Allow us to paint a scene. You’ve decided that it’s time to bless your home with the loving & irreplaceable presence of a caring dog. You’ve done your research in what breed is most suitable for you. You’ve looked into adoption & reputable breeders. You’ve found the perfect lead & collar combination to go with your favourite jacket. After extensive research, you’ve finally found the perfect dog to welcome into your home. As you do you take some pictures & share them with your friends. One friend replies: “She’s beautiful, what are you going to feed her?”
“Oh, I dunno.” You reply.
What Should I Feed My Dog? A question that has been stuck in the mind of almost anyone who is venturing into first time dog ownership; it is also discussed by even the most seasoned & experienced dog owners. You’ll find contradicting reports in regards to ‘What is the best food?’ Be it an expert appearing on the morning talk show, or a new study shared on social media; the simple question ‘What Should I Feed My Dog?’ Always produces a complex answer, an answer which will vary depending on who you ask. This post exists to attempt answering some of the most common questions when it comes to your dog’s dinner & hopefully give you some insight into how this simple questions yields a variety of answers.
What type of food should I feed my dog?
We’ll start on one of the most common questions. If you go rewind the years, this question would also have a simple answer – Dry Kibble. It was the main food available & was never questioned, however as more & more research goes into what the optimum diet is, more options have become available – most prominently is Raw Food. Raw food may seem an alien concept at first, however it is proven to be a great complete food for dogs.
Dry Kibble – The most common means of feeding your dog & for good reason too. I think as a human if you could find a tasty & nutritious kibble, some of you might be tempted to! Complete dry foods are designed to meet all the nutritional requirements needed to keep your dog healthy on a day to day basis. There are however some warning signs to look out for when picking a dry food. It is very easy to be fooled by pretty packaging on dog food claiming to be the best around, with misleading information, an enticing price & gobbled up by your dog when fed, you may think you’ve struck gold in picking that food. This however is often unfortunately not the case in most cases. A vast majority of big dog brands will use unhealthy ingredients which may entice your dog more when feeding. They can also use cheap protein sources (gluten) so they can stick a ‘High in Protein’ sticker on their label. Here are some of the things to avoid when picking a dry dog food:
- Gluten – Usually found in cheaper dog foods as it provides a cheaper source of protein. Not all dogs have issues with gluten, however if they do you’ll find your dog may have itchy skin, loose stools, poor coat condition & weight loss. It is best to avoid foods containing gluten to ensure the diet is providing proper ingredients when designing the food.
- Colourants – Typically if you find a dog food with multi-coloured kibbles, avoid it. Only added to appeal to dogs senses & adds nothing beneficial to their diet.
- High in Fat/Poor Ingredients – Some kibble diets will be gobbled up by your dog as quick as you can put it down. While some quality dry foods will have the same experience, it can also be sign of a dry food which appeals to a dogs taste, but not their nutrition.
Raw Food – Rising in popularity in the pet food market & for good reason. Raw food can take away the worries of what ingredients you are feeding your dog. Feeding a raw diet at first may seem daunting, but once you get into the routine it is almost just as easy as dry food. Purchased normally in frozen blocks, all you need to do is allow time for the product to defrost & feed as is! No need to cook or any additional work. Here are some things to look for when purchasing a raw diet:
- No Added Ingredients – The main selling point of raw food is that you’re getting exactly what is advertised. If you find any foods with any additional ingredients you weren’t expecting, it would be best to avoid.
- Bone Content – If you’re new to raw feeding, you might see bone content as something to avoid. This could not be further from the truth! Bone content found in raw food is essential to their diet to ensure they get the necessary nutrients needed.
With the above in mind, as long as you’re vigilant with what food you’re feeding, dry or raw food both offer their own positives & negatives. The best route to go in is to decide what type is bested suited to you, research into the diets & trial them with your dog. There’s no guarantee you’ll find the perfect food for your dog on the first attempt; keep an eye on your dog’s condition (their stool, coat, skin & appetite) when trialling your new food. If you picked dry food & have trouble, consider switching to raw; & vice versa!
How do I change my dog food?
So you’ve made your decision on what food you think is most suitable & you’re excited to begin! However, changing food should be a slow process, especially if changing between raw & dry foods, as a quick change will quickly upset their stomach; leaving you to clear up the mess! Below we’ll list the most ideal & stomach-friendly ways to switch to a new food.
Dry to Dry – A relatively smooth process to switch. We recommend you switch foods over a 2 week period, starting with a 90/10 split with the old/new diet. Slowly increase the new diet, with you aiming to have 50/50 split after 1 week & to be 100% new food after 2 weeks.
