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What is the best food for dogs?

When it comes to selecting the best dog foods for their pet, dog owners are faced with an overwhelming array of options. So, our Riverside vets are here to assist you in narrowing down your options and finding healthy, affordable, and appealing dog food for your pet.

What's the best dog food?

The majority of dog owners feed their pets dry kibble or canned wet food. Commercial dog foods of high quality are strictly regulated and have undergone rigorous testing by veterinary specialists. The healthiest, vet-recommended dog foods will include meat, vegetables, grains, and fruits. These non-meat foods are not just fillers; they can also be a good source of vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

Nutritional Needs

Most dog foods are designed to meet your dog's nutritional needs. Most commercial brands are designed to meet at least the basic nutritional requirements of dogs. Not all dogs, however, have the same nutritional needs. Keep this in mind as you shop for dog food.

Dogs require a variety of nutrients in varying quantities throughout their lives. Because a puppy's nutritional requirements differ from those of an adult dog, it is preferable to feed a puppy formula or "all life stages" food.

How to Read a Dog Food Label

Reading the label is one way to distinguish between good and bad dog food. The FDA requires dog food labels to include eight key pieces of information, and each state may have its own labeling requirements:

  • Product name
  • Net weight of the product
  • Name and address of the manufacturer
  • Guaranteed Analysis
  • List of ingredients
  • Intended animal species (i.e. dog or cat)
  • Statement of nutritional adequacy
  • Feeding guidelines

Product Name

The name of the product reveals a lot about what's inside the can or bag. The term "beef" implies that beef must constitute at least 70% of the total product. In contrast, the terms "beef dinner," "beef entrée," or "beef platter" only require that beef make up at least 10% of the overall product. "With beef" requires only 3% of the total product to be beef, while "beef flavor" simply means that the product contains enough beef to flavor it (less than 3%). The same can be said about other named ingredients, such as "chicken."


The ingredients on a dog food label do not indicate their quality. Some manufacturers divide their ingredients to ensure a more even distribution. Corn varieties, including flaked corn and ground corn, can be listed separately. Because whole meats have a high water content, the overall percentage of meat after processing is lower than it appears. Meat meal, on the other hand, has a less appealing name but contains more meat than "whole meats".

While the ingredient list does not provide information about the quality of the ingredients, it does reveal what is contained in the food. This is especially important for dogs with special dietary needs or allergies, but it is also beneficial for owners who want to feed their dogs specific fiber, protein, and carbohydrate sources.

Dog Food For Small and Large Breed Dogs

Small and large breed dogs have different nutritional needs. Large-breed dogs are more prone to musculoskeletal issues, so they frequently require large-breed dog food. Small breed dogs can choke on larger kibble and have special nutritional requirements. Look into your dog's breed to see if there are any special nutritional needs you should be aware of.

Dog Food For Puppies

A puppy's' nutritional requirements change throughout their lives. Puppies have different nutritional requirements than adult dogs, and senior dogs have unique nutritional requirements. Most dog food companies sell puppy foods that are specially formulated for each stage of a dog's life. Consult your veterinarian to determine what stage food is best for your dog.

The best food for your puppy is determined by its size and breed. Some puppies do well on both "puppy food" and "for all life stages" food. For puppy feeding advice, always consult your veterinarian.

Dog Food For Senior Dogs

Senior dogs, usually aged 7 and up, have different nutritional needs. Many older dogs prefer wet food, whereas others may need their food warmed to enhance the aromas. Your veterinarian can help you choose the best dog food for an elderly pet.

Dog Food For Dogs With Special Dietary Needs

Allergies, sensitive stomachs, and dietary restrictions affect both dogs and people. It can be difficult to feed dogs with special dietary needs. Your best bet is to ask your veterinarian about the best dog food for their condition.

Wet and Dry Dog Food

Dry dog food is made by combining ingredients like meat and grains and cooking them. The main advantage of dry dog food is that it does not require refrigeration. The best dry food for your dog depends on his or her dietary needs. Consult your veterinarian or a veterinary nutritionist to determine the healthiest option for your pet.

Wet dog food is an excellent alternative to dry dog food. Wet food contains more fresh meat, poultry, fish, and animal byproducts, as well as textured protein derived from grains. Although canned dog food has a long shelf life, it must be refrigerated after opening. The best wet food for your dog depends on its age, breed, and any special dietary needs or allergies.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

If you're concerned about your dog's dietary needs, contact our Riverside vets today to book an appointment.

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