All about dog food

One of the first things I suggest is taking a closer look at your dog’s diet. Just as with humans; a nutritious and additive-free diet can make us feel and behave better.

The website www.allaboutdogfood.co.uk is a brilliant resource for finding the food you prefer for your dog. You can search by your dog’s weight and age, daily budget, and preferred processing style (such as dry baked or cold-pressed). You can choose a food to exclude certain allergens or that aims to support certain conditions. You can also take a look at your current food and see a clear nutrition score and the daily cost.

Some things to consider when choosing a dog food

Buy a small amount to try. Many dogs have a sensitive stomach and for reasons unknown to us, simply don’t get on with certain brands.

Dry foods are convenient but are highly processed. Cold-pressed and semi-moist might be slightly better at preserving some natural proteins and enzymes. Canned food is sterilised briefly, but is perhaps less processed than dry food. Fresh foods are going to be the best in terms of nutrition quality and resemble a natural diet for dogs. Raw has something of a cult following, it's been a long time since the domestic dog ate raw meat; they have lived with humans for hundreds of years, relying on our cooked scraps, and developed enzymes along the way, to digest our higher grain content diets. Researchers found that compared to wolves, domesticated dogs had many more copies of the gene that codes for the enzyme that breaks down starch. Raw could have a higher risk of contamination; something to consider if there are pregnant women and frail or young people in the home.

MSM can cause stomach distress. Glucosamine is often added to help joints and it is brilliant, however, MSM (Methylsulfonylmethane) can cause stomach aches, which might be difficult to detect in your dog, and is possibly best avoided. Remember that if your dog food already contains glucosamine you may not need to add a supplement to your dog's diet.

Gluten-free options often add starches, such as potato starch. This acts as resistant starch and can cause IBS like symptoms such as gas and diarrhoea. Go cautiously and observe your dog for any changes. Other additives which are detrimental to IBS are FOS (Frustoolgisacchardides).

Consider heavy metals. Game and venison are shot with lead shot. It is supposed to be being phased out but this is taking a long time. In the meantime, these meats can be high in lead. There is no safe level of lead, it is toxic.

Fish is also problematic in that it can be rich in heavy metals and other environmental toxins. It is rich in omega 3 oils and is, therefore, an important component of a dog's diet, however, it might be a good idea to mix up the main sources of protein to come from (free-range) farmed animals such as beef, lamb, and poultry.

How easy is the food to purchase? Would you prefer to pay a little more but have it delivered with your supermarket shopping, or are you happy to buy it from a specialist pet retailer?

Consider where the meat is sourced. British farming standards are considered to have higher welfare standards than other countries.

Dry Foods that cost less than £0.80 per day that score above 70% in nutrition

Lily’s Kitchen and Butchers. These brands have good nutritional profiles but come in a slightly higher price per day than the aforementioned brands, but are convenient to pick up with your shopping.

Bakers, Asda Hero and Tesco, whilst convenient to purchase, might not be the best value interms of nutrition and cost per day.

At the top end of the budget, some brands that are above 90% in the nutritional score are Gentle, Pure, Acana, Marleybones, and Natures Harvest. Butternut Box is a fresh dog food delivered directly, which has an excellent nutritional profile. As an IMDT trainer, I can offer you a discount on your purchase via this link: https://butternutbox.com/AnnaWilde

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