It is difficult to find someone who doesn’t like dogs. These adorable pets are an important part in the lives of most of us, as they give us so much joy yet do not ask us for much in return. They only need walks, affection, veterinary attention and, of course, good food.

The following guide that you are about to read will explain the important aspects of dog food to ensure you choose the right food for your four legged friend. When selecting a dog food, you must pay close attention to basic criteria such as the type of dog (pedigree or not), age, physical condition and lifestyle. Let’s take a look at what’s the most important thing to keep in mind when feeding your dog.

Key Facts

  • Not all dog food is the same quality. There are premium brands (high-end, more expensive and composed of certified ingredients), regular brands (with average ingredients) and generic brands (usually bought in bulk and sold in the vast majority of supermarkets). More details will be given throughout this guide about the quality differences of dog food.
  • Your dog’s nutrition and health go hand in hand: the more you invest (not just in terms of money) in their food, the better their health will be. If you lack the effort to research the best foods available or avoid spending a little extra, your dog may experience health problems, both in the short and long term.
  • There is dry dog food, wet dog food and semi-wet dog food available on the markets. In this guide we will write mostly about dry dog food because in our opinion, it is the dog food that is best suited to all types of breeds. If you have any doubts at all about your dog’s diet, you should consult your vet.

Ranking: The best dog food on the Australian market

Did you receive a dog as a present from someone? Did you decide to adopt a dog that was abandoned? Whatever the way you came to own a dog, we congratulate you, as taking on a dog as a pet is big responsibility yet a very rewarding one. When owning a dog, you not only have to take it for a walk regularly, but also look after their health (digestion, teeth and hair quality, among others), all of which is best done by providing your pet with a good, healthy diet.

No. 1: Hill’s Science Diet Adult Healthy Mobility Dog Food

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12kg bag. Hill’s Science Diet Adult Healthy Mobility chicken & rice recipe pet food provides a well balanced, easy-to-digest nutritional diet that will improve mobility and joint health in dogs. This is a premium dry dog food that helps dogs with mobility issues by improving levels of omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil contents along with other beneficial nutrients such as glucosamine and chondroitin to support cartilage and joint health.

Hill’s Science offers a 100% money-back guarantee so that if for any reason, you are unsatisfied, simply return the unused portion to Amazon for a full refund or replacement. When it comes to the diet and health of your dog, don’t compromise on quality and give them the best product on the market.

No. 2: Supercoat Adult Dog Healthy Weight

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12kg bag. Supercoat is an Australian made dog food that provides a precise combination of nutrients to keep your dog in top condition. This dry dog food is a smart blend of quality ingredients to give your dog energy, promote healthy digestion, improve your dog’s immune system and keep your dog’s coat shiny.
Inspired by nature and blended with scientific precision, Supercoat is specifically designed to promote your dog’s whole body health.

Made with real Australian chicken, this dog food is high in protein to help keep your dog feeling full for longer as well as keeping your dog’s digestive system healthy. At a price of $32 with free delivery, this is a great product for your four legged friend.

No. 3: OPTIMUM Chicken Vegetables & Rice Dry Dog Food

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4 x 3kg packets. The Optimum range of dog food is 100% complete and balanced with real meat and high quality protein sources. This dry food is expertly tailored for every life stage or life style and delivers functional health benefits with optimal levels of nutrition and absorption. The adult chicken flavour range contains a unique blend of antioxidants including vitamin E & C, to help strengthen the immune system and keep your dog healthy during all seasons.

This dog food has the backing of veterinarian Dr Chris Brown, who shares our passion that all pet’s should have access to great nutrition. Also available in beef and small-breed chicken, this dry dog food is a great way to keep your dog healthy and happy.

No. 4: MY DOG Roast Chicken Dry Dog Food

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4 x 1.5kg packets. The specially prepared roast chicken and garden vegetable flavour dry dog food combination from My Dog is the perfect balance of taste and nutrition for your special dog. The composition of this dog food is carefully prepared & balanced by using quality Australian meat so that you can be assured that you are feeding your dog a meal made from high quality ingredients.

Each of the 4 x 1.5kg packets contain a blend of crunchy and soft, meaty pieces which help keep teeth & gums healthy. The small packets are convenient for a smaller dog, who eats less throughout the week.

