Whether you’re a new dog parent or a seasoned owner, it’s easy to get confused by what types of dog food are the right choice.
From those preaching raw to those who think kibble is best, you might be baffled by the choices available to you.
We’ll give you a definitive list of the types of dog food and the pros and cons of each so that you can make an informed decision for your doggy!
If you’re still confused by the end of it, don’t worry! It makes sense to try out different types of dog food to see how your pooch reacts, and you might not always get it right the first time!
Kibble is by far the most popular of all types of dog food. It’s a dry biscuit that’s either been oven baked or cooked at high temperatures through a process called extrusion.
However, not all kibbles are made the same way. Instead of using extreme temperatures, Reet Good freshly steams the meat in our kibble to ensure the nutrients aren’t lost.
If you cook any food at a high temperature, it’s going to lose most or all of its nutritional value, which is why we prefer not to do that.
- Economical – The quality of ingredients has improved over the years in this sector, from offal and off – cuts to human grade meat, fruit and vegetables. Regardless of these improvements, dry kibble is still the cheapest way to feed your dog a complete diet.
- Easy to store/transport – Even with raw food becoming more popular and wet food commanding a portion of the market, kibble still holds it’s own, it comes to storage. As long as it is kept dry and pest free most kibbles have a shelf life of a year or over.
- Good brands provide complete nutrition – Not long ago, the quality of dry foods didn’t matter; they contained the cheapest cuts of meat and were bulked with grains and fillers. Nowadays, pooches are pampered the way they should be, and that includes quality dry kibbles. At Reet Good, we only use human grade ingredients in our steaming process, and every one of our ingredients is traceable back to the farm they were produced.
- Some have artificial flavours/fillers – Reet Good no artificial colours or preservatives but not all brands can claim this! Many of them are bulked up with additives that don’t benefit your doggy.
- Some don’t have the right amounts of protein/nutrients – This is often an issue with cheaper brands, but don’t be fooled by some of the big, well-known brands either! Just because a brand is well known and has a fancy advert doesn’t mean they are using the best ingredients. Always check the labels and make sure they put the percentage content of meat and grains, so you know what you are buying!
- Some Dogs can become fussy eating the same flavour – With many brands the flavour range is limited, which can bore your doggy over time. Reet Good has six flavours to choose from, all wholly balanced containing 50% meat protein in every bag.
Some dogs prefer wet food because of the taste and texture. The food does not need to be dried out or cooked at high temperatures, which means more of the nutrients, fats and oils remain intact.
Wet food is also sealed in an airtight container which prevents it from spoiling; unlike kibble and raw, which need to be used in a specific timeframe. The meat in wet food is much closer to its natural state, which often makes it more palatable.
However, as discussed in our blog about dogs dental problems, wet food can be detrimental to a doggie’s dental health. The food can stick in between their teeth and create a build-up of bacteria and plaque, whereas kibble has an abrasive texture that acts as a natural teeth cleaner.
People often like to combine a diet of wet food and kibble to give their dog variety. You can try a feeding method called topping, where you put the kibble on top of the wet food to create a tasty treat for your doggy!
- Easier for senior dogs – After chasing balls, chewing bones and catching sticks all their lives, it’s inevitable that a dog’s teeth can get chipped and worn down. Kibble often becomes difficult to, so wet food is a good alternative.
- Long shelf life
- Sometimes more palatable
- More expensive – The most economical way to feed your dog a complete diet is with kibble. Wet food is notoriously pricier than a kibble diet.
- Can have higher water content – This means that a portion of every tin/sachet has little, to no nutritional value. High water content also means that bladders get fuller quicker and have to be emptied more often.
- Can cause dental problems – As we explained, wet food gets stuck in between teeth and causes a build-up of plaque and bacteria. While it’s advised to brush your dog’s teeth every day we know not everyone can manage that.
Raw food is exactly what it says: raw meat. Obviously, storing raw meat in significant quantities can be difficult; not everyone has a walk-in butcher’s fridge in their home.
