What Should I Feed My Dog?
One of the first things you will think about when you pick up your puppy will be what you should be feeding him.
If you've been a dog owner as long as I have, you will remember the days when we only had to decide which flavour Pedigree Chum to choose and the excitement when new brands like Cesar (or Mr.Dog as it was called to begin with) started appearing on the shelves.
One thing that was constant until quite recently, was that the pet food market was dominated by large multi-national companies. Both the examples above are affiliate companies of Mars.
Today's dog owner not only has a greater selection of food to choose from but also an ever increasing number of small, independent pet business from whom to buy it.
The sheer amount of choice can be mind blowing to the new dog owner who may worry that the wrong choice could effect their dog's well being. So how do you decide what to choose for your dog?
You may ask a friend what they feed their dog? Ask your breeder or vet for recommendations. But everyone has their own ideas and will claim what they feed is the best and you are left still scratching your head.
In reality, most of us find our way through trial and error and rarely will a dog eat exactly the same food his whole life. Archie is 11 in April and is currently on his 4th brand.
My suggestion is to first determine what type of eater your dog is, which can take a little time and can also change with age, after that do your own research to choose a type of food and brand that also fits in with your lifestyle and budget.
What type of eater is your dog?
Your pup will most likely fall into one of three groups when it comes to food:
The Foodie - like Archie, if your dog is a foodie they will eat ANYTHING. This can bring it's own problems but when it comes to choosing their food, the world is your oyster (Archie hasn't tried them yet but give him time)!
The Fusspot - a fussy eater can be very frustrating and worrying. I have known dogs to refuse to eat for up to 4 days! Sometimes it can be just a case of finding what they like and then sticking to that forever. More often with a fusspot, you will find they like their food one minute then refuse to touch it the next. All you can do, is keep trying to encourage them to eat but you may have to accept that you have to offer them a variety throughout their lives.
Require a special diet - dogs, like humans, can suffer from food allergies and other medical conditions that require a special diet such as pancreatitis.*
The most common allergen in dogs is related to grains, so gluten, wheat, barley etc. Luckily there is a large selection of grain free dog food available and you can find something to suit most intolerances.
You should always seek advice from your vet if you suspect any intolerances or medical conditions.*
Once you have determined what type of eater your dog is, you can move on to deciding what to feed. Here are some pros and cons of the main food types and our favourite companies from which to get them.
Wet Food and Kibble - Edgard & Cooper
Wet Food and Kibble has come a long way in recent years and you can now find something to suit most dogs requirements including grain free, organic and low calorie.
Some people don't like wet food because it can have a strong smell which can linger on your dog's mouth. Kibble remains the nation's favourite as it is easy to store, with long shelf life and is good value for money. It used to be thought that the crunchy biscuits were good for teeth but this has been challenged recently as kibble can remain between dogs teeth, causing plaque and bad breath. It is therefore recommended that you brush your dog's teeth daily when feeding kibble.
All Edgard & Cooper wet food and kibble is made from good quality, fresh meat, fruit and vegetables. They don't use any processed meat or ground up bones and their food is slow-baked to lock in goodness and flavour.
They have a good range of flavours available which is all grain-free and also have an organic range. Plus some tasty treats too!
If you decide to try Edgard & Cooper for your dog, you can get 20% off you first order with code FOURLEGGEDFOODIES.
Raw Food - Bella & Duke
The raw food diet started to grow in popularity around ten years ago (although it has been around much longer) and since then it has continued to grow as dog owners strive to find the perfect diet.
Raw food for dogs is one of the oldest diets, but when it became more difficult to source raw meat from the local butchers, an alternative source was required.
Owners report a variety of benefits of feeding raw food including improved skin and coat, better bowel movements and increased energy.
Some owners are wary of handling raw meat and it can be difficult for vegetarians and vegans to have in the house. Even some meat eaters can be put off by offal and chicken feet!
Bella & Duke food contains 80% raw minced meat mixed with raw vegetables, and other natural ingredients such as herring oil and turmeric.
They have a range of flavours and menus to suit every dog from puppies to working dogs and even a superfood range with natural anti-inflammatories and anti-oxidants.
All their food arrives frozen and is well packaged but if you are still put off by its appearance or if you have limited freezer space we recommend trying Bella & Duke Raw Dry Food which has all the same nutrients but is then freeze dried and can be stored in a cupboard.
They also have a variety of raw treats.
If you would like to try a raw food diet, order here and a 50% discount will automatically be applied at checkout once you have completed your dog's details.
Fresh Food - Butternut Box
The most pampered of pooches get their owners to cook for them every day which is all well and good but who has the time for that?
The freshly prepared dog food by subscription is the latest addition to the pet food market and in the UK started with Butternut Box in 2016.
Now you can get homecooked food delivered to your door without spending hours in the kitchen - it's like Deliveroo for dogs!
They currently have 6 flavours and you can choose your preferences when you complete your details. The food arrives frozen and needs to be stored in the freezer, defrosting what you need each day.
The only negative we can think of to this food is if you have a lack of freezer space. If so, you can arrange to have smaller, more frequent deliveries and once defrosted, it will keep in the fridge unopened for up to 7 days.
A range of treats are also available.
if you'd like to try Butternut Box you can order here and get 50% off your first 2 boxes.(Discount automatically applied).