The problem with choosing a dog food right now is that there are a million opinions from manufacturers, experts, nutritionists, etc, yet no one seems to agree. That’s worrying. How can two dog food brands, who have top canine nutritionists working with them, have such differing views? I can imagine a slight difference in views, but we are talking vastly different. Polar opposites. …And worse, all the brands all disagree with each other.
Here are a few of the things you may have come across where the experts’ views differ wildly:
Natural, or not natural?
Dry, or wet, or raw, or frozen, or dehydrated, or BARF?
With grains or grain free?
Gluten free or not?
Fish or meat? Which meat or fish?
Breed specific, or is that a marketing gimmick?
Dogs should have a diet like wolves, vs no they shouldn’t.
Use meat meal or not?
The analytic analysis: Such as how much fat, ash, protein?
Single source of protein or mixed source.
Big difference in wet to dry percentages. Calculating the dry percentage for wet food to compare.
Joint Care – glucosamine, MSM, chondroitin?
Large breed / Small breed
Beet pulp, or no beet pulp?
Egg or not?
Human grade ingredients?
Too much phosphorus?
‘As fed’ or true analytical?
Tomatoes bad for dogs?
Too much selenium?
The list is endless…………….
It wouldn’t be too bad if there was a general consensus about all the key things, and perhaps just a handful of companies taking a different viewpoint. However, that doesn’t seem to be the case – pretty much all the dog food manufacturers out there disagree with each other. Even if there is agreement about a couple of things, there will be almost certainly be disagreement about other things.
Here are a few examples, which I’ve made up, to illustrate the point:
Two manufacturers may agree that grain-free is the way to go, but one will have beet pulp in the food and the other will say beet pulp is really bad in dog food.
Two manufacturers may agree that wet food is best, but one will have grains in the food and the other will say grains are really bad in dog food.
Two manufacturers agree that the food should be 50% meat based at least, yet one has a 24% protein level and the other has 40% protein.
Two manufacturers may agree that grain-free is nonsense and that grains are fine, but then one will have no joint care in the food claiming it is a gimmick, whilst the other will have a large breed joint pack.
Two manufacturers may agree that grain-free is the way to go, but one says it must be single source human grade ingredients, whilst the other says it includes 3 sources of meat protein mainly from non-human grade meal.
You get my point. There is always some discrepancy. There is always something wrong apparently with every food. There is not even a general consensus on the main things, where at least then people can choose a food that meets those base requirements, and then try the different brands to see which works for their dog.
Every time I think I’ve found the perfect food, I discover there is an ingredient I don’t want, or one of the analytical percentages is too high/low, or the feeding volume is too high/low.
The way we are getting around this with our dog, is to try a couple of brands which meet our main requirements – where there is only the odd thing ‘wrong’ – and then rotate them every 3 months. That way, if there is anything ‘wrong’ with any of the ingredients (and there is, according to the competing manufacturers!) our dog isn’t getting too much of it on a long-term basis.