The best dog food for your canine may not be the best for another dog of the same breed. The term "best" can come down not only to nutrition and ingredients, but to the options that your dog prefers as an individual. After all, the greatest dog food on earth is useless to the dog who will not eat it. Possible options include raw and natural foods, homemade meals, and traditional store-bought dry and canned foods.
Dry or Wet
Even the choice between good quality wet and dry options can depend on the specific needs of your animal. For example, pets with dental issues may not be able to chew and, thus, digest the best of the dry brands, and instead may have to go with canned foods unless and until their teeth improve. Like most of the canned foods that people eat, wet dog food often contains more salt and fat than dry. This can make a significant difference for dogs with digestive issues, or those who are overweight or have high blood pressure. Select the type of food that delivers the most of what your dog needs, while eliminating anything that may cause a potential problem in your individual case.
Raw and Natural
Raw foods often are heralded as the foods that your animal would eat in her natural habitat. Without humans, it is true that dogs would eat raw foods ranging from vegetable matter to prey animals. This does not mean that this option is better in any way from cooked foods, however. Humans also once ate only raw foods, but today we eat cooked foods and live far longer than we once did. Use this same approach for your dog and let logic fill in the blanks where good intentions may steer you wrong.
If you are not satisfied with store bought brands, and wish to have a tighter control over what your dog eats and why, consider making your dog's meals at home. You can make dog food out of the same ingredients that you make your own. This is the only way to know truly exactly what is being ingested by your pets, since you are in charge from start to finish. Of course this may not be the most practical or easy method to follow, since you will have to be available to cook the food on a daily basis and will not be able to travel with it in many cases. You also will need a veterinary nutrition guideline and a good knowledge of the nutrients available in food ingredients to ensure that the animal is getting what it needs to thrive.
Keep things age-specific when it comes to choosing a food for your dog. Most brands will recommend certain foods for certain ages of dog. These guidelines can help you ensure that your dog gets the nutrients she needs to keep her healthy in the current stage of life. For example, feeding your puppy the best rated brand of adult dog food on the planet still will not provide her with the nutrients she needs to grow and develop properly, while a lesser puppy-specific option would.
Robert Morello has an extensive travel, marketing and business background. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from Columbia University in 2002 and has worked in travel as a guide, corporate senior marketing and product manager and travel consultant/expert. Morello is a professional writer and adjunct professor of travel and tourism.