By Rick McConico – Pro Trainer at Old Oak Retrievers
Some thoughts on dog foods. There are many good premium foods on the market today most of which will cost about $1-$1.50 per pound of food. We have some brands that we recommend that we either have experience with or know they have a good reputation.
Those brands are:
• Canine Caviar
• Red Paw
• Royal Canin
• Sensible Choice
The first 5 ingredients are the most important ones in the food. Look for a variety here with the first being some kind of meat meal (ie Chicken meal). For example if the food says rice, rice flour, rice bran etc that means there is a lot of rice in the food and they have just broken it down so that it looks better and other ingredients come out on top. So, not too much of any one ingredient.
Look for a food that is 22-25% protein and 12-16% fat for a maintenance diet. Puppy diets will be higher in both fat and protein. If you are doing a lot with your dog or it is hunting hard you will probably need to go to a performance diet with higher fat and protein. The 2 best high calorie foods we have found are Royal Canin 4800 and Canine Caviar. There are many higher protein and fat diets on the market today that are grain free and are a good option for many dogs. Calorie content has started to be included on many bags of food and this can help you decide what to buy depending on your dogs’ body condition and how it seems to be using its food.
A personal observation we have made is that diets which are more natural or holistic, with lots of fruits and vegetable ingredients, tend to produce a softer stool.
The food you choose should produce a dog that looks good, has a nice coat and a good stool. If you are not happy with any of those things then you should probably try a different food. One of the latest recommendations for foods is that they contain probiotics or good bacteria. This helps to maintain a healthy digestive system.
If you feel the need to supplement a diet, then go with probiotics and/or fish oils with flax oil. There are many of these on the market also so read the labels.