This is one of the most important questions you should be asking, not just when you first get a puppy, but throughout your dog’s entire life. What food your dog eats is critical to their health, and you should be well-versed in the different types of food, how they impact your dog, and what things you should be avoiding. Just like human food, you cannot always trust what is on the label, and you will need to do your own research to really understand what is best for your dog. Here, we have compiled some information to help you make the best decision about what foods to feed to your dog.
What should I feed my small dog?
It may go without say, but small dogs have very different nutritional needs than large dogs, so it is very important to be sure that when you are purchasing dog food you pay attention to what type of dog it is best for. Small dogs are classified as those whose adult weight will be under 20 pounds. These dogs have a small stomach and generally have a higher rate of metabolism than larger dogs, so they need food specially designed for their digestion. Additionally, smaller dogs have smaller mouths, which means they can only handle eating food that is small enough to be munched on with their little teeth and jaws.
According to Dog Food Advisor, the following are the best foods to feed your small dog.
Eagle Pack Small Breed Dry Dog Food
This formula is a budget-friendly option that is also nutrient-rich and is free of artificial flavors and colors. The best part of Eagle Pack dry dog food is that their products do not include any meat or poultry by-products. By-products, or parts of the animal that humans do not typically consume, can often cause allergies in dogs and are far less nutritious than whole meat. This dry dog food contains chicken meal, pork meal, oatmeal, barley, and brown rice. As a small breed food, this is a good choice for both puppies and adults.
Instinct Original Small Breed Recipe with Real Chicken
With real chicken, the Instinct Original Small Breed dog food contains a very good source of protein, calories and fat, which is an ideal combination for your small breed dog. We always recommend feeding your dog foods whose first ingredients are meat (as opposed to foods whose first ingredients are grain). This dog food is great for this, as it contains cage-free chicken and is ideal for developing strong muscles in small dogs. This food includes chicken, chickpeas, turkey meal and tapioca.
Taste of the Wild Appalachian Valley Small Breed Recipe
Specifically made for small breed adult dogs, Taste of the Wild Appalachian Valley is a grain-free food that contains a lot of protein. Unusually, this dog food includes chicory root, which is insulin-rich and can be used as a probiotic to promote healthy digestive tract bacteria. This is very important for your dog’s health, as the production of healthy bacteria in the digestive tract will help fight against infection and food allergies. This food includes real venison, lamb meal, garbanzo beans, and peas.
Wellness Core Grain-Free Small Breed Turkey and Chicken
Grain-free is the winner here. Wellness Core brand dog food has both protein and calories for small dogs, which can help them maintain their weight and a healthy metabolism. Especially good for high-energy dogs, this dry dog food support high energy levels and helps dogs develop lean muscles. The best part about this dog food is that it is filler-free, which means that your dog gets only the best nutrients possible. This food contains turkey, turkey meal, chicken meal, potatoes, and peas.
Nulo Freestyle Small Breed Salmon and Red Lentils
Salmon and red lentils sound so fancy for your small dog, and this food is sure to deliver. The Nulo Freestyle brand has specialized nutrients that will support your small dog’s metabolism and high energy levels. It even has unique ingredients such as blueberries and apples, which means it packs a ton of vitamins in each scoopful. This food includes salmon, turkey meal, menhaden fish meal, lamb meal, and red lentils.
What should I feed my medium-sized dog?
Medium size dogs are some of the most popular breeds of dogs in the United States and include Bulldogs, Corgis and Cocker Spaniels. These dogs weigh between 20 and 50 pounds as adults and vary in size, shape, and energy level.
According to Dog Food Guru, here are the best foods for your medium-sized dog.
Victor Yukon River Salmon and Sweet Potato Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
More than 80 percent of Victor Yukon’s ingredients come from a 200-mile radius of their facility, meaning their food is American-grown and processed. This food is free of corn, wheat, soy, gluten and grain by-products. They have a variety of foods for medium-sized dogs, including those for active dogs, sporting dogs, and highly active dogs.
Fromm Adult Gold Dog Food
This Adult Gold food includes duck, chicken meal and chicken, which is ideal for both growth and maintenance in medium dogs. There is no corn, wheat or soy in this food and is an especially good source of probiotics.
ACANA Wild Prairie Regional Formula Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
This dog food is ideal for medium dogs, and contains 60 percent meat and fish from local sources. With chicken meal, peas, turkey meal and chicken liver oil, this food has an excellent reputation, especially for active dogs.
VeRUS Puppy Advantage
Specially designed to help medium-sized puppies grow, this chicken meal, oats and brown rice food is ideal for brain development. It also contains a probiotic that promotes healthy digestion, and is antibiotic-free.
Annamaet Ultra Formula
This food is great for puppies and performance dogs and contains a high amount of calcium to help puppies grow. With chicken meal, brown rice and chicken fat, it’s a great source of omega-3 fatty acid.
What should I feed my large dog?
There are two types of food for large breed dogs: those that are for puppies, and those that are for adults. If you feed your dog the wrong type of food, it could have serious future consequences, including permanent bone damage and hip dysplasia. According to Dog Food Advisor, large breed puppies do not reach adulthood until 12 to 18 months of age, and giant breeds can take up to 24 months before they are considered adults. This is why it is so important to make sure you are feeding your dog the correct food (puppy vs. adult).