Dry to Raw/Raw to Dry – Changing between raw & dry foods should be done over a 2 week period as above; starting with a 90/10 split with the old/new diet. Slowly increase the new diet, with you aiming to have 50/50 split after 1 week & to be 100% new food after 2 weeks. However it is incredibly important you feed the raw separately from the dry food, with a 3 hour period between feeds. Raw & dry kibble is digested differently & will upset their stomach if fed at the same time.
If your dog is completely new to raw food, you may notice some negative traits with your dog for the first month after the initial switch. If a dog is accustomed to kibble then there will be an initial shock to your dog’s digestion in the beginning. The signs will usually be in their stool, which will be rather loose in the beginning but should quickly improve as your dog becomes more acclimatised to the new food.
No food I try is working, what shall I do?
Changing dog foods can be frustrating, especially if you try multiple foods to no prevail & just like the ending of Game of Thrones, you might be thinking that it makes no sense. The most important thing to consider moving forward is pinpointing exactly what part of the diet is causing your dog problems. Below are some tips which may help with that:
- Check for Gluten/Grain – Most issues with a dog’s diet are normally caused by these problematic ingredients. If you’ve noticed that the diets you’ve tried contain gluten, try gluten free alternatives! Grain-free options are sometimes harder to come by, with some grain-free dry kibbles becoming increasingly expensive. If you think grain is causing your dog problems, it may be best to take the plunge into the world of raw food!
- Meat Allergy – It is not uncommon to hear about dogs that may not get along with certain meat in their diet. With Chicken being the most popular meat in dry kibble, this may be the cause for any trouble. The answer is a simple one, try out foods with different meat, be it dry or raw.
- Visit a Vet – If you still have trouble pinpointing the trouble, it is always best to get a professionals opinion.
Should I change my dogs’ food at certain ages?
It is common knowledge with dry kibble, to start puppies off with a diet specially formulated for puppies; however what about the opposite end of the spectrum? As our beloved dogs get older, you’ll find they are not as active as they were in their prime, however if you continue to feed the dry food you’ll begin to notice a slow weight gain. We recommend looking into senior diets for dogs which will normally provide lower protein & fat levels to ensure your dog doesn’t have to look back with sadness on their glory days!
With raw food however, some are completely suitable to be fed to puppies (Including Brown’s Pet Range Raw Food *wink wink*) from ages 8 weeks & onwards!
How much should I feed my dog?
This answer mainly varies on what food you are feeding them. Most Dry Kibbles will come with a feeding guideline which you may need to tweak depending on certain factors. The general rule of thumb when it comes to feeding is for puppies; start with feeding 5% of their bodyweight, which you’ll then slowly decrease that to 2% of their bodyweight as they approach the 18 month mark.
Once again, this is simply a guideline with huge depending factors (i.e. activity levels, overweight/underweight) so it is always best to tweak to what suits your dog the most.
What does Brown’s Pet Range Offer?
I’m so glad you asked! Brown’s Pet Range actually offer a selection of complete dry dog food & complete raw food!
Signature Dry Dog Food – Our Dry Dog Foods are designed by senior zoological nutritionists, who have spent years honing their craft to manufacture our dog food to contain all the nutritional requirements needed to keep your dog healthy! Our Signature Dog Foods are produced using Gluten-Free ingredients & come in 3 main varieties: Puppy & Breeder, Health & Activity & Light & Sensitive. These 3 diets aim to produce the best diets for each age group; puppy, adult & senior. One thing that makes these foods special? The added Beta-Glucans found in these foods provide a huge boost to a dog’s immune system & several other benefits you’ll notice as you progress. More information can be found here: https://www.brownspetrange.com/collections/macrogard-dog-food
Raw Dog Food - There’s not much we can say about our raw food; exactly what you see is exactly what you’ll get. They are 100% complete, with no added ingredients. Our Raw Food is available throughout Mainland UK & can be delivered the next working day if ordered before 3:00pm. More information can be found here: https://www.brownspetrange.com/collections/bones-and-raw-food
Natural Treats – When spending so much time looking for the right dog food, you may forget to find the right treats to complement their diet. Look no further than our Natural Treat Range. All the products found here contain no added ingredients & make the perfect guilt-free treats! A full extensive list can be found here: https://www.brownspetrange.com/collections/natural-treats
Sample Box – You’re unsure if you want to make the dive? That’s okay! We now offer a sample box of our signature diet which contains additional natural & training treats! Just follow the link below & pick which variation best suits your dog! Oh, use this unique code at checkout to get this box for £5.00 instead of £6.99 - TastyTrial
If you’ve made it this far, thank you for taking the time to read this post! We hope we’ve helped you in at least some way in picking the right food for your dog. We understand that it is a difficult decision to make. If you have any questions regarding anything pet related, or just fancy a chat; feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org!