It seems like there are a million different types of dog food out there to give to your dog. On top of the million different options, there are a million different opinions on what option is best. People tell you what you should and shouldn’t do, pulling you in two different directions, while you’re just trying to give your faithful pooch the nutrients he needs.
How can you determine what’s best? There’s no easy solution to finding the perfect chow for your pet, but the best thing to do is consult your vet and then weigh the pros and cons of each kind. Dog food tends to come in four different forms–canned, dry, home-cooked, and raw. The following is a brief list of the good, the bad, and the mediocre of each.
Dog Food: The Pros and the Cons
Canned Dog Food
- Highly palatable. Even the pickiest of dog eaters usually devour their canned dog food without complaint or hesitancy.
- Easy to eat for dogs with sore mouths or missing teeth
- Easy to digest for any dogs recovering from an illness or who have limited kidney functions.
- Has an incredibly long shelf-life, when closed.
- Generally, canned dog food is prone to contamination
- It tends to be on the more expensive side (compared to dry)
- Dogs living on a canned food diet tend to require more dental cleaning
- Often causes loose stools
- More moisture tends to cause more bathroom needs
- Once the can is opened, it must be used up quickly or kept in your refrigerator
- Canned food tends to have a low-calorie count which means dogs need to eat more of it to get the nutrients and calories they need.
- Nutrition tends to be balanced
- Offers vital proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and fibers.
- Tends to be better for dental health than canned and soft foods.
- Easy to clean up, store, and travel with.
- Can be used as training bait.
- Tends to be the more affordable option.
- Lower-quality dry food can incorporate chemicals, by-products, or meal instead of meats.
- Might include fillers that can irritate your dog’s digestive tract.
- Dry, itchy skin is often a result of eating dry food, because of dehydration due to the low moisture content or other allergies and reactions (adding water to your dogs food can help with this).
- Accidental contamination is always possible. Recalls on dry food are not uncommon for dry food.
Home-Cooked Dog Food
- Can be made fresh, which means the ingredients maintain their maximum nutritional value
- Homemade food helps one easily avoid your dog’s allergies
- You can reduce or eliminate artificial preservatives, flavors, dyes, and hormones, as well as reduce the risk of contamination.
- Fresh food tends to go over better with picky eater pups.
- Getting that nutritional balance right is crucial, though extremely difficult. You may need to follow careful recipes to make sure your pooch is getting the nutrients they need.
- Generally a short shelf life.
- This tends to lean on the more expensive side of food options.
- Nutritional deficiencies are common.
- Like their wolf ancestors, dogs are carnivorous, and raw food is more natural for them.
- Healthier skin, cleaner teeth, and improved digestion.
- Smaller, firmer stools
- Raw food goes over really well, even with picky eaters.
- Raw meat can contain harmful bacteria for people.
- It could be nutritionally deficient.
- This tends to be the most expensive option.
There is no perfect food option for your pet, seeing as they are not hunting in the wild like wolves. Some dogs have preferences and some owners have preferences. There may be foods your dog is unwilling to eat, as well as food you are unable to keep in your house. Consult your vet for their suggestions on the best food and nutritional needs of your pet, and then find the food that best works for you and your dog.