What Kind of Food is Best for Your Dog?

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As humans, we get the luxury of eating virtually whatever we want, whenever we want. Dogs, however, don’t have that option—obviously. As pet owners, we’re responsible for making sure our dogs have a good diet—not too many snacks, enough vitamins and minerals, protein, etc. With all of the options on the shelves these days, though, it’s overwhelming to try and decide what to give your dog. There are even canned food brands that market their food as actual, human-food type meals, with varieties including “Grammy’s Pot Pie,” “Thanksgiving Day Dinner,” and more. So with all of the information floating around about grain-free, corn-free, high-protein and more, how can you know which is the best for your pooch? Check out these tips that will help you narrow down your choices.

Weigh the Pros and Cons

While both dry kibble and wet canned food offer health benefits to dogs, there are a few things that stand out about each. Dry food is easy to store and measure, and it has benefits for your dog’s digestive system because it is easy to digest. It is also said that dry food can scrub your dog’s teeth and gums, an often-disputed idea, as it can theoretically be compared to the health benefits of people eating cereal for tooth and gum health—potentially questionable. It is also typically less expensive than canned food. One drawback of dry kibble, however, is that is tends to be higher in carbohydrates and fillers than canned food, which can cause weight gain.

As for canned food, some of the perks are that it has a long shelf life and is higher in moisture and protein, which can be beneficial for a dog’s digestive system and urinary tract. It can be more difficult to measure out, however, and must be refrigerated after it’s opened. Canned food can make dogs feel fuller longer, which is good for dogs who are on weight management programs or who are prone to being overweight.

What About Grains?

Many dog foods include things like corn, wheat and other grains as filler, which while enjoyable for the dog’s palate, may not be as healthy as you’d prefer. Grain-free food is often touted as being better for some dogs nowadays, particularly those with allergies or sensitivities; like some people, some dogs can be allergic to gluten or corn. Grain-free food provides a lot of energy and nutrition for your dog, so it’s great for active dogs. However, if your pet is not as active or requires less exercise, these richer foods can cause weight gain.

Is Mixing the Two Okay?

To get the best of both worlds, you can choose to mix the two types of foods. This will offset any potential negatives from your dog eating only one or the other, and it also provides variety for your pet so that they don’t have to eat the same thing every day for every meal.

You can, however, always ask your vet for advice before switching your pet’s food, and if you do change your dog’s diet, you’ll want to do so gradually so as not to upset their digestive system.

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