think it is a good idea to include corn as an ingredient in your dog food and you shouldn’t, either.

Wheat

Though wheat can help to keep digestive activities regular in dogs, some dogs may have a wheat allergy. This causes symptoms of itchy feet, legs, ears, and face. Hair loss and chronic ear infections, as well as infections in the skin, could be the result.

More serious health conditions could result if these symptoms are left unchecked. Check with your vet and the dog food label to see if this could be the culprit if you see your dogs developing new symptoms that were not there before.

Soy

Dog food containing soy has large quantities of phytoestrogens which can affect your pet biologically. Deadly bloat and gas are linked to soy, which is high in purines and is thus not a good protein source for dogs that are urate-forming.

High pesticide levels can be present in soy and these contain large anti-nutrient quantities.

Chronic amino acid uptake deficiencies reduced digestion of protein, and gastric distress in your pets can be the result. In dogs, soy is associated with hypothyroidism. If you find a bag of dog food with soy listed as one of the ingredients, take it back to the store and get your money back.

For those looking for a good protein source for your pet, use meat rather than soy.

Grains

In the dog food world, to me, it almost seems as if the grain has evolved to become a five-letter word. The truth is that dogs can digest grains and should have no problem with a little bit of wheat-content in their dog food. The problem arises when high animal protein gets a wheat substitute.

Keep in mind that wheat and corn are the top two ingredients known to give dogs food sensitivities.

Some dog food makers use wheat and corn to substitute animal protein. This could cause inflammation issues in your dog. For example, my friend in the United Kingdom has reported that his Irish Setter is predisposed to a condition similar to celiac disease called gluten-sensitive enteropathy.

Grains in appropriate amounts should not be an issue. However, they should be used properly as carbohydrates and not as a poor substitute for protein. Grains in appropriate amounts should not be an issue. However, they should be used properly as carbohydrates and not as a poor substitute for protein.

Garlic

You shouldn’t be afraid to see garlic as part of the list of ingredients on the label of dog food. However, you need to avoid feeding garlic to your dog. The members of the group of plants including chives, shallots, leeks, onions, and garlic contain the disulfide N-propyl compound.

This causes hemoglobin damage in dogs, so oxygen can’t be carried to red blood cells. Feed your dog only completely prepared garlic and not raw garlic.

limited ingredient sweet potato in bowl

Different Types of Dog foods Explained

Let’s get into the different types of foods you’ll need to familiarize yourself with before buying. 

Dry

Also known as kibble, dry food is a more economical commercial-type food for dogs. This is why most parents select this for their pets. Kibble or dry dog food does last longer than wet food and won’t need refrigeration.

Food that contains no moisture helps in keeping the teeth of your dog healthy since chewing dry, crunchy food helps in reducing the buildup of tartar. When it comes to selecting dry food, carefully read the specific ingredients. Select a brand with primary ingredients consisting of wholesome foods.

Canned (wet)

Wet or canned dog food is something that most dogs love. It has a longer shelf life and is not hard to find in any grocery store. However, it does cost a little bit more than dry food. For me and most of the pet parents I know, however, it is worth the purchase.

The thing to remember is that not every canned food commercially available provides the needed protein of your puppy.

Truly the question is how much digestible proteins each can provide. If you buy canned food that contains a protein that is indigestible, all this does is pass through the system of your pooch without getting broken down into micro-nutrients his little body can use.

Thus, indigestible proteins are useless.

Remember that each dog food that is canned contains about seventy-five percent water. The higher content of water there is less nutritional content. What this translates to is that your dog will need to consume more cans to meet basic nutritional requirements.

If you do decide to use canned food for feeding your dog, get the kind that is labeled one hundred percent complete nutritionally.

Natural (homemade)

Homemade, natural, or home-cooked dog food allows owners to know exactly what their dog eats daily. A homemade, natural home-cooked meal enables you to know exactly what your dog is eating and to meet all his or her nutritional needs.

