For a lot of pet owners, finding the right dog food in India for their pets is a struggle. For some, there’s too much information at their disposal while others have too little information.
A general rule of thumb in selecting dog food is to consider the nutritional requirements of your dog, its age, activity level, and environmental and physical conditions. You should also consider your budget and convenience. These parameters take precedence even over the breed of your dog and using these as a yardstick would make it easier to select the brand of dog food best suited to your pet.
You can select one of these as your preferred choice but it is advisable to use a combination; this would help to even out the pros and cons and provide better diet variation for your dog. Although other forms of dog foods exist, these are the most common types.
Commonly known as kibble or dry food, this is the most commercial and convenient type of dog food. In fact, it was the first type of dog food produced commercially and it was made to make feeding more convenient for dog owners.
Pros of Dry Food
In its simplest form, Kibble is a mixture of most of the nutrients your dog needs; ground and cooked until dry.
Cheaper and Easy to Feed
One of its biggest advantages over other forms of dog food is that it is cheaper and easier to use. All you have to do is scoop it into a bowl and let your dog help itself to the meal.
Long Shelf Life
Another major advantage is its long shelf life. After opening a bag of dry food, it can last for months after as far as it is not exposed to moisture and other things that might affect its content adversely.
One of the major things dog owners often have to buy it is dental care. Due to the dry, abrasive nature of kibble, it can help to get rid of plaque build-up and some forms of bacteria that hide in the teeth. Of course, this should not make up the entirety of your dental care routine but it certainly goes a long way. If your pet does not chew its food before swallowing though, this benefit might be lost on it.
Health Care Tip!
Sometimes, the sugars found in dry food might get stuck to the teeth of your dog and if another dental care routine like tooth brushing is not carried out, it might create an oral health disaster for you. Alternatively, you should consider taking veterinary doctor’s advice on your dog’s overall dental care.
Cons of Dry Food
Despite the seemingly great benefits of dry food for dogs, it has its cons.
Partial Loss of Nutritional Value
It is common knowledge that food that has been cooked will lose some of its nutritional value, and some dry food manufacturers use very high heat during the production process. Even though some high-quality pet brands in India strive to use temperatures below 100 °C, some of the nutrients will still be lost.
Presence of Preservatives
Another disadvantage is the presence of preservatives. Of course, this is a necessary evil because these preservatives are important for the long shelf life, we all look for in dry dog food.
The best-selling brands of dry dog food in India provide dry dog food in various variants and flavors. However, it is always a good idea to take your vet’s advice before choosing the right food for your pet-dog in case your dog has a medical condition like diabetes, hair-fall, skin allergy, over-weight, etc.
Second only to dry food, wet dog food is another popular form of dog food. Wet dog food in India usually comes in pouches unlike the can packaging favored by western brands. However, can packaging option is also available in India at some veterinary clinics or shops. Like the name implies, wet dog food has some moisture in them and they have some great benefits.
Pros of Wet Food
Their moisture content makes them a better choice for easy digestion and absorption of nutrients. Just like humans, dogs need a lot of water for the biological processes in their body and using wet food is a great way to increase their water intake. This property is perhaps the greatest advantage wet food have over dry dog food. Wet food has about 70-80% moisture in it, a far cry from the averagely 10% moisture content found in dry food.
Wet food is tastier than kibble and also have a wide variation of formulas and flavors which make them more palatable to dogs and encourage healthier eating habits. This is especially helpful when your dog is a picky and selective eater. The different textures available for wet food also increases their palatability.
Cons of Wet Food
Build-up of Tartar and Plaque
Due to its fluid nature, wet food provides no abrasion and only aid the build-up of tartar and plaque in your dog’s teeth. Overtime, this build up would lead to serious oral health complications. To avoid this, you should consider incorporating some dry food to its diet or carrying out regular dental care routines such as tooth brushing or chewing. This would help to get rid of the build-up formed.
Some quarters believe that the higher the water content, the lesser the nutritional value. As wet food contains a lot of moisture, your dog might need to consume more of it to get the right amount of nutrients its body requires. Alternatively, you can add other forms of dog food to its diet or go for premium dog food which would be discussed shortly.
Little Extra on Pocket
Although wet food costs more than some other types of dog food, some dog owners do not seem mind and prefer to pay the extra cost for the benefits it affords them.
In simple terms, the word premium can be used to describe something that is of superior quality or value. In terms of dog food, premium foods are those that contain all the right nutrients required by your pet in their correct proportions. They also contain quality ingredients and are made to provide high nutritional standards.
