It was be so simple if one food was ideal for all dogs. But dogs have different needs based on many factors including their age, size, breed type and lifestyle, that it is not easy to know which food to choose. Dog owners can find themselves puzzling over the array of options at the pet shop and asking themselves ‘what is the best food to feed my dog?’
Any dog food you choose should use wholesome ingredients and provide plenty of protein and other nutrients your dog needs. Avoid foods that use an excess of cheap fillers such as maize. Your dog does not care if the food comes in cute shapes or bright colours. Those are marketing gimmicks designed to appeal to owners. Unless your dog has severe dental problems or another issue that makes it inappropriate, dry dog kibble is best. It helps keep your dog’s teeth clean, stays fresh, is easy to measure and is more convenient for owners. After that, it is a matter of considering your individual dog’s needs.
Optimum Nutrition through the Ages
Your dog has different nutritional needs at different ages. Puppies need excellent nutrition so they grow well, stay healthy and have all the puppy energy they should. This is really the most important time in your dog’s life, and his diet now is the foundation for his life-long health. Look for a feed with meat as the first ingredient with plenty of calcium to support growing bones.
In adulthood, a dog’s lifestyle and size are the main factors in deciding what is the best food for my dog. But any food you choose should provide balanced nutrition with natural, premium ingredients.
As dogs age, their needs change. Different breeds age at different rates, so it is important to watch your dog closely and talk to your vet about when to switch from regular to senior food. The best senior foods will have lots of glucosamine and chondroitin to support healthy joints.
When it comes to feeding your dog, size does matter. The size of the actual pieces of kibble make it easier or harder for your dog to enjoy his meals. Large dogs get more teeth-cleaning benefit from bigger pieces of kibble they have to crunch. The bigger pieces also make them slow down a bit, which can help reduce the chances of them developing gastric torsion or bloat. Small dogs would struggle to chew larger pieces of kibble, which makes meals frustrating for them.
But the size of the kibble is not the only difference between food for large dogs and food for small dogs. Larger dogs need more support for their joints, and a quality brand of food for large dogs recognises this and provides extra glucosamine and chondroitin.
Dog Foods for Every Breed and Lifestyle
Your dog’s age and size are not the only important factors when asking yourself ‘what is the best food to feed my dog?’ Different breeds of dog were developed for different roles. The giant Tibetan Mastiff historically guarded the outside of a palace, while the small Lhasa Apso lived in the palace as a companion and a back-up alarm system in case anyone got past the mastiffs outside. Border Collies and German Shepherds developed to herd and protect livestock, and most of the smaller terriers worked around the farmyard killing any vermin. Consequently, Border Collies and German Shepherds are confident, agile dogs who thrive when given complex tasks, and terries just can’t help but their love of chasing and digging.
Today, most dogs are primarily pets. Ideally, they can enjoy activities that work with their instincts, whether it is chasing a ball around the garden or doing agility. Their food should provide a level of calories to support their activity level. Excess calories lead to excess weight, and too few calories can create other problems. Most dogs will thrive on the Leader dog food for their age and size, but hard-working dogs who help out on the farm or regularly go hiking or running with their people often do better with the Engage line.
Special Dog Foods for Health Issues
For some owners, the question of what is the best food to feed my dog is complicated by special circumstances. Dogs, like people, sometimes have extra considerations in finding the diet that will help them thrive. Their metabolism slows with age, and let’s be honest – it is very easy to slack off on the daily walks in the winter and very hard to resist that furry face when he’s begging for treats. But excess weight can cause health problems for dogs, and some do need a food with fewer calories, such as Leader Slimline.
We are all more aware of food allergies and food intolerance these days, and our dogs can suffer from it too. While some dogs react badly to one specific ingredient, others just have very sensitive stomachs. If your dog has frequent loose stools, excess wind or skin problems that don’t respond to treatment, it’s time to ask your vet ‘what is the best food to feed my dog that won’t trigger these reactions?’ Some dogs will thrive on food formulated for delicate digestions, such as Leader Sensitive. Others might have a food intolerance that makes grain-free the best option for them. If your vet recommends a grain-free dog food, Go Native is an excellent choice because it offers a single-source protein, local ingredients and botanicals to give your dog’s health an extra boost.
Connolly Red Mills makes a wide range of foods to keep every dog well nourished. If you are not sure which is the best food for your dog, speak to your vet. They can advise you about which size and age categories apply to your dog, and if your dog has any special dietary needs, your vet is the best person to help you pick the food to help your pet thrive.