This means you’ll have to freeze and defrost the meat to keep it sanitary and stop the spread of harmful bacteria. Again, this can pose a problem.
If you have a family, your freezer might already be full of frozen pizzas and ice cream, with not much spare space for several legs of raw lamb.
Availability of space can be a major con of feeding your dog raw, but it hasn’t put off the thousands who pledge allegiance to the diet.
As well as storing, preparation can be a time-consuming task. There are defrosting hours, not to mention the supervision during feeding time to check your dog doesn’t choke on any bones.
However, of all the types of dog food on this list, the trend for feeding raw is definitely growing the fastest! It’s important to weigh up if it’s just a trend or something sustainable for you to do long term.
- Removes unnecessary carbs and grains – Dogs digest meat more efficiently than carbs and grains so having food that’s bulked up with them can have a detrimental effect on their digestive system
- Can help overweight dogs – Again, the removal of grains and carbs means it’s likely to stop your dog’s digestion and prevent them from gaining weight.
- Knowing what is in the food – With raw what you see is what you get.
- Very Expensive — 2-4 times more expensive than kibble.
- Doesn’t last very long- Unless you have the freezer space the shelf life is less than a week
- Can cause a nutritional deficit – Although when you think of dogs and their ancestors in the wild eating predominantly meat, they will supplement their diets with berries, grass or anything they can scavenge. This allows for a varied and more complete diet. When feeding raw meat solely, additives need to be added. The primary deficiency is calcium: phosphorous imbalance.
- Hard to store
- Time-consuming to store/prepare
- Risk of bacteria/illness to dogs and humans- There has been a rise in gastroenteritis cases in dogs that coincides with the increase in raw feeding. This usually due to improper storage which allows bacteria to multiply to dangerous levels. This can then lead to dogs suffering from vomiting, diarrhoea and dehydration.
As many dog owners start to analyse what their dogs are eating, they chose to cook their food at home. It can be challenging to create a well-balanced diet for your dog at home, and you need to know exactly what goes into its food.
If your dog suffers from food allergies or has specific dietary requirements, homemade food could be the ideal solution. You can create a tailor-made diet plan to suit their individual needs!
You also limit your dog’s intake of preservatives, additives and unnatural ingredients, because you’re making everything fresh and know exactly what’s going into it.
On the other hand, it’s not convenient to cook fresh food for your dog every meal time and can take a lot of preparation and organisation.
Cooking your own dog food will likely be more expensive than buying kibble or wet food, and you need to know what you’re cooking is going to benefit them. Take a look at the pros and cons of homemade food against other types of dog food before you decide!
- Suitable for dogs with allergies/sensitivity
- Know precisely what your dog is eating
- No additives or preservatives
- Useful if you run out of dog food
- May not have all the ingredients dogs need
- Short shelf life
- Lots of research required to get the right ingredients
Dehydrated food is one of the more uncommon types of dog food. It begins raw and then hot, dry air is circled around it to remove the moisture without cooking.
The food is then rehydrated before serving with hot water. This technology and processes are essentially the same as how things like instant coffee and pot noodles are made. It is relatively new in the pet food market but is becoming more popular.
- Long shelf life – As it contains absolutely no water, bacteria and mould cannot cultivate and spoil the food.
- Easy to transport – It has the same properties in its dry form as kibble, its simple and easy to take anywhere, rehydration is simple with the use of a flask.
- Nutrients are locked in during the cooking process.
- Not as messy as raw
- Easier for dogs who already have bad dental health – Again, these doggies might have trouble breaking down hard kibble so wet food seems like an obvious solution.
- Expensive- This technology is still in its infancy compared to its rivals, which makes the machinery and cooking process costly.
- Rehydration time – Much like raw and homecooked, this cannot be fed without a short preparation time.
- Dogs may not enjoy the taste/texture- The dehydration process does change the texture and taste of the food. Coffee aficionados can attest to the difference in taste between instant and freshly ground coffee. We can only assume that some dogs will have the same opinion to dehydrated food.