If you do decide to start cooking your own dog food, it is a good idea to learn exactly which nutrients will be best for your dog so that you can be sure that you are cooking the perfect recipes.

Freeze-dried

Fairly new on the scene, freeze-dried dog food is composed of protein such as meat with an occasional mix of vegetables and fruits. These raw ingredients are processed minimally. Creating categorically freeze-dried dog food is a process of many steps that involve the use of a machine for freeze-drying.

First, the food is frozen quickly in low temperatures.

This turns the moisture in the food to ice. It preserves the nutritional status of the food. Next, to remove the air pressure from within, a vacuum pump is used. This turns the ice into water vapor. Which is called the ‘sublimation step‘. It removes all of the moisture from the food and takes more than a few days.

The food is then prevented from spoiling and is packaged in airtight containers. Many dog foods that have gone through the freeze-drying process look like traditional dry dog food or kibble.

Although freeze-drying food may sound the same as dehydrated dog food, the difference is that the moisture removed from dehydrated food is about ninety-five percent, and in freeze-dried food is ninety-nine percent.

Plus, making food dehydrated does not require food to go through the freezing process that freeze-dried food does.

The benefits of freeze-drying food are that the nutrients become locked into place. Also, because it is almost one hundred percent moisture-free, freeze-dried dog food has a longer shelf life as long as the pack is tightly sealed.

This makes it very convenient for you and your dog, particularly when you are traveling.

You are not required to add water before your dog can eat it. instead it’s is easy to digest and quite palatable to say the least. Some sites claim that dog food that has gone through the freeze-drying process gives your dog higher levels of energy, better digestion, and improved skin coats. Raw food has the same claims.

However, I have yet to find evidence of these claims.

Finicky pooches may not like the taste. It can be mushy to re-hydrated the food. Some freeze-dried food can be higher in fat. Most are expensive. The food that has gone through the freeze-drying process is raw and if there was no step to kill harmful bacterial, there is potentially the risk of developing diseases.

Ask your vet about the safety and benefits of freeze-dried food for your dog, as it is, as I mentioned earlier, still new on the consumer scene.

Dehydrated

Dehydrated dog food is food that has the same consistency as freeze-dried food and is processed minimally. The method of cooking dehydrated pet food is for the sole purpose of preserving and maximizing each ingredient’s nutritional value.

Low temperature is used for cooking the raw, wholesome ingredients to remove moisture without compromising natural enzymes and nutrition. Typically, dehydration involves a lesser-degree of heating. Most of the moisture evaporates and dangerous microorganisms and pathogens are removed by the process of cooking.

This is a better option ensuring that you are feeding your pooch healthy, safe food. It is both easy to prepare and convenient to store. It also involves less preparation than regular homemade food. With hardly any moisture, dehydrated food does not easily spoil.

This means that without any preservatives, this food can still enjoy a longer shelf life. All you need to do is add water before feeding this to your pet. You get added moisture, texture, and taste without the extra processing of canned food, in essence.

Frozen

Frozen dog food has gained in popularity for various reasons. Frozen dog food is food that has been put through the freezing process. Remember, freezing is a technique for food storage. Freezing results in a higher content of nutrition and reduced food processing.

There are cooked and raw frozen food and these come in various textures and nutritional formulation. It has similar ingredients to kibble such as fruits, vegetables, and meat but in this case, the frozen meat is cooked. Some frozen dog food fans say it is almost like the Paleolithic diet for dogs.

The bottom line is that you get the full nutritional value compared to processed food, and you can keep this in the fridge longer.

Frequently Asked Questions

Now its time to answer your questions. There are a few things that you may have felt we didn’t cover in this article… So to ensure we touch base on just about everything there is to know, I decided to answer a few quick questions to make sure that no stone is left unturned. 

Is Grain Free Dog Food Really Better?

