This Dog Food Guide is a series of blogs where we will try to cover all aspects and questions related to dog food. These are facts and guidelines that I have found based on my research and experience. I follow these with my buddies and you can try the same.

I am no veterinarian or a trained professional.

Please always consult with your veterinarian before giving any product to your pets.

I have been a Caninophile i.e. dog lover; ever since I can remember. They have always been a part of my life since childhood. A happy and healthy dog is a blessing to have. And nutrition is the key to achieving it.

Currently, I have three dogs: Huey, Dewey and Louie. They are the love of my life 😍. I am convinced that nobody loves me as much as they do (including my husband and kids) 😉. I spend my time training, feeding, playing and chilling with them. So in this blog series, I am sharing my do’s and don’ts that I follow with my beloved furry companions.

Huey Pic

Mr. Huey

Dewey Pic

Mr. Dewey

Louie Pic

Mr. Louie

Blog read time: 9.09 mins

Dog Food Guide series
In this blog i.e. part 1, we will understand the following
– What are the different types of dog foods?
– What are the nutritional needs of your dog and why do they need each type of nutrient?
– Also some F.A.Q. about your dog’s nutrition and health.

Finally, I hope you will find this Dog Food Guide series interesting, educational and helpful.

Always love your pets as your family members. Give them hugs and kisses from my side 😘

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What your dog needs – part 1

Dog Food Guide: What are the different types of dog foods available?

There are so many varieties of dog foods available. And every package has its own branding and labelling. Does it confuse you? Do you feel like Alice in Wonderland? You’re not alone. I am sure most of us feel the same.

So let’s begin our Dog Food Guide series by answering the simplest but the most important question is “What are the different types of dog food?”

Raw dog food

The first type of dog food available is raw food. It includes raw meat, bones and organs mixed together. It’s the most nutritionally complete diet that you can provide to your dog. It can be bought fresh or frozen.

Following are the pros and cons of a dry diet

Good

  • Fresh and full of nutrition.
  • Very little wastage during digestion i.e. less poop.
  • Gives better teeth quality.
  • High source of Omega fatty and Amino acids which gives a softer and shinier coat.

Bad

  • Finding good quality raw food can be troublesome.
  • Unfreezing/thawing raw food can be cumbersome.
  • Preparing your own food can be time-consuming.
  • Shorter shelf life so needs to be refrigerated or consumed within a few days.

The raw diet is a highly debatable topic for its benefits v/s drawbacks. Consult your veterinarian to check if you can give your dog a raw meat diet.

Home-cooked dog food

The second type of dog food is home-cooked food. This type of diet is preferred by people who want to be in full control of what their dogs are eating. It is time-consuming but has its own advantages and disadvantages.

If you are choosing this type of diet then please ensure you study your dog’s nutritional needs. And ensure your home-cooked meals are providing a complete and balanced diet as per requirement.

Following are the pros and cons of a home-cooked diet.

Good

  • Since you cooked yourself, you know exactly what nutrition your canine is getting.
  • Fresh dog food is always healthy.
  • No additives or preservatives.
  • With time you get better informed about the nutritional needs.

Bad

  • Time-consuming.
  • Special attention needs to be paid to the nutritional content of the cooked meal.
  • Small shelf life (7-10 days) and needs refrigeration.
  • Can be expensive.

Semi-moist dog food

The third type of dog food is semi-moist food. These are generally created as treats and have very less nutritional values. They come in all shapes and sizes.

I generally avoid them and only give them as treats sometimes. Since they mostly contain added flavours and colours.

Following are the pros and cons of a semi-moist diet.

Good

  • Works great as treats.
  • Your pups would love them.

Bad

  • Have the least nutrition in them.
  • Contain added colours and flavours.

Wet or Canned dog food

The fourth type of dog food is wet food. Also known as canned dog food because they are generally sold in cans. Your dogs would love their taste. These are cooked at high temperature and vacuum-sealed to sterilize the food.

