Lots of people ask us what the best food is for their new pup, as well as what food they should be using when their puppy grows up.
We are definitely believers that "you are what you eat" applies to dogs as well as people! We think that it's important to feed your dog a high-quality dog food to keep them healthy and avoid health problems like allergies, skin problems, and even more serious problems such as cancer.
There are so many dog food options, it's hard to know where to start!
Well, first things first. Where are you going to buy your dog food? We buy our human food at the grocery story, so that might seem like an obvious place to start. But dog food is a little different. I have never seen a high-quality food in the grocery store. Buying your pup's food at the grocery store would be a little like trying to buy the ingredients for a healthy human meal at a gas station. There just aren't any high-quality options.
So the best place to start is at a pet store. But which one? While you can find high-quality options at chain pet stores like Petco or Petsmart, they do have a mix of high and low quality foods. We think one of the best places to buy dog food is at a local pet store with a knowledgable staff. They will likely only carry high-quality foods and can help you choose the right food for your pup.
There are lots of different kinds of dog food - wet food, dry food, raw food, homemade food. Which one is best? Well, lots of people swear by the raw food or homemade food diet. I agree that this can be a great diet for dogs as long as you ensure that your dog is getting the vitamins and minerals they need so it is a balanced diet. There are lots of websites out there that can help you create a raw or homemade meal plan for your dog.
If you don't want to cook your dogs food at home, we recommend a high-quality kibble supplemented with raw bones and fresh meat. If you're a hunter like we are, bring those bones home for your dog! Our dogs love to chew on the deer carcass after we are finished with it!
If you've decided to feed your dog a high-quality kibble, how do you choose which one? Below I will review several brands that our dogs seem to enjoy and that we trust, but if you are choosing something new, make sure to read the ingredients and consider these two questions: What is in the food and what is the price of the food?
What are the first few ingredients? Is corn one of them? Or other grains?
It's important that meat be the first ingredient. Dogs are carnivores! Look for ingredients like meats and vegetables. If there is grain in the food it shouldn't be in the first few ingredients. Try and avoid corn all together. Grain-free foods are great, but I don't think they're essential.
What is the price of the food?
You definitely get what you pay for when it comes to dog food. The price of the least expensive dog food at Walmart is about 40 cents per pound. The foods I recommend below are somewhere between $1.40 and $3.00 per pound. As you can see there is a big range! But you certainly can get a great dog food for a reasonable price.
Below are a few brands of high-quality kibble that we trust, as well as an honest review from our dogs!
What we think:
We like this brand a lot. They provide high-quality ingredients at a reasonable price - about $45 for a 40 pound bag. The prices vary a little depending on the variety, but they are all in that range. We use the High-Pro Plus in the teal bag. It's a high protein/fat/calorie food. This one is great when our mama dogs are nursing and also helps keep our dogs weight up when they are doing distance running with us. Victor has lower calorie options as well.
What the dogs think:
Our dogs love this food. The ultimate test: We put out a bowl of Victor and a bowl of Canidae (see review below), and the bowl of Victor completely disappeared while the Canidae sat until it was their only option.
What we think: Canidae provides high-quality ingredients for a great price. Their food does not provide enough calories/fat/protein for our dogs so it didn't work for us but would be great for a dog with a regular activity level. It comes at a great price, about $35 for a 30 pound bag. They also have a grain-free option which is a little more expensive.
What the dogs think: Canidae ranks the lowest among the foods we have tried with them as far as taste (well, they didn't TELL me, but I'm guessing based on the speed of consumption). As mentioned above, they ate the Canidae as their last option. They don't seem to mind it but it definitely isn't their favorite. We tried the "all life stages" variety so they may just not have liked the flavor.
What we think: Fromm makes a great food. Our dogs all ate their puppy food (in the pink bag) until they were about a year old. We also feed it to our puppies in a mush as soon as they start eating. It has small kibbles which are great for small puppy teeth. Like Victor, Fromm has high-quality ingredients. The cost is a little more, coming in around $45 for a 33 pound bag.
What our dogs think: This is a great food for young pups - the puppies gobble it up quickly and I love that the small kibbles are easy for them to eat. It must taste good to the adult dogs too because our mama dogs sneak into the pens while the puppies are eating to steal a few bites!
Taste of the Wild
What we think: Taste of the Wild is a high-quality food and is readily available at most pet stores, which makes it a great option. They also have a variety of flavors in order to provide your dog with some variety. I have heard that you can switch between the flavors without a transition and it won't cause stomach upset (though I haven't verified that). It's a little more expensive than Victor or Fromm, but still pretty reasonable (especially if you only have one dog!) The price is around $45 for a 30 pound bag.
What the dogs think: Our dogs seem to enjoy eating Taste of the Wild, but one of them who is prone to food allergies developed itchy skin while eating it so it didn't work for us. I have used it when traveling and had to buy a food at Petsmart. Beulah was with me and seemed to think I was giving her an entire bowl of treats based on the speed with which she ate it, so she gives it two paws up!
What we think: Zignature is a wonderful, high-quality grain-free food. We fed this food to our dogs while we were trying to figure out what Clyde was allergic to. We like that it is a limited-ingredient food so it helped us narrow down his allergies. It is quite a bit more expensive but a great food. The cost is about $60 for a 27 pound bag.
What the dogs think: Our dogs absolutely love this food. The downside is that it makes them poop A LOT. The dogs normally poop twice a day, but on this food they poop about 4 times per day. It is not diarrhea, but it definitely increases production!