Finding the healthiest dog food brands is an essential part of being a pet parent. As a dog owner, it is your responsibility to make sure that what you are giving your pet provides the best nutrition for him or her. There are thousands of dog food brands in the market aside from the variety of pet food products that they sell in the market. All of them claim to provide high quality nutrition and ingredients and so it can be quite difficult to really point out which one is good for your dog.
With the recent pet food recalls and melamine scandals, it is important to know which companies are reliable sources for your pet’s health. You want to make sure that when you give pet food to your dog, you don’t have to worry about poisoning or low quality food product that mostly contains fillers and even non-food items. When you give your dog a healthy diet, you will also be the one reaping its rewards. You will enjoy better companionship since a healthy dog is smarter, more emotionally balanced, and will also be more physically fit for any activity.
Standards for determining healthy pet food
Since dogs have a different biological make-up than humans, they also require a different set of standards in terms of their diet. If you are not that familiar with a dog’s dietary needs then you need to learn that dogs are basically carnivorous although they also eat a small percentage of fruits and vegetables.
You also need to take other factors into consideration when choosing the brand of dog food for your pet. Here are some things that you need to check before purchasing any type of dog food:
- It should have a specific type of meat as its first ingredient. The food ingredients indicated at the back label of your pet food are listed according to the volume of their content with the first one being the most abundant. Since dogs are primarily carnivorous, their diet should then have a high percentage of meat protein. A named source ensures that you are getting fresh muscle meat and not just any type of meat such as road kill or animal by-products.
- It should not contain any cheap fillers or grains. Even though dogs can eat a small amount of carbohydrates, not all types of carbohydrates are good for them. Grains as well as other types of commercial cellulose products are not an ideal part of a dog’s diet. The starch in them can cause yeast infections and even bloating and gas which can be particularly hard for your dog.
- It should come from a reliable company. This simply means that the brand has not any serious recall problems in the past. A pet food company should be able to maintain high standards on the processing and manufacturing of their pet food that they should have none to a small pet food recall only.
- It should not contain artificial preservatives, additives, colorings, etc. One of the best ways to know if a pet food product is cheap and has poor nutritional value is when it makes use of artificial ingredients. This is due to the fact that they are cheaper to buy and can give them huge profits in return. If you see an ingredient which is not familiar or is too scientific or technical sounding, chances are they are non-natural food items which had been added to provide bulk.
Now that you know what things to look out for in pet food products, it is now time to see what the best brands are that you can buy for your dog. Take note however that just like with any other types of products the higher quality items are often more expensive and even harder to get. Be ready therefore to prepare a significant part of your budget for pet food if you want to buy them.
Orijen – This is the top brand in the list of dog food products in the market due to its high quality and high protein content (as much as 42%) as well as the natural added ingredients that provide additional nutritional benefits for your pet.
Orijen makes use of different sources of meat protein in one single product alone. You can have as much as five different types of meat with all of them using boneless meat as an ingredient. The company also makes use of non-traditional meat sources such as wild boar making them ideal for dogs with allergies. There are other reasons why you should choose Orijen as well:
- Natural and free-range animal sources with no antibiotics and artificial growth boosters.
- All products are grain-free.
- They have healthy added ingredients such as chelated minerals, probiotics, and healthy botanical ingredients that provide additional nutrients for your pet.
- Ingredients are locally sources so you are assured of fresh and high quality meats and produce.
Acana – This brand is also produced by the same manufacturers that create Orijen and the main difference is that Acana has lower protein content and they also have a grain ingredient. This does not mean however that it is automatically lower in quality and is not an ideal pet food. Acana makes use of named meat sources, meat meals, potatoes, and steel-cut oats as a source of carbohydrate.
Although the last is a grain product, it is of high quality and is known to provide a lot of vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber. This is recommended if you want high quality pet food which is not as expensive as Orijen.
This company is also known for spearheading the idea of biologically appropriate dog food which is heavy on the animal protein source and less carbohydrate content. Some of the advantages of buying Acana are the following:
- They make use of a high standard facility in producing their pet foods.
- Their main ingredients are meat such as chicken, turkey, geese, ducks, rabbit, and flounder which are all locally sourced from Canada.
- All ingredients are delivered fresh into their facilities so you are guaranteed high nutritional content and no added preservatives.
ZiwiPeak dog food – This brand is made in New Zealand which is one of the best sources of wholesome meat products in the market. Their products are dehydrated dog foods and their ingredients are mostly made of named meat sources. They make use of natural air-drying methods to produce their pet food. This means that there are no artificial processes and preservatives used in their products.
They are also one of the unique companies to make use of mussels to provide glucosamine and chondroitin nutrients for joint health. Their canned foods are also made with materials that are BPA-free. Some of the reasons why you should choose ZiwiPeak are the following:
- Their products contain high protein content with the first five ingredients usually made from animal protein.
- They do not use artificial ingredients and preservatives in their products.
- Their animal proteins come from free-range and grass fed cattle and livestock with no antibiotics and artificial hormones used.
- Their products have never been recalled.
- Since their products are dehydrated, a small amount can already provide large amounts of nutrients per volume compared to wet food products.
Addiction – This brand is the best brand for pets with allergies and hypersensitivities to common food ingredients. Addiction is produced in New Zealand and they make use of the local wild animals hence there is less risk for a food allergy to occur.
You will find non-traditional meat sources listed as ingredients including kangaroo, venison, and buffalo. Addiction makes use of dehydration to produce their products and which does not significantly affect the nutritional content of their products. Their other advantages include:
- No grain fillers so you are guaranteed a high quality meal with little carbohydrates.