They contain a lot of water so a larger quantity of dog food might be required. Check their labels for nutritional content to ensure you’re providing the best to your pups.

Following are the pros and cons of a wet or canned diet.

Good

  • Time-saving.
  • Dogs love their texture.
  • Feels more natural because of their water content.
  • Long shelf life.

Bad

  • Are expensive.
  • Contain 70% water, so more quantity is needed.
  • Check nutrition content to ensure a complete diet is being provided to your dog.

Check out my favourite top 5 Wet Dog Food items

Dry dog food

The fifth type of dog food is dry food. It is the most used and famous type of dog food. They are majorly used for their convenience and good shelf life.

Although, all dry dog foods might seem to be the same. But they are not! They differ in their preparation and thus their nutritional value.

Following are the major ways in which dry dog foods are prepared.

Made by extrusion

Pre-dried and ground ingredients in powder form are mixed and passed through high pressure and temperature. All this high pressure and temperature impacts its nutritional value.

Made by baking

Same as the extrusion process but uses less pressure and temperature comparatively.

Made by cold pressing

Similar to the baking process but not as intensive.

Made by air drying

Heated air is passed over fresh food to dry out the moisture. This way there is less damage to the nutritional content of the dog food.

Made by freeze-drying

Fresh food is frozen and then dried by heating. This removes the moisture content from the food. These are the most natural form but are very expensive. They have the best shelf life.

Following are the pros and cons of a dry dog food diet.

Good

  • Easily available and convenient.
  • Good shelf life, so no need for refrigeration.
  • Good for dog’s teeth as chewing on dry foods help in reducing tartar buildup.
  • No need for preparation time.

Bad

  • Depending on the cooking process, can be less nutritional.
  • Can be expensive.
  • Since brands have their own propriety recipes, reading the label is essential.

Check out my favourite top 5 Dry Dog Food items

Fun fact: Kibble was the first dry commercial dog food ever produced.

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Dog Food Guide: What type of nutrition your dog needs and why?

Next in this dog food guide, let’s answer another key question. What are the nutritional needs of your dog and why do they need each of these nutrients?

It doesn’t matter what type of dog food you choose for your dog, nutrition is the key factor. The most important criteria for choosing food for your dog is their nutritional need. So always keep this in mind!

Dog food guide tip: If you’re buying from the market, look out for “complete and balanced nutrition” on the label.

Following are the essential nutrients that your beloved canine needs.

Protein and Amino Acids

Proteins in the diet are an essential nutrient. Dogs cannot survive without them. Since their body only produces 13 out of 23 required amino acids. The dietary protein contains 10 specific amino acids that they need. These are known as essential Amino acids.

Amino acids are the building blocks of life. So ensure that you are providing high-quality proteins. Since they have a good balance of all the essential Amino acids.

Good source: lean muscle meat, fish, eggs, lentils, beans, etc.

Dog food guide tip: growing puppies and pregnant females need twice as many proteins.

Some studies have shown that dogs will avoid foods that lack Amino acids. It could be because of a particular taste or their natural instinct for Amino acids. The exact scientific reason is not known.

Fats

Dietary fats provide the required energy needed by dogs. Therefore fats are an essential nutrient. They contain twice the amount of calories as compared to carbohydrates and proteins.

They provide essential Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. These help in carrying fat-soluble vitamins. Since a dog’s body cannot produce enough of these, so it needs to be provided from the food.

Fats are also responsible for making your dog’s food tasty.

Good source: fish oil, flaxseeds, hemp seeds, olive oil, etc.

Dog food guide tip: Fatty table scraps and coconut oil don’t provide the required fatty acids. Avoid them.

Vitamins

Vitamins are essential nutrients that your dog needs. They are needed in small quantities. Because large quantities can be dangerous.

They help in various chemical reactions in your dog’s body.

Following is a list of how vitamins affect a dog’s body.

