Dry dog food is the most popular pre-made form of nutrition for dogs. It has a convenient form and comes in large or small packages. The size of the pieces is important because small dogs with small bite radius need small pieces of food. An excellent product is one that stands out for its contribution to health and immune systems. A unique dry dog food has what dogs need most, a well-done variety of meat. It uses “tastes of the wild” meats as a reminder of the dogs origin as pack hunters. Among the top ingredients are buffalo, deer, and lamb meal. Next in the list is the chicken meal. Other ingredients are roasted bison, roasted venison and a long list of vitamins, trace minerals, and supplements. Do your research and do not fall for clever branding and marketing efforts. Look for that ingredient list to be as natural as possible and comprehensive and appropriate to your dog’s needs. Once you’ve selected a brand/type of food, carefully monitor how your pooch reacts to it and judge for yourself if it meets the needs.
Designed for Breeds
Breeds have unique patterns of size and activity levels, and manufacturers design their dry food products to meet the needs of breeds. Packaging will often indicate the breeds for which the dry food were intended along with serving size suggestion based on size or body weight. Breeds have distinct nutrition needs for coat, oils, carbohydrates and fat. Breeds have distinct patterns for energy and activity levels.
Breeds and Groups
The Kennel Club uses a seven group classification for dog breeds called dog groups. They include toys, terriers, sporting dogs, hounds, working dogs, herding dogs, and non-sporting dogs. Many dog groups refer to hunting and farming. Dogs are invaluable for flushing, chasing, pointing, and locating game. Farm dogs were used to herd various flocks. The working group and herding group dogs tend to be high energy breeds with high levels of activity. Working group dogs have heavily muscled frames; a good example would be Rottweilers. Look for companies that caters to your group type.
Designed for the Phase of Life
Nutrition needs vary within the individual dog as well as among breeds depending on the phase of life. If one considers the phases to be the puppy, young adult, adult, and older dogs, then nutrition needs would vary. Puppies need to build bones and teeth and to grow. Young adult dogs build muscle and fill out as the bone frame develops. Adult dogs need to maintain muscle, coat, and strength but don’t need as much calcium. Older dogs need little calcium but more of the materials that keep joints supple. Less active dogs need lower amounts of carbohydrates and proteins. Weight and activity level should be a major consideration as a fit dog is a healthy dog.