No. 5: NUTRO Wholesome Essentials Lamb & Rice Dry Dog Food

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15kg bag. This dog food is crafted to support healthy joints and help keep your dog fit as it does not contain any added artificial flavours, colours or preservatives. This dry dog food is a natural dog food with omega-3 & omega-6 to promote healthy skin and a soft, shiny coat as it is made with essential antioxidants, such as vitamin E, for a healthy immune system.

The main ingredient of this dry dog food is Australian lamb, but this product is also available in chicken and fish, depending on the taste preferences of your dog. For a high quality, nutricional dry dog food, the Nutro Wholesome dog food range is a great option for your pet.

Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about dog food

It’s time to answer the question that every dog owner asks themselves: what dog food should I buy. We are going to answer the most frequently asked questions among dog owners, offer appropriate advice and explain everything you need to know to properly feed your dog. By reading and following this guide, you will be able to provide your dog complete happiness and improve their life expectancy.

There are some dog breeds that are affected by changes in their environment or behaviours of their owners.
(Source: Jaromír Chalabala: 60225334/ 123rf.com)

What is dog food and what are the advantages of dry food?

It is dry dog food that comes in the form of small balls or croquettes with the intention of meeting the nutritional needs of our furry friends to maintain good health, both physical and mental. This has a lot to do with the type of food you give, as there are three main types of dry dog food as explained below.

  • Premium feed: It is the highest quality, so it is usually more expensive. If you invest in good food, your dog will have better digestion and the overall results will be: less gas, better quality stools, better health and will be satisfied for longer.
  • Regular feed: Tends to be purchased more frequently, mainly because it is more affordable. Not all products in this category are poor quality, but to find a good quality-price balance you will need to spend a little more than the average price.
  • Generic feed: It is usually the most sold in supermarkets. Regularly offered by commercial brands and contains ingredients that are poor quality (usually with a lot of added cereal, which fattens dogs).

In this article we will focus exclusively on dry feed as it is the most common form of dog food and the most beneficial in terms of price, storage and durability. What’s more, dry dog food also contains more nutrients and is more balanced than other alternatives. Here is a table where you can see the benefits and drawbacks of dry dog food.

Advantages
  • Economical
  • Eliminates plaque
  • Does not create a mess
  • Lasts for longer
  • Easy to ration
  • Improved digestion (especially premium or high-end ranges)
Disadvantages
  • Very dry, so your dog needs to drink water frequently
  • Sometimes it’s difficult to find a nice tasting dry food
  • Dog may become bored due to repetition

What types of dog food are there?

In addition to the above benefits of dry dog food, we also need to take a quick look at other types of dog food to give you the full picture. Within the product ranking section, we provided exclusively dry dog food products on Amazon Australia, but there is also wet and semi-wet dog food available on the market.

When we talk about feeding our dogs, we cannot simple assume that one type of food is the best and not consider the alternatives. The secret of a balanced and nutrient rich diet lies in knowing how to combine different foods together and offer your dog a nice variety. Imagine that every day you were given rice and chicken for lunch and dinner, you would surely get tired of this.

Types of food Characteristics
Dry The best-selling product. Usually has better quality ingredients. Basic pillar of a dog’s healthy diet
Wet Comes in cans with lots of water and moist food. It stains a dog’s teeth easily and the food bowl requires constant washing
Semi-wet Sold in plastic packages. Does not have a good dietary composition

Is wet dog food suitable for my dog?

It always depends a lot on the brand and the composition of ingredientes. Buying cans of Royal Canin is not the same as buying cans of Friskies. Without wanting to discredit certain products and keeping in mind that each brand tailors its products to certain markets and budgets, high-end wet dog food is important for providing your pet a healthy, balanced diet.

Here are the advantages and disadvantages of wet dog food:

Advantages Disadvantages
Better hydration Cannot stay in a dog bowl for long, as it spoils quickly
High-end products provide quality food and a good nutritional balance Usually generates tartar and obesity because dogs tend to eat more as it is more appetising
A good choice for pets with allergies or very large diets

What about semi-wet dog food?

This is a frequently asked question because when we go shopping for dog food, whether it’s on the Internet, in a pet store or supermarket, there are so many different options to choose from. As a general rule, semi-wet food is the least nutricional and although it may seem cheap, in the long run it will be more expensive due to the health issues that your dog will develop.

Advantages
  • Good dog reward, as well as an alternative to dog treats
  • Good taste and smell, which makes your dog want to eat more
Disadvantages
  • Contains more calories
  • Low quality ingredientes

Is it better to buy dog food or make home-cooked food?

