Are you choosing the best dog food for your dog? Be prepared with the knowledge you are providing the best possible choice for your unique dog.

When it comes to choosing dog food, there’s no single food that’s best for every dog, and the options are endless. There are commercially available dry and canned foods, home cooked and raw feeding options and more. And you must take into account the individual needs of your dog, specifically, his or her age, activity level and weight, health history, and any particular health concerns, and lastly, your budget (and your dog’s taste buds).

The result: choosing the best food for your dog can be an overwhelming decision! Given that diet and nutrition play a crucial role in your dog’s overall health and you want the very best for your dog’s well-being, what exactly do you look for and how do you choose?

Great Dog Food Resources

Keep reading for Woof Report’s favorite sites to help you research various dog food options – they’re considered to be top resources on the subject and are packed with dog food reviews, articles, and tips. And once you’ve done some research, discuss the options with your vet to make a decision.

Visit the sites below for articles and tips on choosing the right food for your dog, as well as product reviews and ratings.

Two Great Studies: Senior Dog Food and Low-Calorie Dog Food

In addition to researching the options for dog food, become informed about findings from research studies – like those from veterinary nutritionists at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University.

The first study, published in the latest issue of the International Journal for Applied Research in Veterinary Medicine, applies to Senior Dog Food. Researchers found great discrepancies in the nutritional content of nearly 40 commercially available dog foods marketed for older dogs and dog owner’s perceptions about them.

Two important takeaways from the study:

  • Not all older dogs require a “senior diet” and every senior diet is different. For instance, some aging dogs may lose weight and lean body mass, while others may become more sedentary and gain weight, and each would obviously have different nutritional requirements. There is no single food that is appropriate for all senior dogs.
  • Commercially available “senior” dog foods vary widely in overall calories, fat, protein, and other nutritional factors. Because the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) and National Research Council have not set official dietary requirements for older dogs, foods marketed for “longevity” or for “senior” or “mature” dogs do not have to adhere to a standard nutrition profile beyond the AAFCO nutrient profile minimums for adult dogs.

The other study, published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association in January 2010, focuses on Low-Calorie Dog and Cat Food. Researchers examined nearly 100 commercially available dry and canned dog and cat foods labeled “low calorie,” “light” and such and found they varied greatly in terms of calorie density and feeding recommendations for weight loss based on the package labeling. Findings showed for most of the diets, pets would not lose weight or would gain weight if owners followed the feeding instructions on the label without considering their pet’s individual calorie requirements.

Results from these two studies simply support the need to do your research; take your dog’s individual requirements into consideration and speak with your vet when choosing the best food for your dog.

The Scoop:

Read more about the dog food studies from the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University.
Wide Variety in Nutritional Content Found in ‘Senior’ Dog Foods
Wide Variation in Calorie Content among “Low Calorie” Pet Foods

Thank you to smileham on flickr for the photo.

Originally published June 2010; reviewed and updated October 2016.