What 12 Different Veterinarians Say About Choosing The Best Dog Food

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This guide is a compilation of different vet information about dog food from different sources on the internet.

Note that some of this information is a direct quote, and some is paraphrased. We are a third party, and this information doesn’t represent the views, opinions or professional advice of these vets.

Also note that this feedback is for general information purposes, and is not to be taken as professional advice, or a substitute for professional advice. Seek out the advice of your own pet/s’ vet about their health, food consumption, and nutrition.

 

What Different Veterinarians Say About Choosing Dog Food

Note that the vets below are from different countries such as Australia, the US, etc. – they may have different qualifications, refer to different standards, and so on. There are some common principles they share that apply to dogs and dog food generally though.

 

Summary – What Different Vets Say About Dog Food

Some of the common guidelines shared might be:

  • Make sure the food is nutritionally complete and balanced
  • Don’t overfeed your dog – obesity and weight related problems are more common than people think
  • There isn’t a single dog food product or diet that suits all dogs – dogs are individuals and you should speak to a vet to see what might be the best food and diet for your individual dog/s
  • There’s a difference between what fully healthy dogs might eat, and dogs with health conditions or problems
  • It helps to look at the label when looking at commercial dog food – look at the first 3 ingredients in particular
  • Dogs in general might do better on a mostly meat based diet, but it depends on the dog

 

Information Shared By Different Vets About Dog Food

T. J. Dunn, Jr., DVM, at petmd.com:

  • ‘there is no single answer to the question “What is the best diet to feed a dog?” Or if there is an answer it is, “It depends”.’
  • [What is the best dog food differs between healthy dogs and dogs with health conditions]
  • [Corn listed as the first ingredient might be a red flag for a dog food product, whereas better products might have chicken, beef or lamb listed first]
  • [Meat based diets are best for healthy dogs – chicken might be the best … followed by lamb, turkey, fish, beef and venison]
  • In high quality dog foods … in the GUARANTEED ANALYSIS look for the Protein content to be at least 30 percent, the Fat to be at least 18 percent, preservatives to be via Vitamin E and/or C and look for Omega Fatty Acid to be present. 
  • Optimum nutrition demands that protein, fat, carbohydrate and micronutrients such as minerals, vitamins, and enzymes are in balance with each other
  • In conclusion: I recommend that a dog owner look at the dog food label. Look at the ingredient list and a meat such as chicken should be listed as the first ingredient. Look at the guaranteed analysis to see that the protein level is at 30 percent or more. The fat content should be at 18 percent or more. And if there is a rather wide spectrum of ingredients such as omega fatty acids and vitamin E, that’s good, too. There should be NO FOOD COLORING!

– United States

 

Jennifer Freeman, DVM, at nbcnews.com:

  • Premium dog food will include meat for protein, vitamin-packed vegetables and fruit, and omega fatty acids for a shiny coat … [and]it’s also likely to have fewer fillers such as corn, wheat, and soy
  • … [the best dog food should also]lead to better absorption and digestion, producing dog poop that’s smaller and firmer
  • [the ingredient list is important to look at – specifically the first three ingredients … dogs tend to do best on a protein-rich, meat-based diet … but each dog is different]
  • Look for brands that specifically name the type of meat, like beef, chicken, or lamb
  • [Avoid] dog food that includes: dyes (dogs do not care what color their food is, she points out), sugar and high salt (which could be used as preservatives), as well as other solvents and preservatives like propylene glycol, BHA, BHT and ethoxyquin
  • [Organic labelled dog food in the US] is certified to be free of antibiotics, synthetic hormones, toxic pesticides and preservatives. And per the certification, its ingredients can’t be genetically engineered, grown in chemical fertilizer or irradiated
  • [Dry food might be better than wet food overall, but you may still want to top it with some wet food or a topper]
  • [Grain free diets have some worry over them]
  • To ensure you’re buying high-quality food, look for the nutrition adequacy statement

– United States

 

Heather Loenser, DVM, at rd.com:

  • [Be careful of overfeeding your dog]
  • The USDA does not consider organic foods to be safer, healthier or more nutritious than conventionally-produced foods and there isn’t data to support that organic food has long-term benefits over conventionally produced ingredients
  • The traditional veterinary and medical community is unified in not supporting raw feeding in pets
  • [The food should be] nutritionally complete and balanced for the age, activity level, and health of your dog

– United States

 

W. Jean Dodds, DVM, at rd.com:

  • Certified organic and certified non GMO are reliable labels
  • With meat by products … It all depends upon what’s in the by-product and how it was processed [but, that info isn’t usually on the label so you’ll need to call customer care and askt he manufacturer]
  • Whole grains are nutritious and healthy. However, [be careful with dogs that have] gluten intolerant and can have a predisposition to autoimmune condition