Here are the best dog foods for your large breed puppy.
Blue Buffalo Wilderness Puppy Large Breed
To help fight against hip and elbow dysplasia, Blue Buffalo puppy food has a high protein content and low carbohydrate content to help promote healthy, consistent growth. This food includes deboned chicken, chicken meal, peas, pea protein, and tapioca starch.
Holistic Select Large and Giant Breed Puppy
Best for your young large and giant breed, this growth-promoting food has high protein and average fat contents. This mix of ingredients helps keep your puppy’s metabolism stable and will keep their energy high. This food includes lamb meal, chicken meal, potatoes and chickpeas.
Horizon Complete Large Breed Puppy
This dry food is great for all puppies, including large breeds. With a good mix of proteins, fats and carbs, Horizon Complete will help your puppy maintain healthy and steady growth. This food includes chicken meal, whole grain barley, whole grain oats and whole grain rye.
Hill’s Science Diet Large Breed Puppy
For all puppies including large breeds, Hill’s Science provides you with dry dog food that promotes healthy growth and a whole grain diet. Ingredients include chicken meal, whole grain wheat, whole grain oats and corn gluten meal.
Instinct Raw Boost Large Breed Puppy
This mix of high-protein kibble and freeze-dried raw meat is an ideal way to promote a grain-free diet and puppy growth. This solid mix of proteins and fats includes chicken, turkey meal, peas, chickpeas and eggs.
Here are the best dog foods for your large breed adult dog.
Now Fresh Large Breed Adult Dog Food
This dry dog food contains a healthy mix of protein, fat and carbohydrates, which will help your dog maintain a healthy weight through adulthood. Now Fresh dog food contains turkey, dried egg, potatoes and peas.
Merrick Backcountry Raw Infused Large Breed Adult
This dog food is especially high in protein, which helps dogs maintain their energy and build strong muscles. With about 20% fat and 30% carbohydrates, this well-rounded dry dog food will help your large breed dog stay strong and lean. This food includes deboned chicken, chicken meal, turkey meal, peas and potatoes.
Earthborn Holistic Grain-Free Large Breed Adult
This dog food is pretty standard as far as its combination of proteins, fats and carbohydrates, but where it really excels is that it is grain-free. Being grain-free means it is less likely to contain fillers, which have no nutritional value for your dog. The Earthborn Holistic Grain-Free dog food contains chicken meal, peas, tapioca, chicken fat and ground flaxseed.
Blue Buffalo Wilderness Rocky Mountain Large Breed Red Meat
Blue Buffalo may be among the most easily-recognizable dog food brands on the market today, and for good reason. This meaty food contains a good portion of protein and low carbohydrates to help your dog maintain energy and build strong muscles. This dog food includes deboned beef, chicken meal, tapioca starch and peas.
Wild Frontier Beef and Wild Boar Large Breed Recipe
This wild boar dog food for large breed adult dogs has an above average protein content and is low in fat, which is ideal for large, adult dogs. It comes highly recommended and includes beef, split peas, pork meal, chicken meal and dried potatoes.
What should I feed my senior dog?
Possibly the most important time to pay attention to your dog’s food is when they entered seniority. In order to maintain a well-balanced diet, they will need a lot of fiber and low calories. According to The Dog Digest, here are the best foods for your senior dog.
Dr. Tim’s Dog Food All Life Stages Formula
This plant-based food is high in protein and is perfect for dogs who are less active. Interestingly, this dog food includes slow-cooked kibble, which means it is easily digestible. This is ideal for senior dogs who may be suffering from illnesses. With pre- and probiotics to boost the immune system, this is a great food to feed your senior dog.
Innova Senior Dog Food
All of Innova’s dog foods and products contain grains, meats and vegetables, for a well-balanced meal for your dog. Many products also contain chicken meal, which is great for older dogs. This food includes turkey, chicken, whole grain barley and brown rice.
Earthborn Holistic Primitive Natural
This grain-free dog food comes highly rated, with an excellent source of protein from both turkey and chicken meal. This food is protein-packed, as it also has egg product and chicken fat with whitefish meal. With a good amount of omega fatty acids, your senior dog will have plenty of energy to get through their day.
Evo Herring and Salmon Formula
This food is, interestingly, rich in cottage cheese and contains a high amount of proteins and a low amount of lactose. It also contains chicory root, which is great for senior dogs because it is full of insulin. Insulin can act as a prebiotic, which can help your senior dog have a healthy digestive tract. The chelated minerals that have been added to the meat make it much easier for senior dogs to digest.
Instinct by Nature’s Variety Original Grain-Free Recipe with Real Chicken
This dry food has a high protein count, which will help promote strong muscles in senior dogs. It does not contain any grains, potato, corn, wheat or soy and has guaranteed natural probiotics. The combination of high animal meal and vegetables will helps senior dogs maintain their healthy skin and coats.
Regardless of your dog's breed or age, it is very important to do a lot of research on the type of food that will be best for your dog. Take into consideration your dogs activity level and any potential health concerns, and make an educated decision.