There are more and more dog owners who are deciding, either as a health matter or to spend less, to regularly prepare their own homemade dog food. There is nothing wrong with this, as long as you ensure to maintain a certain balance in your dog’s diet. This alternative of dog food preparation is not for beginners, but for experienced owners that know how to prepare nutricional dog food.

Here are the advantages and disadvantages of homemade dog food:

Advantages Disadvantages
Dogs may prefer homemade food more than dry or wet food Many owners do not understand the nutritional balance requirements and always give meat to their pet. This creates health problems and more visits to the vet
More variety in your dog’s diet, as long the food is prepared well Extra effort as you have to prepare the food yourself
You can experiment with different flavours and organic ingredients Needs to be consumed quickly as it does not keep well at room temperature
Better stools and less gases Preparing your dog’s food is more expensive than buying dog food

How much dog food does my puppy need?

If you have a female dog who has just had a litter or you have recently acquired a puppy, you should know that their nutritional needs are completely different from those of an adult dog. However, as they grow, you must adapt their food so that they can eventually eat dry dog food. The following table will explain the puppy eating requirements through each stage:

Puppy age Nutritional needs
Up to 8 weeks Breast milk

From the third week onwards, small portions of wet food can be offered as it is easier to digest

In the sixth week you can introduce puppy food, in combination with breast milk

2 to 3 months Puppy should eat up to 4 times a day. If it is a small breed (like the Chihuahua), up to 5 times a day

You must buy quality puppy food. If in doubt, consult your vet

From 3 to 6 months Reduce the frequency of feeding to 3 times a day
From 6 months to 1 year Your dog should eat twice a day

Special requirements for adult dogs

Unlike puppies, adult dogs are fully formed animals, so they will be able to eat all kinds of food. That’s why you need to adapt the food to certain routines and lifestyles. The size and weight of each dog must be taken into consideration as not all breeds are the same. Below we explain what you need to know.

Dog size Dog weight Special requirements
Very small Less than 4kg Additional calcium, to avoid constipation and plaque formation
Small Up to 10kg Foods with high energy
Medium Between 11kg and 25kg Take care of the skin and natural defences
Large Between 26kg and 44kg Give digestible foods for good joint and digestive health
Extra large More than 45kg Review heart health frequently and give additional antioxidants

How much dog food is needed per day?

This depends on many factors, as you must take into account your dog’s age, breed, size, physical build, health status (healthy or unwell dogs eat differently) or if your dog is pregnant. As a general rule, the daily intake of food should be approximately 2% to 3% of the weight of your pet.

By weighing your pet (which we recommend doing once a month, so that you notice if your dog is overweight or excessively thin) and calculating 3% of that value, you will know how much food to give your dog. As well as this, almost all pet food packages include a guide table, detailing how much and how often the food should be given.

How do I feed my dog if they are overweight?

First of all, you have to make sure that your dog is actually overweight. To do this accurately, you must hold your dog you and feel their side area. If you can easily feel their ribs, it means your pet is healthy and a normal weight. If you don’t feel their ribs when you touch their sides, your dog needs help to lose weight. Increasing weight in dogs often happens because owners give the incorrect food for their needs (or many owners offer human food).

Human food, for example pasta, contains many carbohydrates, which breaks down in the form of sugar and accumulates in animals in the form of fat. It is therefore necessary to discard the habit of feeding your dog your leftover dinner and replace this with good eating habits. Dogs need to eat on time and maintain a stable eating routine as well as eating only their own food.

foco

Did you know that the “fingerprint” of dogs is their nose and each dog’s nose is unique

My dog doesn’t increase in weight, what dog food do I give?

In this case, the problem may not be that your dog isn’t eating enough, rather that they are not getting the necessary nutrients in their diet. This may be because the food you are offering is poor quality or because of health problems such as intestinal parasites. There is no point in overfeeding your dog or trying force feed your dog extra food. You must reconsider your dog’s diet and nutricional needs or seek the advice of your vet.

There are also some breeds of dog that are seriously affected by changes in their environment or behaviour of their owners which can lead to eating issues. If you relax your dog or stay close to them during meal time, they may eat properly again.

If you choose foods composed of prebiotics, you will be offering dog food with good bacteria for the large intestine.
(Source: Phana Sitti: 63687978/ 123rf.com)

If poor nutrition is the cause of low weight in your dog, we highly recommend that you invest in premium dog foods, as they have many health benefits (better digestions and greater assimilation of nutrients). You need to provide your dog with at least 23% protein as well as a better tasting food. To do this, you can mix dry food with a can of wet food.

