There are so many foods available to feed your dog that the choice can seems overwhelming! Dry, wet, raw, mixers, and that’s before you even think about brands. So, let’s take a quick look at some of the options we provide at Paws to make it easier to find the perfect food for your dog.
Most of our wet foods are tinned or in trays.
We stock Pedigree, Butchers, Winalot and Chappie in tins and can order in most other brands. The main thing to understand with tinned food is that it is almost identical to the dried food but it has had water added and so nutritionally it is the same as the brands dry offering. They often contain meat meal which is meat which has had the fat removed and then been dried, it can be made from almost any part of the animals carcass (it’s a bit like fruit juice from concentrate). This does mean that you will be paying more per serving and you will be paying for added water. A Labrador sized dog needs 3 ½ – 4 ½ cans per day!! This means a cost of around £3 per day. Dogs do tend to show a preference towards wet food however and for a dog who likes a large meal they make a dog feel fuller quicker. For dogs with dental issues they are obviously a good option and the tinned foods we stock regularly are complete meals, so there is no need to add any mixer etc.
Butchers tins are gluten free, ideal for dogs who are intolerant to gluten, or have sensitive stomachs. They also contain no artificial flavours, preservatives, soya or meat meal. Chappie tins contain no egg, dairy or soya (although they do contain gluten) which are all things a dog could be sensitive to. They are also artificial colour and preservative free. They contain high quantities of white fish and are high in omega 3 & 6 fatty acids for healthy skin and coat.
Pedigree and Winalot boast a range of health benefits from vitamins and minerals including A and E for eyes and skin and immune system, Calcium and vitamin D for bones, as well as healthy fibres for digestion and omega oils for a shiny coat.
We stock Forthglade, Naturediet, and Natures Harvest trays. The maid difference here is that tins tend to contain ‘meat and animal derivatives’. This means that a ‘beef’ tin, for example, may only contain small percentage of beef as it’s meat content. The rest can be made up of other meats, often cheaper cuts. The trays, on the other hand, tend to contain just the meat they name on the packaging. Some of these are complete meals but others are just meat, meaning you need to feed them with a mixer (mixer is a biscuit with the fibre, vitamins and minerals needed for a healthy diet). A Labrador would need approximately 1 ½ – 2 trays per day and so the comparative costs are similar to tinned food at around £3 per day and possible less if using a mixer. For this reason they do seem to be a fantastic option if you are looking for a more natural diet.
Dried food is by far the most popular food. It’s easy to store, doesn’t have to be kept in a fridge after opening and is less messy than wet food. It is also a complete meal so you know your dog is getting all the nutrition they need. Our most popular brands are Autarky, James Wellbeloved, Arden Grange, Acana, Chappie and Gusto, but we can order in most brands within a week. Dry food varies more than any other food type in quality and cost so let’s look at the basics. Dry food has simply had the water removed. If your dog won’t eat dry food there is the option of adding water to the dry food and allowing it to soak rather than paying more for the added water in the tin. And, with so many brands on offer you are sure to fine one your dog will enjoy. When comparing dry foods it is best to look for the ‘Analytical Constituents’. This is a handy guide to the nutritional content of the food and as it is in percentages you do not have to worry about converting amounts if brands bag sizes vary. The main thing to compare is the percentage of protein, but watch out, vegetable protein is cheaper and not as good nutritionally for dogs! So, you also have to check out the percentage of meat in the food. Like in tinned food the term meat meal pops up. In dried food meal is to be expected (the food is dried after all) but what you would prefer to see is a particular type of meat meal. A single source of meat protein is best, so if it says ‘chicken’ on the front of the pack then you would hope to see ‘chicken meal’ (or at lease ‘poultry meal’) in the composition.
Autarky is our best-selling brand. A less well-known brand, we stock Autarky because for the quality it is the best value for money. It has a similar composition to James Wellbeloved but comes in at less than half the price! Check out their analytical constituents’ and composition next time you are in store. A Labrador would need around 300g per day making adult chicken Autarky just 50p per day!
If you want the best quality, clear listed ingredients and responsibly sourced ingredients the Acana is for you. They tell you exactly what is in their food and where it’s from. Their crude protein is more than double most other brands. Free range chickens, wild caught fish, nest laid eggs, these guys take real pride in their food. Because of the higher nutritional value, a Labrador would only need to eat around 200g per day making it still less than half the price of wet food (at just over £1 per day) even with its premium price tag.
In conclusion, there are lots of things to think about when choosing dog food. Sometimes it takes some trials before you find an option you are both happy with but, ultimately, as long as they are getting a balance diet your dog will be happy and healthy. If you need help, or if your dog has particular needs, then please do ask us in store, we would be more than happy to help.