Dog Food and Nutrition – Choosing the Right Dog Food

With so many brands and types of dog food at the market, it might be a daunting task deciding on which type will be right for your dog. For example, a puppy requires different nutrients compared to an adult dog. A working dog has different nutritional needs than a lap dog.

Pet foods can be distinguished more generally based on criteria of cost, place of purchase, nutrient density (number of calories per pound) and, to a lesser degree, palatability and digestibility. Super premium, premium, and non-premium products can all offer 100% complete and balanced nutrition. The characteristics of products vary from one manufacturer to another.

Use this list to help decide which type of dog food is best for your pet:
• Specialty or super premium products generally are sold in pet specialty stores and veterinarian offices, carry higher prices, and are usually more energy dense, or have more calories per pound of food. Overfeeding with these products can lead to weight gain faster than products with a lower caloric value.
• Premium products are traditionally sold at grocery stores but also are available in pet specialty outlets. These types of products are moderately priced. They are generally lower in caloric value compared to super premium products. Check the label.
• Store brand products are pet foods sold under the store's name as opposed to a national brand name. These foods are designed to offer similar guarantees, ingredients, and performance to the nationally advertised brands at a lower price.
• Dry food has less moisture and more calories than wet food, so your dog requires less food in order to meet his or her nutritional needs.
• Canned (wet) food contains more water so it has less calories than dry food. Because canned foods contain more water, it may be difficult for large breed dogs to meet their energy needs before feeling full.
• Breed size food (large breed vs. small breed) contains nutrient (fat, protein, carbohydrate, minerals, etc.) levels that are appropriate for a specific breed size's metabolism and life stage. For example, some large breed puppy formulas are scientifically formulated to help large breed puppies grow at a normal rate to develop strong bones and joints. Some small breed formulas are developed to provide concentrated nutrition in small, bite-size kibbles that meet a small breed puppy’s high metabolic needs. Although some original puppy formulas are appropriate for puppies of all breed sizes and provide 100% complete and balanced nutrition, they are most appropriate for those puppies that will be neither very small nor very large at maturity.
• Puppy food is rich in nutrients, such as protein, and calories, which are necessary for growing puppies. These products contain appropriate levels of calcium and phosphorus to help support healthy bone and joint development.
• Adult food contains the appropriate levels of nutrients that adult dogs need. It is generally not appropriate for pregnant and lactating dogs.
• Senior food is specifically formulated for dogs over the age of 7. Senior dogs are not necessarily less active or overweight, but they do have different nutritional needs compared to adult dogs. Senior diets should contain increased protein levels to help maintain muscle mass and support a healthy immune system.
• Weight management food is generally high in protein and fiber and lower in calories and fat content compared to an adult maintenance food. The high protein levels help dogs lose fat and not muscle, while high fiber levels help dogs feel satisfied while losing weight.
• Performance food is specifically formulated for hardworking and highly active dogs.
• Homemade dog food runs the risk of containing too much fat for most dogs' needs. Diets high in fat could increase your dog's risk of obesity, high blood pressure, and an elevated heart rate.

 
 
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