Practical, fast, a quality/price ratio that is often beneficial for the dog owner’s wallet, industrial food for our pets appeared only 60 years ago. Highly regulated, processed foods must provide essential proteins and minerals for their structural and functional role, lipids, vitamins, trace elements for their purely functional role and some fiber. However, it can often be difficult to choose between different food sources that will keep your dog fed and growing in good health.
Dry or wet food, which one to choose?
Easy to dose and ready to serve, industrial food appeals to many owners who want to combine a balanced diet for their pet with practicality. There are endless ranges and products in both dry and wet food for your dog that it can seem difficult to choose one or the other. Let’s look at the pros and cons of each.
The advantages and disadvantages of food in the form of kibbles for your dog
Choosing kibble or dry food has many advantages for the dog and the master:
- Easy dosing;
- Long-term care;
- Easy storage;
- Their chewing helps maintain the animal’s teeth.
However, they are usually less appetizing than cans or mash that give a delicious aroma to our nose and especially to the muzzle of our four-legged friend. In addition, their nutritional composition sometimes leaves something to be desired, because their level of carbohydrates, which are useless for the dog, can harm his health. Another danger of kibble lies in its lack of water, which can be a problem when the dog is not hydrated enough or if he suffers from kidney problems. Therefore, it is recommended to always leave a bowl of clean water near his food or hydrate the croquettes half an hour before presenting him with his bowl.
The pros and cons of wet food
Preserves, trays, sachets, wet foods come in different containers and offer different tastes to your dog. If its appeal to dogs is well established, its rich water content remains ideal for limiting urinary tract infections and kidney stones. Easy to chew, it is recommended for older animals. However, more or less chopped food does not promote chewing, so tartar problems and bad breath are common. In addition, the parts in the form of pellets can be dangerous for our greedy dogs: by swallowing them whole, they do not facilitate their digestion. If their conservation remains interesting, wet food can be enriched with jelly and cereals. However, some dog breeds such as Nordics have great difficulty digesting them. As with croquettes, to choose your mash, checking the composition of the food remains important.
How to choose industrial food that meets your dog’s energy needs?
Our dogs are mainly carnivores, it makes no sense to offer them food that does not meet their energy needs and the way their digestion has worked for millions of years. Depending on its age and activity, energy use needs to meet structural needs. These are the amino acids from meat consumption that help build and nurture his bones, muscles, skin and coat. However, the dog does not synthesize them, only a meat-based diet allows him to cover his needs in arginine, lysine, cysteine, methionine, histidine, leucine, isoleucine, valine, phenylalanine, tyrosine, tryptophan. These proteins must be present every day in his diet. They should also meet the functional needs of your four-legged friend: lipids, vitamins and trace elements contribute to the animal’s efficient metabolism.
Meet the nutritional needs of growing animals?
To ensure strong bones and a strong constitution for the puppy, the protein intake will be different from the adult. Its exponential growth requires an increased need for vitamins, calcium and phosphorus that will allow it to develop its framework. The proteins are not left behind, allowing him to build his muscles. Lipids, of animal origin, are also important for a puppy to be curious, energetic and comfortable on his feet. Food should also be adapted to its breed. Focus on carb levels, if more than 20% choose a different brand. Cereals, legumes and potatoes increase this rate. To calculate the proportion of carbohydrates, we invite you to consult our article to understand and know how to read the composition of your loulou croquettes. Contact your veterinarian to fully understand your puppy’s needs and offer him food adapted to his age, morphology and breed.
The choice of food should adapt to the activity of your adult dog
In addition to its breed, the diet should adapt depending on whether you offer your pet a long sporty walk or if the latter is less energetic. Croquettes, pâté, food rations or industrial BARF must meet their physiological and energy needs. Similarly, if your female dog is pregnant, lactating, neutered or old, protein intake is slightly different. Preferably it’s rich in quality protein that will keep your four-legged friend full. Pay attention to the use of cereals, which should not be higher than protein, as is usually the case with first-rate food. For croquettes, ash should not be more than 9%, it promotes kidney stones. However, its presence is important to avoid deficiencies. Finally, if you prefer wet food, make sure the formula is complete, because the so-called complementary pâtés only provide 15 to 20% of its daily needs.
When suffering from a long-term infection, your dog’s diet must be adjusted
If your animal is neutered, overweight or seriously ill, it is best to adjust the energy intake. Light meals may be required. Contact your veterinarian to determine the amount and the food that will allow him to stay with you longer.
Different food categories: low-end, mid-range and premium, what are the differences?
Like the industrial products intended for our food, the cutlery offered to our four-legged friends has a different range, not always healthy for their growth and health.
It’s often the ingredients that contribute to the quality of the food you feed your dog. Standard and mid-range pitances are often sold in supermarkets where you won’t benefit from any advice on choosing the most suitable one. More palatable, but less digestible for your pet, low-end foods do not cover most of your dog’s needs. Dull hair, weight gain and hair loss outside moulting periods are the first signs of a diet that is often too rich in lipids and not enough in meat protein. They can also explain why your dog is always hungry. To limit the long-term health problems that this category of food can cause, it is highly advisable to turn to the mid-range or premium ones that you can find in pet stores and at your veterinarian. Balanced and complete, they are adapted to your dog’s morphology and digestible. Be careful to check all the same proportions of proteins and lipids that will make up your dog’s food, whether you choose a dry or wet food. The carbohydrate rate should not exceed 20% for an adult dog and the daily caloric intake should not exceed 35 kcal/kg/d.
Can you differentiate your dog’s food between dry and wet food?
Some dogs are pickier than others and end up sulking on their kibble. Some breeds, said to be more sensitive, do not support changes in their diet. The mix of foods offered offers several advantages, both for you and for your dog:
- Contribution of a balanced diet;
- No more kibble fatigue;
- Increase water intake;
- Reduced preparation time.
Mixed food consists of 50% dry food and 50% wet food: BARF, household ration or industrial wet food. Ask your vet about gently introducing variety and balance into your dog’s diet.
Do you prefer ration food or industrial BARF to croquettes and pâté to feed your dog?
As with any industrially prepared food, remember that the many necessary transformation processes reduce the latter’s energy use. The industrial household ration therefore does not have any leftovers, but mash or croquettes can be substituted if you hesitate to start. Pay attention to the carbohydrates present, some preparations do not provide enough for your dog’s balance. If you decide to feed your loulou BARF, compare the fat levels. The latter should remain lower than the dry matter content. In fact, it may not be suitable for our four-legged friends who have difficulty digesting fat or are not very active. In any case, if you want to offer a natural diet to your dog, ask your veterinarian to provide a balanced diet that respects his physiology and his needs and also pay attention to the composition of the treatments that you will give to him.