Features February 2015 Issue

Your Dog's Diet: A Dry Food Discussion

Whether you're committed to kibble for your dog’s diet or feed it intermittently, you should know how to select the right dry food.

pet food aisle

© Murdock2013 | Dreamstime.com

You know the old expression, “It’s better to teach someone to fish than it is to give them a fish”? We’re ardent advocates of this approach. We would far rather teach a dog owner how to identify the good, better, and best dry dog foods available to her than to tell her which food is “best” for her dog. But there is one giant obstacle in the way of our teachin’ fishin’ mission.

The obstacle has to do with human nature: An awful lot of you would prefer for us to just give you a fish – that is, you’d rather we just told you which food you should buy for your dog.

It’s a compelling concept, but only if you don’t think about it very deeply. Consider this: Imagine that there was an entire grocery store that sold only dry cereal, canned stew, and frozen dinners, and each and every product in the store was a “complete and balanced” meal that contained at least the minimum amount (and perhaps a lot more) of protein, fat, carbs, vitamins, and minerals that a human needs each day. Cool, huh? Now, what if we told you that you and everyone you know – your elderly parents, your shellfish-allergic spouse, your toddler son, your lactose-intolerant daughter, your pregnant niece, your professional-athlete cousin, your obese uncle, your diabetic aunt, everyone – should eat nothing but the Wheaties, because honestly, we think it’s best. We eat Wheaties, and it’s complete and balanced, so you should, too.

That would be weird, right? But it’s the same as thinking we could tell anyone which specific food, or even which whole line of foods from any given manufacturer, is “best” for his or her dog.

Dogs are just as individual as humans. Some stay healthiest on a high-protein, lower-fat food. Some thrive on an Atkins-style, high-protein, high-fat diet. Some get the runs when they eat fish. Grain makes some of them extremely gassy. And so on.

Also, the food we like the best may not be available in your state, or in the store where it’s most convenient for you to shop. And you may not be able to afford a certain food. Not everyone can afford to pay for “the best” food on the market if there are several big dogs in their family.

So, instead of giving you fish – that is, telling you which company’s products or which specific food is “best” for your dog – we’re going to encourage you to try your hand at fishing, instead. We’re going to explain how you can tell which foods in your favorite pet-supply store, in your price range, are the products with the best potential for being good for your dog. Then we will tell you how to determine whether they are “working” for your dog. Okay? So let’s get started - to read the extensive list of approved dry dog food companies that meet all of the Whole Dog Journal's selection criteria, look no further than the "Whole Dog Journal's Approved Dry Dog Foods List 2015."

Comments (1)

Can anyone comment about how one should go about switching dog foods? After reading this and finally selecting a better quality dry dog food to switch to, I am left wondering, do I go "cold turkey" with this? There is no discussion that I can find about how to go about this.

Also, I have always filled my pooch's bowl with the kibble and let him eat his fill, but can I do (or not do) that with these higher quality kibbles? He is in fine shape and I don't want that to change.

I feel like I need to have these practical questions answered as I attempt to make the switch and am disappointed that these topics have not been covered!

Posted by: LandsendLI | February 24, 2015 11:51 AM    Report this comment

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