- Are you providing the correct commercial dog food to your beloved pooch?
- What to look for when you are deciding on the food to give your pooch?
- Does your dog’s meal plan satisfy his energy and nutritional requirements?
- Are you confused about which commercial dog diet is right for your dog?
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I absolutely agree with this quote. It holds true not only for us but also for our beloved dogs. The correct nutrition can make a world of difference to their behavior and health.
What makes up a complete commercial dog food?
A complete dog diet must fulfil all the nutritional requirements for a dog to stay healthy. No additional diet should be needed to complete the nutritional requirement of the dog’s proper growth and health.
The history of commercial dog food
What are the different types of commercial dog food?
Commercial dog diets don’t come in diverse shapes, sizes and flavors like human food. However, there are certain varieties to choose from. Let’s have a look at the different kinds of commercially available dog food:
- Kibbles/Dry food
- Canned commercial dog food
- Semi moist
- Home cooked
- Raw food
1. KIBBLES or DRY COMMERCIAL DOG FOOD:
ADVANTAGES of DRY DOG FOOD:
- Most economical
- Widely available
- Long shelf life
- Chewing on kibble, reduces tartar build-up and keeps teeth healthy
DISADVANTAGES of DRY DOG FOOD:
- Less palatable than canned or soft-moist food
- Only dry ingredients are used in their formulation. Drying reduces the nutrition factor of the ingredients.
- Have the lowest amount of essential fatty acids.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR when buying DRY DOG FOOD?
- If you are buying dry dog food for your dog (from a US based company), make sure it is of high quality and meets the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) standards.
- The ingredients are listed in descending order in the label, from the ingredient present in the maximum quantity to the one present in lowest quantity.
- Check for the name of the meat used. Don’t go for “meat meal”. The kind of meat used should be specified.
- Should have an expiry date or a best by date which is at least six months away from the time when you are buying the product.
2. CANNED COMMERCIAL DOG FOOD:
Fresh and frozen meats are assembled and then ground into tiny pieces in large batches. Post grinding, the meat is mixed with vitamins and minerals. This is the raw product.
so that the starch ingredients gelatinize and the proteins denature. The product after blending and cooking is packaged and sealed. Finally, the cans undergo sterilization by heating them to 121°c for three minutes to kill highly dangerous bacterial species like Clostridium botulinum.
ADVANTAGES of CANNED DOG FOOD:
- More flavor
- More meat like texture
- Use fresher ingredients than dry dog food
DISADVANTAGES of CANNED DOG FOOD:
- More expensive than dry dog food.
- Contains more calories, making it difficult to determine the right amount to feed your dog.
- Most canned food contain 75% water. Higher the water content, less is the nutrient content in the product.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR when buying CANNED DOG FOOD?
Complete and balanced label awarded by AAFCO (if it is a US based company).
Look for the ‘guaranteed analysis’ label requirement. This gives the information about the minimum amount of protein and fat as well as the maximum amount of water and fiber present in the product.
3. SEMI-MOIST COMMERCIAL DOG FOOD
Semi-moist dog foods are generally shaped like burgers, pork chops or other meaty food. Of all the kinds of dog diets, these ones contain the least amount of nutrition and are high on artificial coloring and flavor. They generally come in pouches and trays.
These can be provided as occasional dog treats but should not be considered as a diet themselves as they lack in terms of meeting the nutritional requirement of your pup/dog.
ADVANTAGES of SEMI-MOIST DOG FOOD:
- Easy to open and store. Most of them can be stored at room temperature until the packet is opened.
- They are less messy in terms of feeding your dog compared to canned food.
- Dogs find the taste of semi-moist food more appealing than dry dog food.
- Semi moist food being soft is easier to chew than dry dog food, thus making them favorable for senior dogs or dogs suffering from dental problems.
- Picky dogs eat semi moist food easier than other types of dog food.
- Less expensive than canned dog food.
DISADVANTAGES of SEMI-MOIST DOG FOOD:
- More expensive than dry dog food
- Semi-moist dog foods contain excess sugar (syrup form) and salt, This makes them appetizing but not healthy.
- Some have artificial color and preservatives.
- Propylene glycol is used by dog food manufacturers to make the food soft and chewy. As per FDA, propylene glycol is safe in dog food when present in low quantity. However, if consumed in large amounts, it can be very harmful to dogs.
HOME COOKED meals:
Some dog parents wish to be in complete control of their dog’s diet. Home cooked meal for dogs can be expensive and time consuming. However, this way dog parents can be assured that their dog’s food is nutritionally balanced. Also, the food is fresh and free of preservatives which is not the case in commercial food. therefore, homemade dog food can be a great nutritional choice when done correctly.
