Choosing the Healthiest Dog Food for Your Dog


Choosing the Healthiest Dog Food for Your Dog

What is a Species-Appropriate Diet?

Standing in the dog food aisle of a pet store can quickly leave a dog parent overwhelmed and confused. We’re inundated with options and each brand is telling us that their food is the healthiest dog food on the shelves. Species-appropriate nutrition states that each animal has evolved to consume the diet that works best for their system.  Raw feeders believe that as descendants of the Grey Wolf, dogs are meant to eat a balanced raw diet.  However, those who promote a commercial kibble diet believe that dogs have evolved to consume more grains and starches. Who is correct?

Why Raw is the Healthiest Dog Food

A dog’s mouth contains teeth intended to rip and tear into meat and crunch on bones.  And a dog’s digestive system is short, which tells us that dogs need food that allows for the absorption of nutrients quickly.   With that in mind, it becomes clear that raw is the superior choice; fresh food is always healthier than processed food.  

However, it doesn’t stop there when analyzing what makes the healthiest dog food.

  1. Raw dog food isn’t a highly processed food.  
    • When a food is cooked multiple times during processing, the nutrients lose their value, requiring the addition of synthetic vitamins and minerals.  Raw dog food provides natural vitamins and minerals that are easy to digest and absorb into a dog’s system.
  2. Raw dog food contains living enzymes.  
    • Kibble is difficult to digest which is why some suggest soaking it in water or bone broth and adding a digestive supplement.  Raw dog food contains living enzymes, making it easier for dogs to digest and absorb nutrients in their system while strengthening the digestive system.
  3. Raw dog food boosts the immune system.  
  4. Raw dog food promotes healthy teeth and gums.  
    • Raw meaty bones floss and clean teeth, preventing tartar build up and promoting healthy gums and fresh breath.
  5. Raw dog food promotes a healthy body mass.  
    • The grains and starch in today’s kibble diets lead to weight gain in some dogs.  Obesity is the doorway to serious health issues including diabetes and cancer.  Feeding raw improves a dog’s metabolism, increasing their activity level and reducing excess fat while building muscle.

Choosing the Healthiest Dog Food

With the growing number of raw brands coming to market, dog parents have many options from which to choose.  To determine which is the healthiest dog food, start with the below criteria.

  • Don’t buy food based on advertising; read the labels.
  • Buy from brands that are transparent about sourcing and ingredients.
  • When reading the packaging, look for human-grade ingredients.
  • If not mentioned on the package, visit the brand’s website to find sourcing information.

And if you’re still not certain if this is the healthiest food for your dog, call the brand directly to have your questions answered.

Kimberly Gauthier

Kimberly Gauthier is the Dog Nutrition Blogger and Pet Food Nutrition Specialist behind Keep the Tail Wagging, a blog about raw feeding and dog nutrition.

Kimberly and her boyfriend are raising two sets of littermates in the Pacific Northwest where they enjoy a property with plenty of room to run and explore.

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