By Heather Venkat, DVM, MPH, DACVPM
Why should I invest in high quality dog food?
What should I look for in premium dog food?
Where can I find high-quality dog food?
Bringing home a puppy isn’t cheap. There is food to purchase, medical bills to cover, and dog accessories to acquire.
There are new routines to build. Suddenly daily exercise becomes paramount, and games in the backyard are squeezed into weekend activities.
Amidst all the buzz of starting life with a new dog or puppy, there is one thing you won’t want to budge, regardless of the price tag.
It’s dog food.
The old adage is true. What goes into a dog directly impacts what comes out.
If you want a happy and healthy dog, it starts with what is going into his/her system.
With the variety of brands and types of food to be found in pet stores, it’s easy to turn toward the most affordable option on the shelf. Sadly, when choosing food for your dog, cheaper is not always better.
So today we are taking the guesswork out of dog food. You’re about to discover what to look for when finding the right dog food, plus how to boost your pal’s immune system simply by taking control of the diet.
Welcome. We’re glad you are here. Let’s get started.
Why should I Invest in High-Quality Dog Food?
Not all dog foods are equal.
There are great, wholesome options.
Then there are also bags filled with unpleasant additives and other doggy junk.
By simply opting for high-quality dog food, here’s what you can expect:
1. Invest in Your Dog’s Health
Simply by opting for a premium dog food, you are both empowering your dog to enjoy an increased quality of life, plus potentially adding years to his/her lifespan.
And there’s no better time to start than when your dog is still just a puppy.
Your pal can enjoy positive energy while flaunting a glowing coat and healthy skin.
Not to mention, visits to the vet will likely decline as your dog is equipped with a boosted immune system to fight unwanted diseases.
2. Overcome Health Issues
For dogs and puppies suffering from skin conditions and allergies, after visiting your local vet, switching your dog food may be your next step.
By simply switching from cheap additives to food with wholesome ingredients including quality protein, vitamins, and minerals, many dogs have actually overcome skin conditions and canine allergies.
Many wholesome foods are easier to digest as well, improving gut health, stool quality, and decreasing excess gas.
In fact, if your pup is super active, there are foods that contain special ingredients to specifically strengthen and protect those super active joints.
3. Quality over Quantity
While premium dog food does carry a higher price-tag, in the end, the difference may be less than what it first appears.
Designer Dogs Online advises, “While the cost may be higher on a kilo for kilo basis, premium pet foods also pack in more nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. This can help offset the cost somewhat, as you would be able to feed your dog less than you normally would with a cheaper product, due to the quality over quantity principle.
Not to mention, the difference in price decreases even more for little dogs like the Pomeranian and Shih Tzu.
Your pup is relying on you to feed them the very best everyday. It’s up to you to not compromise their health in order to save a few bucks.
4. Premium Ingredients
One way cheap dog food brands manage to keep their costs low is by compromising the quality of ingredients used.
Premium dog food, on the other hand, is formulated from ingredients that not only allow your dog to enjoy his/her meal, but also encourage a strong and healthy doggy life.
For example, great dog food will have ingredients like meat and vegetables listed among the top three recipe ingredients.
Cheaper brands, in contrast, will place fillers such as cornstarch at the top of their ingredient list.
If cornstarch is listed among the first three ingredients on your dog food bag, your dog will be grateful to switch to a healthier brand.
5. Fewer Doggy Scraps
Dogs will be dogs.
As a result, it goes without saying they’ll likely start begging when taunted with tasty food.
While this isn’t uncommon for dogs, it can be the cause of unhealthy weight gain.
So to avoid unwanted obesity, why not get straight to the root problem: their hunger.
If your dog isn’t enjoying his/her food, then they’ll always have room for treats, scraps, and random objects around your home.
While a high-quality dog food brand may not be a cure-all, it’s definitely a starting point.
Because when your dog is enjoying his/her food, he or she will have no need to look elsewhere for doggy goodies.
What Should I look for in Premium Dog Food?
When comparing different brands of dog-food, top brand-names may not always be better.
Unfortunately, some bags of dog food carry a higher price tag not because the quality is actually better. Rather, the food is simply coming from a prestigious, brand-name company.
So when you’re ready to purchase your next bag of dog food, avoid blindly reaching for the bag with the highest price tag, convinced you’re buying the best on the market.
Sure, it might actually be the best. Or it might not be.
In order to make an accurate and informed decision, follow these two steps to make a decision that’s healthy for your puppy.
1. Look for the AAFCO label.
First, look for the American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) stamp of approval.
The AAFCO ensures quality testing on commercial dog food brands and awards their seal of approval to companies who meet the basic nutritional needs of dogs.
Their approval statement reads, “Animal feeding tests using AAFCO procedures substantiate that [Pet Food Brand] provides complete and balanced nutrition for maintenance of adult dogs.”