- The source of ingredients is one of the cleanest and healthiest environments on earth.
- Free-range and grass-fed animals are used.
- Their unique animal protein source poses lesser risk of triggering an allergic reaction on your pet.
Eagle Pack dog food – Eagle Pack is a good source of protein and other nutrients for your pet especially if you are looking for a product that does not have a lot of allergenic ingredients. Their products are quite unique in that they are developed with the assistance of veterinarians and dog trainers which guarantees only the best and safest ingredients for your pet’s food. They have also included probiotic ingredients which aid in the digestion of the food.
The brand however is somewhat of a specialty product that cannot be found in the usual groceries and department stores. But finding them is definitely worth the effort for the following reasons:
- They make use of high quality meat protein sources such as turkey, lamb, chicken, and beef.
- The company does not make use of animal by-products, artificial preservatives and colorings, flavorings, and corn or wheat in their pet foods.
- Eagle Pack has never had a pet food recall which is a good indication of their high quality control standards.
- They make use of high quality sources of carbohydrates such as brown rice, barley, and oatmeal.
Back to Basics – This is a recommended pet food for those who want a limited ingredient product for their dog’s allergies or food sensitivities. The company creates meat-based products with little to no carbohydrate ingredients which is really good for your pet.
Their principle in creating their pet food is that it should reflect with what the original ancestors of dogs would eat in the wild.
Thus, they have also included meat organs as these are often consumed together with the carcass of animals. They make use of high quality meat ingredients such as turkey meat, lamb, and salmon as the basic ingredient of their pet foods. Other benefits of buying this brand include:
- They are grain-free products which mean lesser allergies and food sensitivities.
- They add organ meats to their pet food which is a great source of other nutrients such as vitamins and minerals.
- They offer limited ingredient products which is ideal for pets that need to be on a strict diet.
The Honest Kitchen – This is the best brand to buy if you emphasize on “human grade” food being served for your pets. The company makes use of manufacturing plants that implements standards made for processing food for human consumption. Thus, you are assured that you will be giving safe and clean pet food products for your companion. They promise to deliver whole and natural food ingredients that are guaranteed to be safe and nutrient-dense for your pet.
If you take a look at the list of ingredients for their products, you will notice that they are made with what you can usually find in a human diet as well. Other reasons why you should choose this brand are:
- They emphasize meat based products with no fillers at all.
- The company does not use animal by-products as an ingredient.
- They use high quality carbohydrate sources such as quinoa and potatoes.
- Food products are not that processed so you can still see whole meats and vegetables when you open their products.
Earthborn dog food – This company is based in Indiana and sources all their ingredients from the US. They offer grain-free and meat based foods with high quality animal meat sources as main ingredients. Although they make use of some grains, they are often of high quality and GMO-free.
Their main sources of carbohydrates are potatoes and sweet potatoes which contain a large amount of nutrients as well as fiber. Why should you buy Earthborn products?
- The company has not had any pet food recalls at all.
- Their products contain a high percentage of meat protein.
- They have nutritious carbohydrate ingredients such as apples, carrots, and blueberry and cranberry fiber.
Primal dog food – This brand is recommended for pet owners who prefer a raw dog food diet for their pets. Their locally grown and organic ingredients make them an unbeatable candidate for raw dog foods. The company offers a wide range of raw dog food products such as raw formulas, mixes, and frozen grinds to provide your dog with what can be considered as their original diet in the wild. With their products processed in human grade food facilities, you are guaranteed safe and healthy foods for your pet.
You should also purchase Primal dog food if you value the following:
- They have a wide range of raw food products ranging from dehydrated meals to organic chew bones for your pet.
- The company uses organic ingredients only from their meat ingredients to the added herbs, fruits, and vegetables which contain natural antioxidants to preserve their products.
- They use healthy ingredients such as organic coconut oil, kelp, celery, sunflower seeds, collard greens, apple cider vinegar, quinoa, pumpkin seeds, ginger, etc.
Halo dog food – Last, but not the least, is this brand which is co-owned by Ellen DeGeneres. This is a wholesome dog food product that guarantees that your dog is getting the important nutrients that it needs without the artificial preservatives that can usually be found in commercial dog food.
The best thing about this product is that it is based on a home-cooked dog meal that the owner personally prepared for her own pets. You will surely be buying these foods for the following reasons:
- They make use of organic ingredients which means less pesticides and artificial components in your dog’s food.
- They contain moisture from vegetable and meat broth which means you don’t have to worry about your dog getting dehydrated.
- You are getting a set of healthy meat and vegetable sources on their products.
Feeding your dog with the right balance of food nutrients is very easy when you buy from the best pet food brands in the market. Not all companies that offer “complete nutrition” on their labels can actually deliver the high quality nutrition that dog needs for a healthy life. Some of these brands contain a lot of fillers and unhealthy preservatives and additives which not only damage your pet’s body but also lessen the nutritional content of the pet food itself. If you are conscious about the quality of pet food that you buy, then make sure that you are buying from a reliable company.
You will know a high quality pet food brand or company through the type of ingredients that they use in their products. Do they make use of cheap ingredients such as corn, wheat, and soy products to boost the caloric or protein content of their product? Does the company make use of organic and antibiotic-free animal meat sources? Do they use high-grade facilities for their pet food production? Are their products locally sourced?
These questions will help you determine if you are buying from a good company or not and if you are still not sure, then just check the list of their ingredients at the back.