Choosing a Healthy Dog Food

Two weeks ago Becky wrote a post about natural cat food. I’m equally concerned about what I feed my dog. The ingredients in commercial dog food and treats are generally pretty questionable.

Dogs have a difficult time digesting corn, soy, and wheat, but these three products are typically found at the top of popular brands’ ingredient lists. Plus you can pretty much guarantee that the meat that goes into most brands is not top-quality (let alone organic or pasture-raised).

I feed my dog a wheat-free, soy-free, and corn-free food called Life’s Abundance. There are dozens of holistic brands that meet these basic standards. Orijen, Acana, Innova, California Natural, EVO, and Canidae are all good options – look for them on the web or in high-end pet stores.

If you’re concerned about the meat that goes into your dog’s food, there are several organic brands on the market. Another strategy is to choose a dog food that is based on lamb meat, because the quality of lamb is much more reliable than that of beef, pork, and chicken. Since sheep can graze in areas that other animals cannot, most producers raise them on pasture. Furthermore, since demand for lamb has never been high, lamb production has not been industrialized the way beef, pork, and chicken production has been.

Although holistic dog food is a bit pricier than your basic Purina, you can feed your dog less food per meal when you eliminate fillers such as wheat, soy, and corn. So the price difference isn’t as extreme as it may seem upfront (I think I spend about $5 more per month).

Switching my dog to holistic food improved her coat, reduced her anxiety, and stopped her from wanting to eat dog poo (gross, I know – nutrient deficiencies can cause crazy behavior in dogs).

If you have the time and enthusiasm, you can also make your own dog food at home.

Image courtesy of Brian E. Ford via a Creative Commons license.

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8 thoughts on “Choosing a Healthy Dog Food”

  1. Nice article.

    I agree 100%. I used to buy Science Diet because my vet told me to. However, my neighbor came over and yelled at me for using such junky food. I told her the vet recommended it so it has to be good. Of course I come to find out she was right after doing some research on the internet and learning about how difficult it is to digest some of the junk that was in Science Diet. My neighbor was using Evanger’s Pheasant & Brown Rice so I switched to that, mostly because she did all of the food research already and it has meat as the first ingredient. I was actually VERY surprised at my dog’s reaction. She always ate her food before, but now she practically runs to the bowl and salivates as I bring the bag out of the pantry.

    You’re right, it is a little more expensive, but I notice a big different in her coat and energy.

    1. Thank you so much for this! We feed our cats natural cat food, and the vet totally disapproves. They keep pushing Royal Kanin and Science Diet, but I just don't trust their ingredients!

      1. Oh my goodness! My vet loves that I have my dog on natural dog food. I think it all depends on the vet – you need to find one who is up-to-date on current research. Most vets don't know ANYTHING about tick-borne diseases either. It's quite shocking how much misinformation is given out by the experts!

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