By ensuring the food you are feeding meets AAFCO guidelines, you can be confident your dog isn’t at risk of either a nutrient toxicity (too much) or deficiency (not enough).
For example, too much or too little Vitamin D can cause sever problems. It’s all about a proper balance.
If a bag of dog feed does not have an AAFCO label attached, it is likely not high-quality dog food.
2. Read the ingredients list.
The first thing to note when skimming an ingredient list is that items are listed in descending order by volume.
For example, the first items listed present the largest quantities of what is actually in the dog food.
A good ingredient list will include wholesome ingredients such as meat, whole grains, premium vegetables, and proteins.
Proteins that are especially great for dogs include chicken, turkey, beef, and fish.
It goes without saying these ingredients should be among the first on the list.
Check to see if the food claims other bonus nutrients too, such as Omega 3- and 6- fatty acids, fiber, or antioxidants.
A low-quality ingredient list will begin with items such as animal by-products, grains, and grain by-products.
In addition, the ingredients for cheap dog food can vary frequently, leaving dogs at a higher risk of developing allergies and stomach issues.
Regardless of which items show up first on an ingredient list, there are additional ingredients you’ll always want to avoid. These include:
- Artificial preservatives including BHT, BHA, and Sodium Nitrite. (To a dog’s horror, these increase a canine’s risk of developing health problems including cancer.)
- Artificial flavors such as corn syrup.
- Artificial colors and dyes
- Artificial fillers including rice bran, corn bran, and wheat mill run.
Honing in on the last item, artificial fillers are frequently added to increase bulk. For the producer, adding artificial fillers can drastically reduce production costs. However, artificial fillers present low nutritional value for puppies and dogs alike.
Where can I Find High-Quality Dog Food?
You’ll likely want to avoid getting dog food from your local Supermarket.
Many Supermarket brands include additives that actually disturb a dog’s physiology.
However, this isn’t to say there are no good dog foods in your nearby Supermarket.
If you’re unsure about a brand, simply look for the AAFCO label followed by a thorough scan of the ingredient list.
Pet stores are one option for buying local, while still increasing your chances of landing your dog a healthy and delicious meal.
Again, even though you’re purchasing from a place that cares about pets, it never hurts to still do your own research and double-check that ingredient list.
You can also make sure the food doesn’t contain any ingredients you may know your dog is already allergic to.
If you prefer having dog food arrive right to your doorstep, shopping online is an option many dog parents are choosing today.
When you are ready to order, we offer a variety of excellent kibbles designed to keep your pal happy and healthy.
The All Stage Dog Food, for example, guarantees Omega-3s and 6s for a healthy skin and coat. Artificial colors and flavors are banned, and it’s all mixed and packaged in Ohio and New York.
If your dog prefers something more specific, you can also bring home adult weight loss dog food, grain-free dog food, cans of scrumptious kibble, and more.
Q. Is more expensive dog food really better?
Typically if the price tag is higher, then the ingredients are higher-quality too. However, it’s always important to read the ingredient list to ensure wholesome ingredients are listed first.
Q. What is a good quality dog food?
All Stage Dog Food from Life’s Abundance is a fantastic, high-quality dog food. Each serving includes nutrients that bost a healthy skin and coat while avoiding artificial colors and flavors.
Q. Does quality dog food make a difference?
Yes. A high-quality dog food enhances a dog’s skin and coat, improves gut health, aids in growth and muscle development, and builds up the immune system. Plus, it provides more positive energy while improving a dog’s physical health and overall quality of life.
Q. What is the best most affordable dog food?
You get great bang for your buck with the Small/Medium Breed Puppy Food from Life’s Abundance. Each bag is wholesome, delicious, and supports healthy development in growing pups.
The quality of dog food you are providing your puppy is something that directly impacts how your dog will develop and grow.
So to ensure your furry friend enjoys the best life possible, consider what nutrition your dog is getting today.
Does it include wholesome ingredients while avoiding artificial junk?
Or if you are still waiting to bring home your perfect little pupper, VIP Puppies is ready to provide you with the lovable, furry friend you’ve been waiting for.
Browse our current selection of new puppies for sale here!
We’re glad you are here.
Thanks for being a part of this puppy-loving community.
Cheers to keeping your dog happy with good, nutritious food!
The Difference Between (n.d.). Dog Food Insider. Retrieved from https://www.dogfoodinsider.com/difference-high-quality-low-quality-dog-food/.
What is the Difference (2016). Designerdogsonline. Retrieved from https://designerdogsonline.com/what-is-the-difference-between-premium-and-cheap-dog-food/.
Dr. Heather Venkat has been a veterinarian since 2013, working in companion animal medicine with dogs and cats, as well as veterinary public health. Her passion is in prevention, One Health, and strengthening the human-animal bond. A bonafide animal-lover, she competes in dog sports and currently shares her home with a border collie mix named Luna, three cats, and two leopard geckos.