Here is Whole Dog Journal's Approved Dry Dog Foods List for 2010. All these products meet our selection criteria - including our newest criterion, that the company discloses the name and location of its manufacturers. Today's dog owners have more and more choices of better-quality foods including many featuring organic or "wild" ingredients.
What's the best food for your dog? It's a question that only you can answer - because you are the only one who is in a position to gauge, on a daily, monthly, and yearly basis, how your dog responds to what you feed him. That said, we can give you some tips to guide you into the right section of your local pet supply store - that is, past the lowest-cost, lowest-quality foods; past the higher-cost but still low-quality posers; and into the area where the top-quality foods are found. Take note: They are expensive, perhaps prohibitively so, especially for families with several large dogs to feed. But you can't expect to pay hamburger prices for filet mignon, and it's the quality (and thus price) of the ingredients that set the top-quality foods apart. Dry food is not the healthiest diet for your dog. If you want to provide the very best, most natural diet possible for your dog, you'd feed a well-researched, home-prepared diet comprised of fresh foods. Or, next best, a well-formulated, commercially made frozen raw or dehydrated diet. Next best would be a top-quality wet food; even poor quality wet foods usually contain a higher percentage of animal protein (and a much lower percentage of grain) than good dry foods. Of all of these forms of dog food, kibble is probably the least natural for the dog. But its popularity is mainly based on three factors: It is relatively stable and therefore very convenient for the owner to buy, store, and feed. It's usually less expensive, calorie for calorie, than other forms of food with comparative ingredients. And most dogs do fine on a dry food diet.
This is absolutely not an excuse, but do us a favor and look at the incredible accumulation of minute facts about dog foods that appeared in the February issue and in this one; it may have been inevitable that we made a few small mistakes. We apologize for any inconvenience we have caused through the following errors and/or oversights.
Last month's issue contained our annual review of dry dog foods, but with an exception from our usual format: This year, we decided to break out grain-free dry dog foods from the increasingly populated and competitive pack of terrific kibbled products on the market. We did not review them in the February issue, but will discuss grain-free foods at length here. In 2005, Natura Pet Products was the first pet food company to manufacture and market a grain-free kibble, which was initially called Innova Evo (and is now called simply Evo). The success of the product, in the market and with many of the dogs fed the diet, sparked a proliferation of grain-free foods. We were able to find more than a dozen companies that currently offer one or more grain-free foods that meet our selection criteria.
the consumer wins. I've long appreciated companies that have educated personnel readily available and willing to communicate with consumers about their products. It's even better when the company has a veterinarian available who can discuss the company's products and a consumer's dog's digestion or other health problems in detail.
Not all that long ago, selecting a dry food for your dog was pretty simple. What brand (singular) did your local pet supply store carry? What size bag did you want? And would you like some help out with that, ma'am? Today, making a choice of dry foods can be immensely more complex that is, if you buy into the notion that not all gcomplete and balancedh diets are equal.
As we have described in our annual food reviews since 1998, this task starts with top-quality ingredients. To mix a metaphor, you really can’t make a silk purse out of sows’ ears, chicken heads, bovine tumors, restaurant grease, rendered fat from animals that died on farms, and cheap grain by-products left over from the human food manufacturing industry.
The idea is shocking to many dog owners: Their dog's food can make him sick? Of course it can all foods, whether intended for humans or pets, can be dangerous if they were improperly manufactured or stored. It's interesting, however, how few people suspect their dog's food when he becomes ill, especially if they have been feeding the same food for years and years.
How do you select your dog’s food? Do you buy what your favorite veterinarian tells you to buy? Grab whatever is on sale? Feed what your dog’s breeder sent him to you with? Allow your dog to sniff the bags in the pet supply superstore and choose the one he spends the most time with? For shame! None of these methods gives your dog his best chance at eating top-quality food.
You should be pleased; commercial food makers are producing more good quality products. But you still have to choose the one that’s best for your dog.
How to recognize good foods, bad foods, and the food that’s just right for your dog. (Brace yourself: we’re going to name names.)