Written by Veterinarian Dr. Greg Martinez, DVM
If you walk into a pet food store, there are hundreds of ideas on the best diet for our dogs. With so many options out there, it can be hard for pet parents to figure out what they should be feeding their fur friends and how much they should be feeding. Determining what to feed your dog comes down to a variety of factors—including ingredients, affordability, lifestyle, and even history. Read below or watch the video below to find out some vet tips on how to pick the right food for your dog.
What to Feed Your Dog: Vet Tips for Picking the Right Dog Food
The Prey Model Diet for Dogs
Our wonderful dogs are the descendants of wolf-like and coyote-like canines that interbred long ago. They most certainly helped us find our meals and may have been involved in the hunt. The food that they evolved to eat and later shared with us may be the best mix of ingredients to nourish their bodies. The skin, meat and organs that made up their meals are predominantly protein and fat. If we take our clues to the best diet from nature, then a diet rich in meat, organs and low in carbohydrates should be ideal.
You definitely won’t find that mix in many commercial dog foods. They use grains like wheat, gluten, corn, and rice as well as meat by-products as filler. These ingredients are more economical to produce, making the food cheaper to buy, but are not consistent with nature’s formula to nourish our pet’s bodies. I counsel my clients to buy the best food they can afford. I believe raw food —like those from Stella & Chewy’s—is the best choice for dogs, followed by a quality dry or wet food.
How Much to Feed Your Dog
The amount you should feed your dog depends on his or her age, activity level and body type. You want to ensure that your dog is eating enough to maintain their ideal weight but no more. Growing puppies and active dogs need more calories, while those dogs that would rather watch than join in will need much less.
If your pet is close to the ideal weight, congratulations! You can feed the same amount you have been feeding. If your dog is skinny, it may need a better-quality mix of protein or fat in the diet, or your dog may just need 20% more food. If your dog is on the plump side, it needs up to 20% less food by volume, fewer calories, and should be fed less fat, carbs, biscuits and treats.
The Best Foods for Your Lifestyle
When choosing what to feed your dog, you want to factor in your lifestyle as well. Freeze-Dried Raw Patties and Raw Coated Kibble options offer the utmost in convenience along with many benefits of raw nutrition. Frozen raw is another form of raw feeding, but frozen raw will require a little more work as you’ll need to thaw the food before each meal.
Stella & Chewy’s Product Selector makes it easy for you to quickly determine the best food for your dog. Simply select your breed type, activity level, age, weight goals and other factors and the tool will recommend the food that is right for your pet. Your vet or a holistic vet can also be a great source of information on the best diet for your fur friend.
Dr. Greg Martinez was paid for his time; all opinions remain his own.
Greg Martinez, DVM has been a partner/owner of Gilroy Veterinary Hospital in Gilroy, California for more than 30 years. He is the author of three books: Dr. Greg’s Dog Dish Diet, Dog Diet Answer Book, and Feed Your Pet to Avoid the Vet. You can learn more about Dr. Greg by visiting his YouTube channel.