A dog food review: How to choose a good dog food

A dog food review: How to choose a good dog food
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Dog food.  One of the most important things to buy when getting a dog. But there is so much choice.  How do you know what to buy?  What makes a good dog food?  This dog food review will tell you all about my journey through choosing a dog food and what led me to my final decision.

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I adopted my lovely dog back in September.  As Luna was adopted, she was already eating a particular dog food. Although I had some concerns about the food as it was a vegan diet, I decided to keep her on the same food for a while as there was already a lot of change in her life by coming to live with us. However, after a few weeks she was still shedding a lot and had so much dandruff which was causing her to scratch all the time to try and relieve the itching.  Around the same time, we took Luna to the vets to get her vaccines updated and the vet suggested it was time to change her diet to one with a higher protein level to help her skin and coat.

So, my search for a new food began.

Shelves of dog food for a dog food review

I entered the pet shop thinking I would just simply choose a new food for Luna. However, what I wasn’t expecting was shelves and shelves of different types of dog foods. The choice that was available in the shop was overwhelming. How on earth was I supposed to choose just one for my dog? And not just one, but one that was going to be really good for her?

I must have spent about half an hour just walking up and down looking at all the different types and getting no closer to my choice. Therefore, I decided I needed a system to be able to narrow down my options.

Requirement 1:

The packet states which type of meat is in the food

There were a lot of bags of dog food which were just “meat” or a type of “meat meal”. I quickly decided I needed to know what was in the food before giving it to my dog. I started making a list of all the dog foods which specifically said what meat the food was made from and their prices. This helped to narrow down my choice a bit but I still had 8 to choose from. However, 2 of the 8 were made up of dried chicken which I wasn’t as comfortable with.

Requirement 2:

The food had to have a high proportion of meat

I went back to each of the foods on my list and noted down their percentage of meat. There was a large variation ranging from 4% to 55%. I removed the lowest three foods from my list as well as the food which stated the quantity of meat as “not clear”. This left me with three brands to choose from:

  • Barking Heads – Bowl Lickin’ Chicken – 55%
  • Lily’s Kitchen Adult – Chicken and Duck – 42%
  • Pooch & Mutt – 42%
    • Health & Digestion
    • Calm & Relaxed

Prices and percentages of all foods are correct as of 5/1/19.

Extra Requirements:

To be able to choose my new dog food from the few I had left, I decided to look more closely at each food packet to see what extra benefits they offered to my dog. As Luna had problems with her skin and coat, it was important that this be helped by the food. Also, as she is a nervous dog, I looked for benefits for calming dogs and reducing the strain on her digestive system.

Barking Heads - Bowl Lickin' Chicken

2 kg bag for £10.99.

Serving size for Luna: 200g

Bag will last 12.5 days and will cost £0.88 per day.

12 kg bag for £46.99.

Serving size for Luna: 200g

Bag will last 60 days and will cost £0.78 per day.

I was quite keen about this dog food as the sign said it contained 55% of chicken. However, on closer inspection it contains 34% chicken and 21% dried chicken. This is still a high proportion of chicken for dog food and it has a good price for the quality.

Another aspect I was disappointed about was that this food contains grains which are not so good for digestion.

The packet lists these benefits:

  • Boosts immune system
  • Good for healthy digestion
  • Good for joint health
  • Made from natural ingredients
  • Free from artificial colours, flavours and preservatives

Lily's Kitchen Adult Free Run Chicken and Duck

2.5 kg bag for £14.99.

Serving size for Luna: 200g

Bag will last 12.5 days and will cost £1.20 per day.

7 kg bag for £41.40.

Serving size for Luna: 200g

Bag will last 35 days and will cost £1.18 per day.

12 kg bag for £59.98.

Serving size for Luna: 200g

Bag will last 60 days and will cost £1.00 per day.

This food has 42% meat made up of mostly chicken and some duck. Although  this food has a higher price than others, it is a good quality food. Lily’s Kitchen was recommended to me by several people previously when I was having trouble getting my cat to eat.

The packet lists many benefits most of which seem to be gained from both the high meat content as well as fruits, vegetables and natural herbs:

  • Grain free
  • Bone and joint support
  • Immune system boost
  • Prebiotics for healthy digestion
  • No artificial additives or fillers
  • Omega 3 and 6 which are good for their health and their coats and skin
  • Natural joint care from glucosamine and chrondroitin
  • Perfect for sensitive tummies

Pooch & Mutt

Calm & Relaxed

2 kg bag for £13.98.

Serving size for Luna: 160g

Bag will last 12.5 days and will cost £1.12 per day.

Health & Digestion

2 kg bag for £12.94.

Serving size for Luna: 160g

Bag will last 12.5 days and will cost £1.04 per day.

Finally, Pooch & Mutt also has 42% of animal meat; turkey in calm & relaxed, salmon in health & digestion. This is same quantity as in Lily’s Kitchen.

There are two types of Pooch & Mutt that I looked into as one was specifically for digestion and one was specifically for calming which were two important things I was looking for.

Calm & Relaxed

  • Free from grain
  • Sweet potato contains high levels of anti-stress B-vitamins
  • Low GI index
  • High is digestion-aiding fibres
  • Chamomile – traditional for relaxing
  • L-tryptophan – a natural amino acid which makes serotonin for relaxation
  • Pre- and pro-biotics aid digestion
  • Free from artificial colours and preservatives

Health & Digestion

  • Rich in omega 3 (good for health, coat and skin)
  • Easily digestible
  • Pre- and pro-biotics aid balance of good bacteria
  • Free from grain
  • Free from artificial colours
  • Charcoal used for flatulence since Ancient Eygpt
  • Psyllium is a fibre source that aids digestion

Decision Time!

Now it’s time to choose my new dog food. I wasn’t keen on having grain in the dog food so Barking Heads was out. The other two brands both had the same meat quantity and had similar prices per day. I would have been happy giving Luna either of these brands but one had to be the winner.

Lily’s Kitchen was the winner in the end as several people had recommended it before for my poorly cat. I trusted these recommendations and as the two brands I was choosing between were very similar, this helped me to make my final decision. Luna is very happy with my choice and can’t get enough of it. Her coat has become shinier and her dandruff is almost gone. I hope this dog food review will help you with the process of choosing a dog food for your lovely pup. 

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