However, if there is a lapse in the provision of proper supplements, it can lead to devastating effect on your beloved pooch. Thus, dog parents need to do their homework so that their kid’s food does not miss out on any valuable nutrition.
ADVANTAGES of HOME COOKED MEALS FOR DOGS:
- Allows for the better managing of health issues like heart, liver and kidney disease alongside proper veterinary care.
- You don’t have to worry about the quality and safety of the commercial dog food.
- Allows you to regulate the exact vegetable or meat (quality as well as quantity) which goes into your do’s diet.
- No filler ingredients (commercial dog food use these to increase the product volume with no nutritional benefit to dogs, thus adding to the profit).
- You can optimize the recipe to suit your pooch and help avoid potential allergens.
- Allows for variety in their diet. Keeps your pup excited for mealtime.
- Fresh with no preservatives.
- Meal planning can be done beforehand. Money can be saved by buying the protein sources, vegetables and fruits in bulk at your convenience.
- Prescription dog foods can be quite expensive. In such a scenario, homemade meal for your dog can actually cut your expenses.
- Can be provided to dogs in all life stages.
DISADVANTAGES of HOME COOKED MEALS:
- It is crucial that the right supplements are added to your dog’s food every time it is served. Absence of correct supplements can have devastating effects on their overall health.
- While preparing your dog’s meal, you need to know that certain ingredients (chocolate, grapes, raisins, onions, certain mushrooms etc.) which might be safe for you are not safe for your dog. Therefore, these ingredients must be avoided. Thus, one needs to be very cautious while searching for dog food recipes online.
- You must familiarize yourself with the full list of human food which might be unsafe for your dog.
- Due to the lack of a feeding amount guideline, dog parents might underfeed or over feed their dogs. However, to avoid this, you can select homemade dog food recipes which come with the nutritional information or calculate how much nutrition your dog needs by yourself.
- Can be expensive depending on the availability of ingredients
- It is time consuming. However, the bond we will when we cook for our loved ones is the same when we cook for our fur babies. They know it and we know it, the time and love that has been put in cooking the meal and it helps strengthen the bond. You can also cook in bulk and freeze the food in batches to reduce the overall time spent in the kitchen.
- Not a convenient option if you are a frequent traveler.
RAW DOG FOOD:
Raw dog diet primarily comprises of uncooked meat (organ and muscle meat), complete or crushed bones, vegetables, fruits, dairy and raw eggs. This can be considered as the grain-free dog food. Raw dog diet was initially administered to sled dogs and racing greyhounds to increase their performance.
Disadvantages of the RAW dog diet:
- Colonization of antibiotic resistant bacteria in dogs.
Why is commercial dog food still occupying the market?
Must be good
Promotion by veterinarians
My personal experience:
I started Delta on kibbles when he was younger. However, he hates them. Even the smell of kibbles was enough to make him turn and go in the other direction. But he would always gravitate towards the smell of boiled meat. I also tried to give him raw meat but again, he hated it. So, Delta is currently on home cooked meals with vitamin, supplements and omega 3 fish oil.
I have also seen a sea change in his energy levels ever since I have switched him from kibbles to the home cooked meals. Now he has:
- A higher stamina
- Less recovery time
- Increased alertness
Thus, I’d say that the home-cooked meal works well for my boy. Let me know in the comments what diet do you give your pooch and why do you love that diet.
Every commercial dog food has its own pros and cons. The best way to determine the best type of dog food for your pooch is to discuss the same with his/her veterinarian, as they are familiar with your dog’s lifestyle, exercise level and health, they can provide you the best suggestions.
A note of caution:
The transformation from one diet to another should be done gradually. Sudden diet transformations can lead to an upset stomach. When switching diets, Very slowly reduce the quantity of one type of food and increase the quantity of other kind of food in the diet.
Frequently asked questions:
Commercial dog food is prepared by baking and extruding. First a dog is made with the ingredients and supplements. Then it is passed through an expander and heated to cook the raw ingredients. Then the dough is forced through specific shapes and holes to get them into desired shape before packaging.
The processing of commercial dog food causes a loss of the nutritional value of the diet. It is not bad for dogs, but it also does not provide your dog all the essential nutrients he or she needs for proper growth and good health.
During the 1930’s commercial dog diet companies started to manufacture per food as cheaper option compared to homemade dog food.
Raw dog’s diet needs a lot of supervision to make sure that your pup is receiving adequate nutrition. With commercial dog food, people assume that they are wholesome and nutritious.
Homemade dog food is better if you can provide additional supplements, superfoods and maintain the diet with provides all adequate nutrition for your dogs health. Commercial dog contain p preservatives and lose nutritional value during the processing stages. Hence homemade dog food is preferred over commercial dog food.