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Top 3 Healthiest Brands of Dog Food: Why You Shouldn’t Be Cheap When It Comes to Dog Food


While our pups may not be the pickiest when it comes to chowing down on their food, this doesn’t mean that any ol’ bone will do. Here at [Backyard Dog Care and Boarding] we’ve been there, tactfully picking apart the ingredient’s list of numerous dog food brands just to determine whether or not it’s a good option for our dogs health. Unfortunately, there’s no denying that the confusing labeling, misleading health claims, and lack of transparency in what ingredients are used, makes it hard to discern which brand to pick up. Let’s take a look which 3 brands are the healthiest on the market and why you shouldn’t be cheap when it comes to dog food.


Which 3 Brands Are Good to Purchase for My Dog’s Health?


1. Orijen: this is one of the best brands to purchase as their ingredients list is chalk-full of animal protein. Their dog food is made from at least 5-8 different animals, of which 85% of it is whole meat (not rendered by-products), while two-thirds is from fresh meat and one-third is from dehydrated options. All of their ingredients are sourced from farms, ranches, and fishermen, and they leave out the low-cost fillers like sweet potatoes, corn, rice, and tapioca. You can view their original recipe here.

2. Ziwi Pets: these guys use air-drying techniques instead of high temperatures to lock in the nutrients of the raw ingredients that they use. All of their meats and local poultry are free-range and grass-fed, and they purchase their seafood from the world’s top -ranked fisheries. All of their recipes use “PeakPrey” Ratios, ensuring that there is a minimum of 30% organs and bones in their formulas. Beyond this, their recipes contain 97% meat that is raw or fresh - not rendered - and they do not use high glycemic index carbohydrates like potatoes or grains. Instead, they choose to use green mussels and organic kelp. You can explore their air-dried dog food options here.


3. Wellness Core: this line-up from Wellness is a protein-rich, grain-free dog food that comes in a variety of formulas. They are all free from artificial flavors and colorings, as well as, preservatives. You can get them in their dehydrated -raw formulas, and they do not contain a lot of fillers or by-products. Some of the line-up does contain potato which is a high-glycemic vegetable, that may not be suitable for all dogs. You can view their Core line up here.



What Happens if You Cheap Out on Dog Food?


With the dizzying array of inexpensive dog food choices available, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by all of the different formulas available. So, what happens if you do pick up an inexpensive brand? You may be feeding your fur-baby unhealthy ingredients that can lead to long-term detrimental effects. Grab your bag of dog food and look for the following:


l “Meal” by-products. If you see “chicken meal” or “beef by-product” in the ingredient list, these are “rendered” products that are composed of the parts of animals we don’t like to eat (brains/spleen). This type of meat by-product can come from a sick animal or from expired options that are unsafe for human consumption. Rendered products nutritional quality is low and can be a source of toxins [1].

l Artificial Preservatives. A lot of dog foods will have preservatives in them to keep them longer on the shelf. These preservatives can include BHA, BHT, and Ethoxyquin, of which BHA and BHT are carcinogens [2, 3] and Ethoxyquin is linked to cancer, kidney failure, and immune deficiencies [4].

l Artificial Coloring. Does your dog food look like it has colors of the rainbow in it? This coloring comes from artificial dyes that haven’t been researched extensively on their long-term effects. Some experts believe that these dyes could be linked to allergies, cancerous tumors, and hyperactivity in dogs. Look for: Yellow 5/6, Red 40, or Blue 2 and avoid [4].

l Propylene Glycol. While humans may be able to consume it, Propylene Glycol is a known toxin to cats and it can be found in items like antifreeze [5]. For dogs, it is a mild toxin and can be dangerous when consumed in high doses.

l Corn/Rice. Your dog isn’t built to consume large amounts of corn/rice/grains long-term These end up being filler in the food and may be difficult for your dog to digest properly leading to bloating, gas, and diarrhea. Beyond this, dogs are meant to eat a protein rich diet, so meals that are carbohydrate-filled may lead to obesity.


Wrapping It Up


When taking care of your dog’s health, it is important to ensure that they are eating a protein-rich diet that uses real, raw and fresh meat. Try to avoid artificial ingredients, chemicals, and preservatives, and make sure that the formula works for their age and activity levels.

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