I became passionate about canine nutrition after I lost both of my childhood dogs within 3 months of each other. Xander and Frances were on a rotation of Hill’s Science and Blue Buffalo. These were brands I thought I could trust but unfortunately they both had recalls that killed my dogs. When I adopted Lily, I wanted to ensure she always ate better than me and thanks to veterinarian’s like Dr. Barbara Royal, I learned the benefits of feeding a fresh, raw and balanced diet. Here’s the thing though, not everyone is comfortable or able to feed raw food, especially balanced. Did I also mention that dogs are bio-individual just like us, so what works for one dog may not always work for the other which is why we have so many choices!
The top questions I’m asked on a daily basis are:
What brands do you recommend?
How do I stay within my budget?
Should I be scared of DCM?
Well Mama & Papa Bears, I’m here to tell you to FEED THE BEST YOU CAN. You need to focus on the ingredients, not the brands, price tag or marketing. Overall it’s your choice to pick kibble, cooked or raw because only you know your dog best! Real food nutrition is the key to longevity so let’s talk….
KIBBLE OR DEHYDRATED
Conventional kibble is made with ingredients we as humans would never eat ourselves. They can be made from diseased animals or have way too many synthetics. Stop focusing on “Grain-Free” or “Small Breed” and “Healthy Weight”. Look for brands that have your pet in mind not your wallet. I always tell my clients to look for brands that are
BAKED WITH LOVE
QUICK TIP: A great benefit to kibble is also topping it with fresh food! My favorite is Green Juju and the best part about dehydrated foods is most require you to soak the food in water or bone broth which ADDS the moisture back into the diet causing less risk of dehydration!
The reason I support cooked food is that it doesn’t destroy the nutrients, it changes them! Cooking food can be beneficial for dogs with medical conditions that can not tolerate raw. Definitely avoid grocery store brands like Fresh Pet who use harmful additives like Carrageenan, you don’t need a long shelf life when you have a freezer! I always look for brands that are:
GENTLY COOKED TO PROTECT NUTRIENTS
CERTIFIED ORGANIC & HUMAN EDIBLE
BPA-FREE WITH RECYCLABLE PACKAGING
QUICK TIP: Never be scared to ask your manufacturer questions. If they are not willing to answer you, it’s time to switch brands! If you prefer to cook the food yourself I highly recommend Dr. Judy Morgan’s Yin & Yang Cookbook it’ll save you time and money!
They say once you go raw you never go back and trust me, it’s true! My pugs THRIVE on raw sometimes I’m told there is no way Lily is 10 years old with all the zoomies she has plus It saved my puggle’s life! The brands that go above and beyond are
NON-HPP (High-Pressure Processing denatures the food)
QUICK TIP: If you have a dog who needs limited ingredients like my Dixon, you can balance easily with a base mix like Dr. Harvey’s Vibrance or Paradigm.
Say goodbye to greenies or milk bones and hello to my good friends Dr. Becker’s Bites! Stay away from fillers, additives and artificial AKA FAKE ingredients! Stop stressing about the shelf life when you know your dog is going to finish them before they expire anyway! Brands I look for are
Wheat, Corn & Soy Free (Look for Oat, Coconut or Almond Flour)
Corn Syrup & Canola Oil Free (Look for Honey and Olive or Coconut Oil)
Additive & Artificial Free (Look for Vegetable Glycerin or Applesauce!)
Quick Tip: These can be good for training too!
When it comes to budgeting, you need to ask yourself “is my pet’s health worth the investment?” I prefer to invest in my dog NOW rather than later, because it’s proven to decrease the vet bills and help my dog thrive! Be mindful, proactive and remember to be the person your dog thinks you are.