Finding the Right Dog Food

The topic of what to feed your dog may seem very simple, but I have heard the question over and over again, “What is the best food for my dog?” This is more of a trick question because it all depends on your dog’s needs and what is going to be most affordable as the owner. Before you start with the torches and pitch forks, let me just clarify by saying “YES” I do think that every dog should eat quality food but quality doesn’t always mean spending hundreds of dollars on food each month. Now if that is something you are willing and able to do then yes of course spoil your pup a bit. If you are on a budget then pick a brand that works best for your budget as well as meets the need of your pet.

My Experience Starting Out

Starting out as a new owner, I knew nothing about which dog food would be best for Jack. I was basing my choice on what I could afford and how much food I could get the price. I started out with Pedigree because it was a cheaper brand and you really got a lot for a little. Jack seemed to like the food and I didn’t notice any problems at all. By the time I had adopted Piggy, I gained more knowledge about different food brands, dog allergies and things to look for when buying food. This completely blew my mind. I never thought that like people, dogs could have allergies to food!

All of a sudden Pedigree didn’t seem like the BEST choice. I knew that I did not want to keep Piggy on Science Diet. Although it is a really good brand of food, it was not in my budget. I got some suggestions from my peers as to which would be a good brand for her and decided on Purina.

Since Purina One was what was suggested, I initially changed to that specific food. Both dogs did great and seemed to enjoy it a lot. Still keeping price a main factor, I chose to switch to Purina Dog Chow vs. Purina One since I got more for the price. Now switching dog food is not an elaborate process.

The important thing is that you mix the old food with the new food until the old food is gone. Picture growing up eating broccoli all your life then suddenly someone comes along and says “Hey you should eat this chicken.” The chicken may taste great but it could be a bad combination for your belly. For dogs this means diarrhea which is NEVER fun to clean up. I started Piggy off by feeding the old food as her first meal. I figured since she was in a new environment she would be nervous enough. It is not a requirement to do but it helped with her transition.

Making the Switch

Eventually I transitioned both dogs to Purina Dog Chow. After a while I noticed Piggy having issues with ear and yeast infections. The vet gave her an allergy shot and suggested changing her food. I remembered how well Piggy did on Purina One and decided to switch back. That is one of the lessons I learned with dog food. “If your dog is doing well with a specific food, keep them on that food.” It is nice to try different things and see what is out there but sometimes, switching can cause problems.

Another deciding factor was Jack’s eating habits. I have never really had an issue with Jack eating his food. Now unlike Piggy, he takes his sweet time picking through pieces while she inhales her food. I also know that sometimes dogs will eat less during the hotter months which Jack has done before but this time was different. Jack was not eating his food at all. He would maybe take a couple of bites and leave the rest. Of course, I panicked at first until it dawned on me that maybe he was tired of this food. When I finally made the switch to Purina One, I noticed Jack wasted no time eating all of his meal. As before I mixed the old with the new and of course he chose to leave the old food and eat the bits of new food. Since making the switch to Purina One, I have not noticed any health issues with Piggy. No more ear or yeast infections and she is a happy dog.

Can Dogs Eat Human Food?

The answer to this question is Yes and No. I have seen numerous times when people will feed dogs human food. This can either be really good in some cases or really bad. I am going to preface my discussion by saying that YES I am one of those dog moms who feed my pups human food on occasion. I am not discouraging anyone from feeding their dog human food. I am only saying to be careful what you feed your dog as far as human foods.

Some human foods are actually pretty harmful to dogs. I may be able to speak for most by saying that chocolate and any other form of caffeine are a big no no in a doggy diet. Grapes, raisins, onions and garlic are also harmful just to name a few. You may notice that peanut butter and dairy products are also on the list of items. Peanut butter is not a bad treat for a dog as long as it does not contain Xylitol. As for dairy products, I am guilty of feeding pieces of cheese to my dogs as a treat. I have also rewarded Jack with a “pupiccino” from Starbucks after a trip to the vet however I do not make a habit of feeding too much dairy to my dogs because I know too much can cause an issue. Neither of my dogs have had reactions to dairy but if you are unsure or you notice your dog having a reaction to anything you feed them, I would get them to a vet for an allergy test. Some dogs are okay with dairy and some, just like people, have an intolerance.

On the other hand, there are some foods that can be helpful to your pet. For example, unseasoned chicken and rice is not a bad meal for a dog on occasion. Sweet potatoes and some vegetables such as peas and carrots are okay to feed your pet as well. For those with dogs that can handle dairy, a small amount of plain yogurt can help balance out the bacteria in your dog’s belly. Also, pureed plain pumpkin can also help with diarrhea if you can’t get to the vet right away. For a larger list of what dogs can and can’t eat you may take a look here

So as you can see there is a lot of good information about dog food. I did my research and chose a dog food that works for my pups and my budget. I also learned about different allergens within dog food so I know to look for reactions and get my dog to the vet if needed. I do spoil my dogs however I do not feed them human food too often because it may make them not want to eat their own food. I mean I like to share but not that much. Whatever you decide to feed your dogs make sure it works for you. Do your research and consult your vet if needed so that your furry friend stays happy and healthy. Thank you for stopping by and be sure to drop a comment. Until next time!

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