How to Choose the Best Dog Food: 13 Essential Tips

Updated on: Apr 28, 2023
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How to Choose the Best Dog Food: 13 Essential Tips

Hey there, fellow dog parent! 

We all know that a  well-balanced and nutritious diet is essential in making sure that our pups will grow healthy and well.  But choosing the right dog food can be overwhelming and sometimes confusing because of the number of options available!

Lucky for you, I've got 13 tips to help make the decision easier. 

Ready to dive in? Let's go!

Check what ingredients are included in the dog food.

Select a dog food with a good protein source as the main ingredients, like chicken, beef, or fish. Dogs need plenty of animal-based protein in their diet to fully function because they are natural meat-eaters. 

It is important to look for the main ingredients marketed on the label because this tells you the food's quality and the nutrients your dog will get.  

If you can’t see a high-quality protein source, look for other brands immediately. If your food lists an excellent protein source first, that's a great sign that it's doing a good job of fueling your pup.

Avoid any food with so many fillers.

Stay away from dog food with fillers like corn and wheat because these ingredients don't have much nutritional value. They are also challenging for your dog to digest.

The thing is, some dog food companies use fillers to make their products cheaper and to make more of them. But the downside is that these fillers can give your dog way more carbs than they actually need.

Plus, fillers can lead to tummy troubles like allergies, bloating, gas, and more, so it's worth it to go for dog foods that don't have many fillers.

Consider your dog's age and size when choosing its food. 

When picking out food for your dog, remember these essential things because different dogs have different nutritional needs.

But to keep them healthy, adult dogs need enough: 

  • protein
  • fiber
  • fat
  • vitamins
  • and minerals.

For example, puppies need more protein and calories than adult dogs because they're still growing and developing. They also need nutrients like DHA to support their brain and eye development. 

So, when looking for puppy food, look for brands specifically formulated for puppies and meet feed regulator guidelines. Smaller breeds may have trouble with large kibble, while larger breeds may require bigger kibble to avoid choking.

Senior dogs have different nutritional needs because they're less active and may have health issues that require special diets. You'll want to look for dog food labeled "senior" or "mature." 

Dog food for seniors typically has**:**

  • lower calorie
  • lesser protein
  • lower fat levels
  • glucosamine
  • and chondroitin.

Look for a complete and balanced diet with all the essential nutrients they need.

When it comes to your pup's diet, ensure that their food has: 


  • protein
  • fat
  • carbohydrates
  • fiber
  • vitamins
  • and minerals.

Fat is vital for energy, brain function, and healthy skin and coat. Carbs provide energy and should come from good sources like brown rice or sweet potatoes. Fiber helps digestion and can come from fruits, veggies, and grains. 

And vitamins and minerals keep your dog in tip-top shape, with calcium, phosphorus, vitamin D, and E being important ones to look for. 

Consider your dog's preferences and any dietary restrictions they may have.

Dry food or kibble is the most common type of dog food available in most pet stores. It is easy to store, less expensive, and good for your dog's dental health. 

Wet food, or canned food, has more moisture and can be easier for dogs to eat if they have trouble with dry food. It's also good if your dog needs to increase their water intake.

Finally, there's semi-moist food, which is soft and chewy and can be used as a training treat or as a supplement to dry or wet food. 

Think about their preferences and any dietary restrictions when choosing their diet. There are dogs that may prefer wet food, others may do better with dry food, especially if they have dental issues, and some dogs may need a combination of different types of food. Giving varied food is a good way of keeping their interest in it.

Ask your vet for advice.

Your veterinarian can: 

  • determine your dog's nutritional requirements
  • identify your dog's food allergies or sensitivities
  • prescribe a special diet to help address your dog’s health concerns
  • and help you avoid any ingredients that are questionable.

Look for a dog food brand with a good track record.

Choosing the right food for your pup is important to go with a trustworthy brand. Do your homework and research different dog food brands to see which ones are the best for your dog’s needs.

Check where a certain food brand gets its ingredients and how they ensure their food is safe and healthy. You can easily find it on their website or in their food packaging. 

Read reviews and ratings from other dog owners, vets, and experts to understand better what's good and what's not.

Stay up-to-date on dog food recalls and avoid brands with a history of recalls.

Dog food recalls can happen because of things like contamination or poor nutrition. Always check for past recalls before deciding what to feed your dog. 

Check your prospect brand's website or look up recall information on the FDA's website. Signing up for alerts on the FDA's site to get notified about any new recalls is also helpful.

However,  just because a brand has had a recall in the past doesn't necessarily mean you totally avoid it. Try to research if they have already resolved any issues with their products before. 

Consider your budget but do not compromise your dog's health.

Tip number 9 is about choosing the right food for your furry friend while considering your budget. It's essential to prioritize your dog's health and not compromise it by choosing cheap, low-quality food just because it seems affordable.

Cheaper dog food might be economically good and on our budget, but it might contain low-quality ingredients that can be harmful to our dog’s health in the long run. 

Examples are: 


  • fillers
  • by-products
  • and artificial colors and flavors.

High-quality dog food contains better ingredients for your pup. They are easy to digest and offer a better balance of nutrients

Aside from the nutritional value, always remember that feeding your dog high-quality food can: 

  • help you save money on vet bills
  • prevent health problems 
  • and keep your dog happy and healthy.

Be wary of marketing claims from some dog food brands.

Some dog food brands are fun of making false claims about their brand, so it's crucial to do some digging and chat with your vet before making any decisions.

A brand might say that their dog food is "grain-free" or "all-natural," but those claims could be misleading. Grain-free diets might not work for every dog, and "all-natural" doesn't mean it's got everything your pup needs to stay healthy.

Some of these claims aren't regulated by the FDA or other government agencies. Also, reliable sources like the American Veterinary Medical Association or the World Small Animal Veterinary Association can provide trustworthy pet nutrition information.

Choose food made with recognizable ingredients.

When picking the right dog food, you must ensure it's made with recognizable ingredients. You know, chicken, beef, brown rice, and sweet potatoes.

Some dog food brands use vague terms like "meat by-products" or "animal digest," which is a major red flag. 

Read reviews from other dog owners.

Reading reviews can give you a lot of valuable information about the quality and safety of dog food. Find out how well the food worked for other dogs. Ask other dog owners if their dog liked the taste and if there were any adverse side effects. You can usually find these reviews on popular online retailers, social media, or pet food review websites.

Remember that not all reviews are trustworthy, so look for reputable reviewers and platforms. While reviews are a great starting point, it's still important to talk to your vet and consider your dog's needs before deciding about their food.

Do not be afraid to switch foods.

Like humans, dogs can have different taste preferences, and it's essential to find something they enjoy eating.

If your dog refuses to eat a particular brand, it could be because they don't like the taste, texture, or smell. When you try a new brand, it's best to introduce it gradually. 

Mix a small amount of the new food with their current food and slowly increase it over a few days. This will help prevent any digestive issues that could come from a sudden change in diet.

If your dog consistently refuses to eat and experiences tummy troubles, talk to your vet because it can be from an underlying health issue


Picking the perfect dog food is essential for your furry friend's health and happiness. Following the tips above, you can find the best high-quality dog food to ensure your pup gets the best care and nutrition possible!

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