Dog Food Guide series – affects of vitamins on your dog

* above information source https://www.nap.edu/

If you’re providing home-cooked food then vitamin supplementation could be required. Consult your veterinarian for it.

If you’re providing complete and balanced food then fat-soluble vitamin supplementation is not required.

Excess of the fat-soluble vitamin can cause toxicity. Water-soluble vitamins are unlikely to cause toxicity because they are excreted out in the urine.

Good source: Organ and muscle meat, dog-friendly plant-based vegetables, supplements, etc.

Dog food guide tip: Dogs don’t need to consume vitamin C in their food because their body produces it.

Minerals

Minerals are essential nutrients. Since a dog’s body cannot manufacture it, they need them from their food diet.

There are two classes of minerals – macrominerals and microminerals.

Macrominerals include calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, sodium, potassium and chloride. They are required by the body at higher levels.

Microminerals include iron, copper, zinc, manganese, selenium and iodine. They are required at lower levels.

Both types are equally important and essential. They are required for various life-supporting body functions. But excess can cause toxicity.

Dog Food Guide series – Affect of minerals on your dogs

* above information source https://www.nap.edu/

Good source: balanced food provide different mineral needs.

Dog food guide tip: Growing puppies need twice the amount of Calcium that an adult dog would need.

Calcium and Phosphorus levels and ratios must be monitored closely in large-breed puppies to avoid the risk of developmental orthopaedic disease.

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates or carbs like sugar, starch and dietary fibres provide energy to your dogs. Carbs are non-essential nutrients. Since dogs synthesize the required amount of glucose from protein and fats.

But they are important in the sense that if dogs consume carbs and get their energy from them, then proteins can be used for other essential needs.

They might be non-essential but are needed for vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that are in them. They also help keep your dog’s intestines healthy.

Good source: dog-friendly vegetables, fruits, legumes and gluten-free grains.

Dog food guide tip: Completely avoid high-glycemic carbs. They provide less nutritional value and will only raise blood sugar levels.

Water

The most crucial of all, without which life cannot survive. If a dog loses 10% of the water in its body it can die. It makes up half of the adult dog’s body weight.

The water requirement can change based on the health, environment temperature and activity level of the dog. They can self-regulate their need for water.

They should always have access to clean and fresh water.

Good source: R.O. water or the water that you drink.

Dog food guide tip: When you are training your pups, remove the food and water bowls about two-to-three hours before bedtime.

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My Top 5 Dry Dog Foods

Following are my top 5 dry dog food items that I feed my dogs.

1. Pedigree Adult Dry Dog Food – Chicken & Vegetables

They are good for adult dogs as they are nutrient-rich. Also good for digestive health.

  • Contains 20% crude protein, 10% crude fat, and 5% crude fibre.
  • Also provides strong muscles, bones, teeth and a healthier & shinier coat.
  • Ideal for Pugs, Beagle to Labrador, Golden Retriever & German shepherd.

2. Meat Up Dry Dog Food – Real Nutrition

Another good option for your dog. They would love it.

  • Contains Omega-3 and Omega-6 for healthier coats.
  • Contains probiotics for digestive health.
  • Antioxidants for boosting immunity.

3. Purina Dry Dog Food – Super Coat

This is a Nestle product and provides good overall health to your dog.

  • Boosts brain development.
  • Suitable for all breeds.
  • No artificial flavours and colours.

4. Chappi Dry Dog Food – Chicken and Rice

Another good product that contains a complete and balanced diet formula.

  • Good quality fibres for digestive health.
  • High-quality proteins for muscle development.
  • Suitable for all breeds.

5. Grain Zero Dry Dog Food – Complete Nutrition

Another complete nutrition formula that’s good for your dog.

  • Crunchy kibbles
  • No Corn, No Wheat, No Soy.
  • Suitable for all breeds.

My Top 5 Wet / Canned Dog Foods

Following are my top 5 wet or canned dog food items that I feed my dogs.

