With hundreds of dog food brands in the market, it's very hard to tell which one is good and which one is bad (and there are bad ones so pay close attention to this post). It's extremely important that you feed your best friend food of quality even if it ends up costing you a few more dollars every month or you can expect to pay a lot more in the future when you go to the vet. Bad ingredients = Poor health, simple.
In this post we are going to be upfront about quality vs. price. IMPORTANT: These companies did not pay or sponsor us, we are simply informing you. You make the ultimate decision.
Things to avoid in dog food:
- ANIMAL DIGEST: Unspecified parts of unspecified animals which are cooked to a goopy broth (rendered) and used as a spray-on or added directly to the food. The grease that rises to the top is used as a source of fat and the rest of the mash is dried and used as “meat meal”. There is no quality control and this can be a variety mix of dead, diseased, disabled, or dying prior to slaughter, goats, pigs, horses, rats or road kill.
- "By Products" - Means the internal remains of an animal not including the muscle meat, often times including diseased tissues, organs and tumors.
Also, try to eliminate
- Ethoxyquin - Used as a 'preservative' but it's really a herbicide, which means it's a toxic substance used to kill unwanted vegetation. Has been associated with the development of chronic diseases, liver and kidney damage, blindness and leukemia in dogs.
- Prophylene Glycol - Found in "anti-freeze." Reduces moisture and prevents bacteria growth, killing both bad and good bacteria needed for digestion.
- BHT/BHA - Dangerous preservatives used to reduce food spoiling. Responsible for kidney damage and has been linked with chronic diseases in both dogs and humans.
Other dog foods you should definitely avoid:
- Corn/Corn Syrup - Used as a sweetener, leads to weight gain and diabetes. Corn has no nutritional value, they use it to make production cheaper and overtime develops mold and fungus which can be fatal.
- Salt: Causes bloat in dogs if consumed in high doses.
- Beet Pulp: Pure sugar filler — leads to weight gain, hyperactivity and feeds arthritis.
- WHEAT FLOUR: Wheat is the leading cause of dog allergies. No nutritional value comes from wheat flour. Companies manufacture the fine particles of wheat bran, wheat germ, and the offal from the “tail of the mill.” “Tail of the mill” means the floor sweepings of leftovers in the mill after everything has been processed from the wheat!.
- High Fructose Corn Syrup: A sweetener made from corn starch that has been processed by glucose isomerase to convert some of its glucose into fructose
Best Dog Foods
If you are looking for the best, healthiest, top-of-the-line food, then you are looking at homemade food. It's hard to beat a homemade meal where you have full control over each ingredient. It is fresh and high quality. However, many of us don't have the time to commit. Or maybe, we don't know the portions needed to make a complete diet. Here are our next best options.
Raw Food - Nutrients will be in the purest form and all ingredients are fresh. BUT must be constantly bought or kept frozen, not convenient for travel and the cost per lb. is high.
- Stella & Chewy Frozen Raw - Avg. price = $6.02/lb.
- Nature's Logic Raw Frozen - Avg. price = $7.5/lb.
- Primal Raw Frozen - Avg. price = $8.0/lb.
Freeze-dried Food- Ideal for those looking to feed raw-like food but don't want to deal with the freezing then freeze-dried is a great option as you can store it anywhere. BUT cost per lb/ is high.
- Orijen Freeze-dried - Avg. price = $33.99/lb.
- Stella & Chewy Freeze-dried - Avg. price = $32.05/lb.
- Primal Freeze-dried - Avg. price = $30.41/lb.
- Wysong Freeze-dried - Avg. price = $37.10/lb.
- K9 Natural Freeze-dried - Avg. price = $27.50/lb.
- Steward Raw Naturals - Avg. price = $36.61/lb.
Dehydrated Food - Offers a complete diet, lasts longer than raw or homemade, provides nutrients in a pure form and has a minor process than dry food. BUT takes about 2 mins. to prepare and needs a water source and the cost per lb. is higher than dry but lower than raw food.
- The Honest Kitchen Dehydrated - Avg. price = $8.28/lb
- Lucky Dog Cuisine - Avg. price = $5.00/lb
Wet Food - Provides a complete diet, has moisture content and is easy for dogs to digest. BUT it's perishable and can lead to plaque build up.
- Earthborn - Avg. price = $4.79/lb.
- Eagle Pack - Avg. price = $2.50/lb.
- Fromm - Avg. price = $5.10/lb.
- Addiction - Avg. price = $4.78/lb.
- NutriSource - Avg. price = $2.08/lb.
Dry Food - Help dogs having a complete diet, easy to travel, lasts long, large variety to choose from and it comes ready to eat. BUT contains proceeded elements, filers, preservatives and ingredients aren't fresh.
- Orijen - Avg. price = $2.80/lb.
- Acana - Avg. price = $2.67/lb.
- Eagle Pack - Avg. price - $1.19/lb
- Fromm - Avg. price - $1.72/lb
- Nature's Logic - Avg. price - $2.49/lb
- Pinnacle - Avg. price - $2.03/lb
- Hi-tek Naturals - Avg. price - $1.59/lb.
How to calculate my pet's food consumption and cost?
- Check your the caloric content of your dog foods (KCAL/KG) in the back of the package above the ingredients. Ranges from 3,500 to 4,500.
- Find your dog's ideal food calculator here. Enter your dog's weight, activity level and calories per serving (the number you found on Step 1.). *Select Kcal/Kg*
- Identify how many kg. you should feed your dog per day and change it to lbs. here. *THIS IS YOUR DOGS DAILY CONSUMPTION IN KG. or LBS.*
- To calculate the cost simply multiply your dog's daily consumption in lb. times the avg. price per lb. *THIS IS YOUR DOG'S DAILY FOOD COST, multiply times 30 days for monthly cost.*
Why is my dog's food not in "Best Foods for Dogs" list?
- Ingredients didn't meet the qualifications, because primary ingredient was not meat of any kind, or it had Products containing corn, soy, wheat, grain, flour, beet pulp, sugar.
- Brands that had recalls, ingredient sources, negative history or bad customer satisfaction.
- Best ratio of protein, carb and fats, as well as the source of protein.
Worse Dog Foods
- BENEFUL original Purina - Contains wheat flour
- Purina Dog Chow - Contains animal digest and poultry by-product meal
- Veterinary Diets from Purina - Contains animal digest and BHA
- Kibbles n' Bits - Contains animal digest, salt, BHA and wheat flour.
- Ol' Roy - Contains high fructose corn syrup, ground yellow corn, animal digest, BHA and wheat flour.
- Pedigree - Contains ground yellow corn.
- IAMS - Contains beet pulp, salt and ground yellow corn.
- Purina Alpo - Contains animal digest, ground yellow corn and salt.
- Kal Kan - Contains BHA, ground yellow corn and salt.
- Gravy Train - Contains animal digest, ground yellow corn and salt.
*Avoid any foods related with any the brands mentioned above. Ex: PURINA uses a number of names and/or marketing strategies to sell the same poor quality product.
Keep in mind your dog only needs nutritional food and water , if there is lack of it, he/she will reflect it in poor health.
We hope this post has been helpful, if you have any questions please feel free to contact u