Benefits of Premium Food
Safer and Healthier Option
Generally, premium dog food is a much healthier alternative goodness dog food; they have higher quality protein sources, added vitamins and antioxidants, and little to no chemical additives in the form of artificial dyes or preservatives. They favor more natural preservatives such as Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Cloves, etc.; and even though this means they do not have the long shelf life enjoyed by economy brands, they are much safer and healthier and can be considered as best dog food in India.
Higher Nutritional Value
Another thing that dog owners do not consider is that with premium food, less is more. Premium dog food usually has a higher nutritional value than the other brands which makes it possible for your dog to derive the same level of nutrition from a smaller portion of premium food as it would from a normal to large sized portion of the economy brands.
In the long run, you’d actually be saving on the money because your dog would be consuming less of the food to meet its needs. In a roundabout way, this also affects the poop your dog will produce eventually. Because it is consuming less food, it would produce less waste and this means less work for you!
Higher Trust Factor
You can easily spot premium food because they usually have premium labeled on their packaging. However, it might help to check out the nutritional value it offers and maybe compare it to other economy brands before making a purchase. You can do this by checking the side or back of the packaging for the nutrient analysis and see which offers more value. Again, check to see that its protein sources are of high quality.
Generally, high-quality protein would come from 3 to 4 meat products, and with premium brands, you can almost always trust that they made use of fresher meat products.
In human babies, extra care is taken to watch what they eat especially after weaning because much of their body’s growth takes place in infancy and through childhood. A mistake in the diet of a little child can lead to nutrient deficiencies which often have serious consequences for the health of the child.
For puppies, it is much the same. They are growing at an incredible rate, building bones, teeth and muscles, developing internal organs; not to mention all the energy they need to play as much as they do and learn about their environment. Generally, puppies require more intense nutrition than adult dogs because their bodies undergo a lot of building processes and changes.
Generally, most puppies begin the weaning process at 4 weeks and some are completely weaned by 6 weeks. At this point, they can consume soft to semi-moist foods. It is advisable to wait until they are about 8 weeks to introduce them to a dry food diet.
Before selecting a brand of puppy food for your pet, it might be wise to check with a vet as they would most likely have information on the best brands for your puppy along with the specific nutritional requirements of your puppy. You should also check the packaging of the puppy to see the age or life stage of puppies who should consume it. Also, check for the feeding guide and/nutritional value it offers to know how much of it you should be feeding your puppy.
The feeding guide would suggest the right quantity of food for your puppy based on its estimated weight and age. As your puppy would be growing rapidly, this might change too and you should monitor your dog from week to week and adjust its diet accordingly.
After using a particular diet for a month to six weeks, you should look out for the general outlook of your puppy. How playful is it? Does it display normal levels of energy or does it seem tired most of the time? How shiny is its coat; is it shedding hair?
If all the answers to these questions are positive, you’re using the right brand for your dog and doing something right with its feeding. If not, consider changing the brand or adjusting the quantity of food you give. To be on the safe side though, you should see your vet. Just like with babies, it’s very easy to make mistakes where the feeding of your pup is concerned.
Puppies 6 months and under should be fed 3 times a day, and afterwards you can relegate feeding to just twice a day. For normal breeds, you can consider changing to adult dog food at 9 to 12 months. For large breeds though, you have to wait until they are about 12 to 18 months before making that change. You should also note that large breed puppies usually have special food; this is because their nutrient requirements differ from that of other puppies.
In human nutrition, some people are not able to get a balanced diet from the food they eat and resort to health supplements (vitamins and minerals) to make up for the nutrients not provided by their food. Some dog owners transfer this same thinking to their dogs and incorporate health supplements to their diet.
It may be for specific reasons such as to improve coat shine and control shedding, relieve arthritis and gastrointestinal conditions or ease the effects of aging using certain antioxidants and vitamins. No matter how much ever well-intended this may be, it might do more harm than good. Most dog foods already contain the correct proportions of nutrients needed by your dog and adding supplements to its diet might just result in an excess of these nutrients in its body; this is potentially harmful.
Also, it might be that the adverse health conditions suffered by the dog are not a result of nutrient deficiency but simply a symptom of a more serious health disorder. This is why it’s important to see a vet before administering any health supplements.
If it is necessary to use health supplements though, you should be careful to read the label on each brand looking specifically for the nutrients provided and their quantity. You should also go for well-known brands and avoid using human supplements as they might contain ingredients that would be harmful to your dog.
Good dog food is essential for the health and well-being of your dog. It’s as important as food is to you. A well-fed dog would be able to fight against diseases and is generally healthier and more appealing to the eye than dogs who do not receive proper nutrition. Whatever life stage your pet is at, a well-balanced diet is key; let this guide you to select the very best for your dog.