How to Choose a Dry Dog Food

Two Parts:Choosing what suits your dogWhat does your dog actually need?

Choosing dry dog food is not necessarily easy. There are many brands and a wide range of choices of grades of food. If you're feeling a little flummoxed, consider some of the following suggestions for helping you to choose dry dog food.

Part 1
Choosing what suits your dog

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    Be aware that there is no such thing as "the best dry dog food". Rather, the best dry food is the one that suits you dog's particular needs, both in terms of nutrients and what your dog enjoys eating. This means reading labels and doing some trial and error testing.
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    Try to find a list of non-commercial brands (because they tend to be the cheapest). Then, assuming that they do a Basic/Budget food, a Premium food and a Super Premium food, start your dog on the Super Premium. If that doesn't suit your dog, then try the same brand's Premium food and if that doesn't work either, then try the brand's Basic/Budget food. When you discover the food your dog likes the best, stick with it.
    • The important thing is to start with the best level and move down. The idea being that, as you work your way through the brand's range (Super Premium quality first), you'll eventually find one that really suits your dog. Plus, it'll help you avoid getting totally confused hopping back and forth between different brands!
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    Look for a brand that has a wide range. This means looking for a range of foods at different prices (i.e. Super Premium, Premium and Basic). This will make your testing much easier.
    • If none of your chosen brand's foods suit your dog, then move on to another non-commercial brand that offers foods in different price brackets, and go through exactly the same process.
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    Try to get hold of samples. See whether it's possible for the brands to send you samples rather than you having to spend ridiculous amounts of money on big bags of food.

Part 2
What does your dog actually need?

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    Understand what the added ingredients in Premium and Super Premium dry dog foods actually mean for your dog. You'll notice that in comparison to a brand's Basic/Budget food, the Premium and Super Premium foods have some great sounding bonus additions like herbs (which add to the taste and are said to aid digestion) or Glucosamine, Condroitin and MSM (which are believed to be beneficial to your dog's joints). There are other additional bonus ingredients to be found in the more expensive foods, but they're too numerous to mention. The thing to remember about these additional bonus ingredients is that whilst it's nice to have them in your dog's food if your budget will stretch to it, they are definitely not essential, unless your dog's vet has said your dog needs them.
    • These are the things that may benefit your dog but are equally likely to be of absolutely no additional benefit whatsoever. A case in point here is that whilst many people truly believe that Glucosamine, Condroitin and MSM are great for their dogs' mobility (and maybe they are in some cases), there's still no absolutely conclusive scientific evidence to back this up and their effectiveness seems to be different for every dog.
    • In a nutshell, it's a mistake to think that a particular brand's Basic/Budget food is markedly inferior to its Premium and Super Premium foods. In many cases it just means that the Basic/Budget food only has the (essential) ingredients that a dog definitely needs, without the bonus additional items - which your dog may not have the slightest need for.
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    If your dog has known allergies, it's probably more important to pay attention to whether a food is hypo-allergenic. Even then, it's not wise to get too hung up on this question unless your dog actually shows real, observable and measurable signs of a dietary intolerance. There isn't any value in trying to preempt a problem - just be guided by your vet if it happens - which hopefully it won't!


  • Some dog owners prefer not to feed their dogs grain products or gluten within the dry dog food.[1] However, unless your dog is allergic to grains, you can be reassured that dogs can digest this with ease.
  • Check the pet food label to see what nutritional value is being provided by that product.

Article Info

Categories: Feeding Dogs