– United States

 

Ernie Ward, DVM, at rd.com:

  • There isn’t a one size fits all diet
  • Dogs are highly individualized and you have to pay attention to how your dog is doing on the diet you’re feeding
  • Make sure the diet is nutritionally adequate
  • [There’s a chance raw diets may cause nutritional inadequacies in dogs]
  • [Instead of grain free, go low grain]
  • [With dry kibble, you may want to add in fresh vegetables and even fruit – but stay away from toxic fruits]
  • [Dogs have evolved to eat bigger meals less frequently]

– United States 

 

Judy Morgan, DVM, at rd.com:

  • Highly processed foods will never offer the nutrients that you get from fresh food
  • [So, processed foods aren’t ideal]
  • [Wet/canned food might offer] higher protein and moisture content so it’s more specific to what dogs need
  • Freeze-dried or rehydrated meals offer similar benefits as frozen fresh meals [and might be healthier than kibble]
  • [Home cooked meals must be nutritionally balanced]
  • [Make sure to use kibble within 3 weeks, or to seal and roll it tightly – check the expiration date]

– United States

 

Jerry Klein, DVM, at pets.webmd.com:

  • Nutritional requirements for dogs vary by breed, size, age, and health
  • Dry food is believed to be better for a dog’s teeth. Wet food provides more moisture, which is especially helpful for those dogs that don’t drink a lot of water [but, both can be nutritious]
  • [One of the biggest problems is overfeeding dogs – feed them the right amount and the right kinds of foods … to keep them at a healthy weight]
  • [Overall, ask your vet to recommend the best food for your pup]

– United States

 

Dr. Justin Shmalberg, at nomnomnow.com, on senior dogs specifically:

  • … there is no one best senior dog food. It is important to evaluate your own dog before making adjustments to his diet because every dog (especially an older one) needs a different nutritional strategy. Just because your dog is a senior does not mean he needs senior food
  • But, a senior dog may need nutrient adjustments such as …
  • [more protein in their diet]
  • [higher or lower fat in their food]
  • [more or less fiber]
  • [lower or higher calorie density]
  • [But, always consult a vet]

– United States

 

Dr Leonie Richards, at u-vet.com.au:

  • Feed premium pet foods
  • Check for freshness
  • Dry food [might be better]than wet food [in some ways]
  • Feed the right amount
  • Avoid feeding human food
  • [Be cautious] with raw food diets

– Australia

 

Dr Leigh Davidson, at rspcapetinsurance.org.au:

  • Always consult your vet for your dog’s daily diet
  • Your dog’s diet should be ‘both complete and balanced for its stage of life, and if it has any medical issues’
  • ‘It is entirely acceptable to feed your dog a pure kibble diet. Or you can mix their diet up with some cooked or raw meat, fish, vegetables and rice’
  • ‘The amount of food your dog needs will largely depend on the size, breed and age of your dog, as well as how regularly it exercises’ 

– Australia

 

Vet Andrew Spanner, at abc.net.au:

  • [Refer to the PFIAA Australian pet food standard for foods described as complete or balanced]
  • There’s no real difference between wet and dry food
  • Cheaper brands can be adequate as long as they are complete and balanced

– Australia

 

greencrossvets.com.au (a national organisation of vets, nurses, and receptionists):

  • Home prepared meals for your dog may not always be nutritionally complete
  • Supermarket bought pet foods might provide basic nutritional needs, but might be filled with ‘cheaper ingredients like cereals, offal, and soybean’
  • Premium veterinary diets might be the best option

– Australia

 

Sources

1. https://www.u-vet.com.au/news/advice-on-feeding-your-pet-dog

2. https://www.abc.net.au/life/how-to-choose-the-right-food-for-your-dog/10182746

3. https://www.greencrossvets.com.au/choosing-best-food-dog/

4. https://www.rspcapetinsurance.org.au/pet-care/dog-care/what-should-feed-dog#:~:text=Dr%20Leigh%20from%20Your%20Vet,%2C%20fish%2C%20vegetables%20and%20rice.

5. https://www.petmd.com/dog/nutrition/evr_dg_the_best_food_for_dogs

6. https://www.nomnomnow.com/learn/pet-nutrition/senior-dog-food-guide

7. https://www.nbcnews.com/shopping/home-and-kitchen/best-dog-food-n1189551

8. https://www.rd.com/list/dog-food-brands-vets-buy/

9. https://pets.webmd.com/dogs/guide/best-dog-food-choices#1

10. https://www.rd.com/list/vets-want-you-to-know-about-dog-food/

11. https://www.rd.com/list/best-diet-for-dogs-according-to-vets/

 

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