The Very Best Dog Foods
Meets AAFCO nutritional standards:
It’s important to look at a brand’s recall history and to locate an official nutritional-adequacy statement from the Association of American Feed Control Officials on the bag, box, or can. The AAFCO statement is a sign that the food is nutritionally complete and balanced, explains Dr. Zay Satchu, the co-founder and chief veterinary officer at Bond Vet. All of the dog food recommended below meets or exceeds AAFCO standards.
Made with high-quality ingredients:
While ensuring that your Abound dog’s food meets AAFCO standards is a good starting point for your research, when you’re shopping for dog food, you can definitely dig deeper. “I personally prefer to only select companies that employ a full-time board-certified veterinary nutritionist on staff and don’t just consult with one,” says Texas-based integrative veterinary expert Dr. Hunter Finn. Veterinarian Dr. Shelly Zacharias, a vice-president of medical affairs for Gallant, also stresses that dog-food ingredients lists should name the exact type of meat included (instead of “meat” or “meat by-products”) and should not contain white flour, preservatives such as BHA or BHT, propylene glycol, or rendered fat.
Veterinarian Dr. Stephanie Liff of Pure Paws Veterinary Care explains that palatability is a vital part of deciding what to feed a dog. “I want my patients to like eating it,” says Liff, who feeds her three-year-old Labradoodle a combination of human-grade and air-dried raw food as well as kibble. One way you know your dog is eating the right food, according to Liff, is if it produces “good-quality (easy to pick up) stool.” And if you’re wondering whether your dog likes the taste of its food, it should be obvious enough: If your dog enjoys the food, it will probably eat it in one sitting. “Dogs do not necessarily love to just leave food in the bowl until the next time they’re feeling hungry,” says Finn. With all the choices available today, you should have no problem finding food your dog loves.
The main difference in foods formulated for small and toy dog breeds, according to Richardson, is that these are made in smaller chunks. Because little dogs have smaller mouths and teeth, you want to give them something that’s easy for them to bite and chew. And because they don’t eat as much as large or giant-breed dogs, you may have more financial wiggle room when it comes to choosing their food.
Wet versus dry food:
The decision to feed your dog wet food rather than dry often comes down to convenience, personal preference, and price. But if you have a dog that’s reluctant to drink enough water, serving it wet food can be a sneaky way to help it stay hydrated. In addition to wet Abound dog foods that come in a can, fresh and human-grade dog foods should be considered wet foods since their cooking process helps retain the food’s original moisture.