When I started questioning the purpose that grains play in my diet, I started questioning their role in the food of my dog, too. Any dog food made without brown rice, corn, wheat, and other grains is considered free of grains. For energy, dogs will still need carbs, though.

For dog food with no grain, alternate carb sources like pea flour and potato flour are used. Grain-free dog food is not necessarily better for your dog than regular dog food. The reason is that it is uncommon to find grain allergies in canines.

Grain-free does not mean low-carb, either. Your grain-free dog food could be loaded with peas and potatoes that can cause unintentional weight gain in unsuspecting dog owners.

Depending on the health and genetic make-up of your pooch, he may or may not benefit from a grain-free diet. Work with your veterinarian to find out whether your dog will benefit from a grain-free diet. However, grain-free dog food is not necessarily better.

What dog foods are causing heart problems?

A heightened risk of canine heart failure may be associated with sixteen dog food brands. This is according to the FDA which stands for the Food and Drug Administration. Of course, the FDA is not suggesting that dog parents stop feeding their pups’ certain brands but some vets do already advise against food labeled grain-free.

Dog food marked grain-free may be related to dilated canine cardiomyopathy. Dog food based on potatoes, lentils, and peas may not be good for your dog based on this report. 

Is canned food 100% good for my dog?

Depending on the type of food your dog loves to eat, you can give them canned or dry food. Wet canned food is an excellent source of meals that are already hydrated.

This saves you from extra work of having to add water to the food. It also hydrates your dog so you don’t have to worry whether or not your dog had a sip of water today. Building your dog’s appetite before each meal will also help him finish all his food.

The only issue that crops up when it comes to canned food is that it can cause tooth decay and bad breath if the food has stayed too long in the can. Most people are familiar with the smell that canned people food tends to have. It is the same with dog food.

There may also be higher BPA levels with canned dog food. These are associated with hormonal and reproductive diseases in humans. There has been no studies carried out on canines yet, however, opting for non-canned food may be the better option to go for. 

As an ingredient, why is chocolate toxic to dogs?

Rarely fatal, chocolate is still toxic to dogs. Ingestion of chocolate in dogs can result in severe illnesses. The reason that chocolate is toxic is due to the caffeine and theobromine chemical it contains. This toxin is predominant in chocolate and is not unlike caffeine.

Medicinally, both of these chemicals act as a diuretic. However, dogs are unable to metabolize caffeine and theobromine the way people can. The more bitter, darker chocolate has higher theobromine amounts than the lighter, milkier types.

Take your dog to the vet immediately if your furkid has consumed any chocolate.

Here are the list of brands associated with cases linked to dilated cardiomyopathy:

  • Rachael Ray Nutrish
  • Nutro
  • NutriSource
  • Nature’s Variety
  • Orijen
  • Natural Balance
  • California Natural
  • Merrick
  • Fromm
  • Nature’s Domain
  • Blue Buffalo
  • Earthborn Holistic
  • 4Health
  • Taste of the Wild
  • Zignature
  • Acana

Conclusion

That wraps it for the best dog foods to buy in 2020. We covered large breed adult food, vetenerains recommended foods, buffalo life protection formula, hill s science diet, Purina pro plan, best dry dog foods, and much more. Be sure to read up more on the salmon whole grain and grain-free foods for more info.

Test different kibble, see the results… Just be careful with sensitive stomachs. High proteins are usually the best way to go, chick meal is good too, and see what your local veterinarians advise.

About Jennifer Cosculluela

49596cd2b2e81482a5e96ae0fc5ce6f3?s=90&d=mm&r=gJennifer Cosculluela graduated magna cum laude in Marketing from the State University of New York's F.I.T and was a Presidential Scholar, specializing in Shakespearean Studies. She also has an AB Psychology Degree from De La Salle University Bacolod and when not writing, loves to spend time with her daughter Margarita and bake cookies and lasagna for her loving husband Sebastian.

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