For us good health starts with what we eat, and it’s the same for dogs. But finding the right nutritional balance can be difficult, particularly if your pup has tricky dietary requirements.
Packaging can be confusing and even misleading, and the volume of choice and conflicting claims can leave you tired when trying to decipher the right food for your furbaby.
So, we wanted to write our own guide to choosing the best food for your dog.
Where do you start?
Think about the key things your pup needs in his diet:
The five basic nutrients your dog needs are:
It would be surprising to find a dog food label that didn’t contain these five things, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the right quality is there and that every food will fit the particular nutrition your dog needs.
Making sure you’re getting the best quality
Pet food labeling is often overwhelming with information, ingredients, and metrics. It can also, unfortunately, be extremely misleading. Pet food packaging is used as a marketing tool just as much as it is used to be informative – be aware of this.
Below are three pointers which will help educate you on some of the ways pet food packaging might be misleading you. Remember that the pet food industry doesn’t have to follow the same claim rules as those companies creating human food - this is key.
1. The first ingredient in the food label is the number one ingredient. ALL food manufacturers are obliged to list their ingredients in the order corresponding to their amounts. There is a big ‘but’ here, however.
Say a brand wants to make food that is 50% rice and 30% meat (it’s much cheaper this way), but they still want to list meat as the first ingredient, they can use two varieties of rice and list them separately e.g. 25% brown rice, 25% white rice, and 30% meat can be listed as ‘meat, brown rice, white rice’.
2. A ‘vet recommends’ claim is just as misleading, and is common in recent times. There are lots of vets out there and it’s logical that they’re not all equally qualified to assess the quality of pet food, so be sure not to take this as 100% truth. Do your own research into the ingredients to find out if they’re going to benefit your pup.
3. Increasingly pet parents are wanting to feed grain free diets. And the pet food industry has listened and created a lot of different options. However, the good intention to please consumers hasn’t necessarily translated into better food. A vast number of pet food brands haven’t increased their quality by removing grain from the foods, which is what you’d likely expect. Instead, they’ll switch grain for an unnecessary carb – keeping the cost low, but allowing them to make the grain free claim. The best way to avoid these foods is to look for specific terms on the pet food packaging such as WholePrey, Complete, and Whole meats, these foods have a higher meat content and are therefore a much more nutritious and palatable choice for your dog.
By now you’re probably wanting to know which brands you should consider, right?
At Pet’s Delight we sell premium pet food and all of our staff are well trained to advise you on the right choice for your dog depending on his age, breed, size, and health challenges. Rest assured if you call, email, or go into one of our seven shops, someone will be there to guide you.
Below are just some of our favourite dry foods, with the specific reasons why we like them. We’ve ranked them in price order based on their cost per day*, so you can find the right food in your price range.
Ziwipeak – AED 14.40 per day - Straight from the fields in New Zealand, Ziwipeak has a mission to handcraft the best nutrition for your pet to live a long and healthy life. With the biggest meat inclusions of any other pet food of over 96% fresh meat, organs, bone, and seafood, and with no grain you can’t get much better for your dog. The recipes have a high level of slow release metabolized energy, which means you can feed less and your dog will feel fuller and content for longer.
ORIJEN – AED 6.40 per day – Canadian brand ORIJEN is a grain free favourite of ours. It’s inspired by nature’s intended diet for dogs and has one of the highest fresh meat inclusions of any dry dog food. Following the Biologically Appropriate philosophy, this food is protein-rich (75-80% meat inclusions), carb-limited, and grain-free. Meaning it’s a good choice for the majority of dogs.
ACANA – AED 5.70 per day - Owned by the same company as ORIJEN, Champion, Acana follows the same principles but with slightly less meat inclusions of 40-65%, but still with no grains. ACANA foods, like ORIJEN, mimic the natural eating habits of your dog with high-protein and low-carbs. However, the lesser meat inclusions is reflected in the more affordable price.
Applaws – AED 5.70 per day - UK-made brand, Applaws, focusses on creating pet food that is 100% natural. Following the grain-free philosophy its dry food is Complete and a palatable option for your pup, with 75%-80% meat inclusion.
Pooch and Mutt – AED 5.10 - Our newest brand in this list, Pooch and Mutt is a popular UK-made, natural, PETA-approved, ethical, grain free pet food. Similar to some veterinary diets, Pooch and Mutt has tailored its foods, treats, and supplements for your dog’s specific needs. With foods such as Calm & Relaxed, Fresh Breath, Healthy Digestion, Move Easy, and Slim & Slender, you should be able to find the best match depending on your dogs needs and temperament. This food goes on average 24% further than a leading veterinary diet**, due to its healthy ingredients of 45% + meat and fish inclusions, your pup will be fuller with less, for longer.
Vitalin – AED 4.60 per day - A UK-made, super premium dog food at an affordable price, Vitalin proves that grain free and healthy doesn’t need to be expensive. In fact, this product is only around AED 1.50 a day more expensive than a world-leading supermarket brand which doesn’t contain anywhere close to the same nutritional value. This Complete dog food has been carefully formulated to be nutritionally balanced yet delicious with more than 20% meat inclusion.
*Based on feeding guidelines of the brand, 10kg dog, chicken-based food, small bag.
**Results may vary.