There is certainly no shortage of options when it comes to dog food for your dog. With the variety of brands and advertising out there, it’s often difficult to choose what the most suitable option for your dog is.
We have looked at dry dog foods before which are a popular choice for many due to the easy storage and little preparation needed.
In the recent years, there has been a surge in wet, fresh and of course raw feeding. In this article we will be looking at the pros and cons of some of the more natural options.
What about Wet dog food?
Wet dog foods have been losing some market share over the years but they remain a popular choice. They most often come in tins, trays, pouches and chubb rolls.
Ingredients are blended and cooked before being vacuum sealed into their containers. They are then heat sterilised. Sterilisation usually requires temperatures above 100oC for up to 90 minutes, but the exact times and temperatures can vary.
Raw feeding supporters think that high temperatures can harm the natural nutrients in dog food. The vacuum sealing and sterilisation do, however, ensure a long shelf life without the need for any added artificial additives.
Raw Dog Foods - are they for you?
If you have noticed the growing number of freezer units popping up in pet shops, raw dog foods are the reason. Many people believe that feeding dogs raw food is the most natural way. In the UK, this trend has grown rapidly in the past ten years.
Many raw feeders prepare their own diets for their dog’s but a growing number of companies are developing pre-prepared complete raw dog foods, usually in the form of frozen blocks or nuggets, which provide all of the benefits of raw feeding with all the convenience of a conventional dog food.
Taking frozen dog food on trips can be difficult. Thawing it overnight is not as easy as opening a bag or can. However, most people who feed their dogs raw food believe that it is worth the extra effort. But most people who feed their dogs raw food think it's worth the extra effort.
However raw feeding is by no means free from criticism. Many vets and industry experts have raised concerns over the safety and nutritional balance of raw dog foods. Like wet dog food and dry dog food, pre-prepared raw dog foods come in both complete and complementary forms.
One other category of pet foods has just started to emerge - fresh complete dog foods. They offer a convenient version of homemade meals with a variety of quality ingredients, cooked and packed in trays or pouches. With fresh ingredients and a low level of processing, fresh complete dog foods are likely to retain a high proportion of their natural nutrients, at least compared to conventional dry dog food and wet dog food.
However, since no preservatives are added and since the dog food hasn't been sterilised like standard wet dog food, fresh dog foods don't stay fresh for as long as we have come to expect from our pet foods. For this reason, fresh pet foods need to be kept refrigerated even when sealed. In the fridge, fresh dog foods typically last up to 14 days from the date of manufacture but they can also be frozen and defrosted later before feeding.
What's right for you?
With so many options available, it's easy to see how many pet owners feel overwhelmed by it all. Every type of dog food described above has its own pros and cons and no one category is 'best' for all dogs or all owners. While you will certainly encounter all sorts of opinions about what you should feed, the final decision has to come down to what's best for you (personal preferences, budget, convenience, ethical considerations etc) and your dog (their individual health and their personal preference).
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