How Do You Choose the Best Dog Food?

High Quality Dog Food

According to the Washington Post, 

“Americans spend about $75 billion annually on their pets, covering food, toys, clothing, and veterinary care. The typical dog owner can expect to pour well over $10,000 into the care, feeding, and entertainment of their pet over its lifetime.”

Pet parents are always asking what they should feed and what does a high-quality diet look like for their dogs. So much so, that “best dog food” is one of the most searched dog food key terms on Google and our staff gets asked this question over and over again. It’s also one of our favorite questions to answer!

Is the best dog food dry or wet? Should meat make up the majority of their diet? What if you have a puppy? There are so many questions. We’ll try and clear some of this up for you. 

How to choose a high-quality kibble? 

The American Kennel Club tells us that the best dog food will contain meat, vegetables, grains, and fruits. 

“The best dog foods contain high-quality versions of these ingredients that are appropriate for your dog’s digestive system.”

We believe that every dog is an individual and their diet will reflect who they are. For example, my two dogs have GI issues so we feed them a kibble that addresses the digestive system. With that in mind, we also add a whole food topper to each meal. 

If you’re having trouble deciding what to feed your dog, our staff recommends the following brands for small and large breeds. Large breeds have different nutrition requirements than small breeds so we provide a large range of brands.  

Below is an additional section with recommendations for whole food toppers. These will supplement some of the ingredients that kibble doesn’t’ have. Kibble often includes low-quality ingredients like meat by-products, sweeteners, and preservatives. They’re also typically carb-heavy. That said, the dry food we recommend below does not fall in this ‘low-quality’ category as each of these brands has high-quality ingredients that we’re confident our dogs benefit from.

Whole Dog Journal reminds us in their article about the best dog food that a mix of different food types for greater variety is the best ‘diet.’

Homemade dog food is a wonderful option if this is something you have time for! 

Kibble for large breeds 

  • Fromm
  • First Mate
  • Open Farm
  • NOW! By Petcurean

Kibble for small breeds 

  • Zignature
  • NOW! By Petcurean 
  • First Mates 

What about whole food toppers?

This is one of our favorite topics. We like to rotate these whole food toppers with each meal. I use canned pumpkin and Green Juju (a veggie mash) with meals. 

Here are a few examples. 

  • Organic chicken hearts: A healthy array of organ meat (heart, liver, kidneys) is a great addition to your dog’s meals. 
  • Green JuJu: My dogs LOVE this veggie mash. The ingredients include organic celery, organic zucchini, organic kale, organic dandelion greens, organic parsley, bison bone broth, organic coconut oil, organic lemon, organic turmeric, and organic ginger. You can smell the ginger!
  • Goat’s milk: This is a great way to get picky eaters to gobble up kibble but also a wonderful supplement for their meals. Start with a conservative amount. 
  • Freeze-dried raw dog food products: Wonderful as a topper! 
    • Northwest Naturals
    • K9 Naturals
    • Rawbble
    • Open Farm

“When rehydrated, these foods are highly palatable to most dogs. It may be due to the concentration of flavor in freeze-dried food ingredients or their minimal processing. Dogs with poor appetites (like very senior or chronically ill dogs) may accept these foods when nothing else appeals,” Nancy Kerns, WDJ. 

These are raw dog food products so make sure you talk to our staff about the best brands. Some people just refer to these as ‘protein toppers’ and adding protein to your dog’s meals is a wonderful way to round out their meals. 

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to talk to our staff about the kibble that’s best for your dog as well as the toppers.