1. Pedigree Adult Wet Dog Food – Chicken & Liver Chunks in Gravy

They are good for adult dogs as they are complete & balanced dog food.

  • Nice aroma and flavour.
  • Multiple choices available, if you don’t like a chicken-with-liver combo.
  • Can be mixed with dry dog food or a home-cooked meal.
  • Ideal for Pugs, Beagle to Labrador, Golden Retriever & German shepherd

2. Meat Up Adult Wet Dog Food – Chicken Gravy Supplement for Skin and Coat

They are a good supplement for skin and coat

  • With turmeric and green tea extracts.
  • Provide Omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Ideal for all breeds.

3. Kennel Kitchen Wet Dog Food – Chicken Chunks in Gravy

They are a good quality chicken product without any artificial preservatives.

  • Good chunks of chicken that provides the essential amino acids.
  • Provides dietary fibres and calcium.
  • Ideal for all breeds.

4. Drools Wet Dog Food – Real Chicken and Liver Chunks in Gravy

Another good quality product that’s a wholesome meal.

  • Good brain and eye development.
  • Contains real chicken, liver and eggs that keep your pet active and agile.
  • Ideal for all breeds.

5. Kennel Wet Dog Food – Chicken and Lamb Gourmet Loaf with Turmeric

A good quality superfood that contains 70% chicken and lamb protein.

  • Looks very natural.
  • No corn, soy, wheat, artificial colours or preservatives.
  • Ideal for all breeds.

Dog Food Guide: Frequently Asked Questions (F.A.Q.)

Following are some of the frequently asked questions (FAQ) regarding dog food.

Difference between complete and complimentary food?

Complete food contains all the nutrients that your dog needs. If you only provide complete food and water, your furry friends will be happy and healthy.
Complimentary food doesn’t contain all nutrients. They are just to provide a variety, flavour or a particular type of nutrient. They can be mixed with complete food to provide that extra bit.

How much water should your dog drink?

A healthy dog drinks about 44 ml of water per 450 g of body weight in a day. So a 30 kg dog should be drinking 1.5 – 2 ltr of water per day approx. Dogs can self-regulate, so you don’t need to worry about it so much. Just make fresh and clean water accessible and they will drink their fill.

Are chocolates harmful to your dog?

Chocolates / Cocoa powder can be dangerous to dogs. Well, it depends on the type of chocolate, the amount of chocolate and the size of the dog to understand the toxicity level. But why to find that level?. I just completely avoid giving my furry buddies any chocolate. I also avoid anything made of cocoa powder like cakes, etc.

Should I feed in the morning or evening?

I feed my buddies in the morning. This way they are in a fasting state in the evening and night. It also helps in keeping their weights in check. If their weight is in check then most diseases are avoided by default.

How many times should I feed my dog?

I feed my dogs twice a day. I give a good portion early in the morning and give a controlled portion in the evening. It takes them 6-8 hrs approximately to digest their food. So I space it accordingly. I give them treats but in a very controlled manner or when I am training them for something.

Can dogs survive on a purely vegetarian diet?

Yes, dogs can survive on a vegetarian diet. It needs to have sufficient protein and vitamin D.

Finally

This concludes part 1 of our Dog Food Guide series. In this blog we addressed two main questions “What are different types of dog foods?” and “What type of nutrition your dog needs and why?”

I am no veterinarian or medically trained professional.

Please always consult with your veterinarian before giving any product to your pets.

Hope you found it interesting and knowledgeable. So now you should have a better understanding of your favourite furry buddies’ nutritional needs.

Remember, the more you love your pets, the more love they would give back. Unconditionally!

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2 thoughts on “Dog Food Guide: What Your Dog Needs 2021”
  1. Ravinder Singh Manhas says:

    Quite informative. Good rating

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Contributed by Jennifer Myers
I am a homemaker and now a blogger. I have a passion for trying out different things, love to talk and travel.
My Area of expertise - I am a fast learner and can play guitar
My Area of philosophy - "Live and let live" ― proverb

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