Shopping Criteria

The moment of truth has arrived: what dog food should you buy? Here are some important criteria to keep in mind, so that you make a good decision when buying your next dog food. Feeding your dog properly is not always easy, but if you take some time to research, you can choose a high quality product that will be very beneficial for your dog. We will cover the following shopping criteria to help you make the best decision.

  • Ingredients
  • Vitamins
  • Aid the defences
  • Prebiotics
  • Premium dog food

Ingredients

The first thing you see as soon as you pick up a packet of dog food is the ingredient list. You know that this is important for your pet because the composition of the biscuits has a direct effect on their general health, both physical and mental. The following list shows a series of nutrients that are in dog food, sorted from highest to lowest percentage.

  • Protein: It is a basic component in the diet of our dogs (beneficial for muscles, bones and the immune system), so the food you choose should contain a high percentage of protein. Protein can also be classified into different types.
  • Lamb: This is one of the most appetising foods for dogs as it contains a high level of calories and protein. Providing your dog with food that contains lamb will make their stools more consistent (especially in animals with a history of digestive problems).
  • Chicken: Helps maintain strong and healthy muscles.
  • Salmon: Is a food that is high in protein and very easy to assimilate, whilst good for promoting a healthy coat and skin. This type of fish is beneficial for your dog’s teeth and bones.
  • Fats: Also known as lipids or oils, they are a fundamental pillar of your dog’s balanced diet. They are responsible for giving food a good taste and energy. They also help dogs to maintain body temperature and activate your dog’s muscles and body organs.
  • Carbohydrates: These are sugars and crystallised carbohydrates that, with fats, provide energy. It is important to offer your pet pre-digested cereals because of their short digestive tract. If you do not do this, your dog will not be able to digest the food well when it passes through the small intestine and reaches the large intestine. The food will then ferment and result in diarrhoea and flatulence.

Vitamins

Vitamins are an important component of your dog’s daily diet, such as vitamin B, which is responsible for maintaining a strong and silky coat. If the food is low in vitamins, this can create problems in the reproductive system, the nervous system or immune system, among others.

You should choose a dog food with vitamins A, B, C, D, E and K, which will give your pet an adequate supply of antioxidants, a good level of calcium and phosphorus (two minerals involved in the ossification of bones), antibacterial protection and optimal vision, among many other benefits.

Dr Chris BrownBondi Vet

“A pet is not just a ball of fun to have around. They can seriously benefit an owners health and well-being”.

Aid the defences

Dogs aren’t made of steel and sometimes the will become unwell. However as the saying goes, prevention is always better than a cure. To help prevent sickness in your dog, you should choose foods that contain known protectors. The immune system naturally provides defences against bacteria, fungi, parasites and viruses and if these natural defences don’t do their job, your pet may become sick.

Other causes of sickness can be sudden changes in temperature, prolonged stress, pollution or nutritional deficiency as these can weaken your dog’s defences. The inclusion of nutrients such as omega-3, vitamins E and C, taurine and lutein in your dog’s diet will help to solve this problem.

Dogs should always eat on time and maintain a stable routine.
(Source: Damedeeso: 42304648/ 123rf.com)

Prebiotics

These are vegetable fibres that are not digested by the small intestine and encourage the growth of bacteria that is beneficial to the large intestine of your dog. Unlike probiotics, prebiotics are not living organisms, so they can withstand sudden changes in temperature and are suitable for dog food.

Instead of your dog specifically ingesting this bacteria as a tablet, if you choose foods made with prebiotics, you will be providing your dog with food that contains good bacteria for the large intestine and helps to regulate their hormone levels. Prebiotics also reduce inflammation, as well as increase the absorption of nutrients in a dog’s body.

Premium dog food

By now you should be convinced that opting for premium dog food, even if it means a greater economic investment on your part, will benefit your dog in the short and long term. High-end food have a radically different manufacturing process and contain ideal ingredients as well as added vitamins and minerals.

High quality ingredients and components are one of the three pillars of premium food products. The other two pillars of premium dog food are: good composition (optimal content of fibre and minerals) and minimal cooking of the food. You can also ask your vet if your pet needs a prescription food that is tailored specifically for their diet.

The secret to a balanced, nutrient-rich diet lies in knowing how to combine different foods.
(Source: Monika Wisniewska: 58817622/ 123rf.com)

Summary

Buying dog food is a critical decision as a dog owner. Many supermarkets try to sell you any product and dog owners, often driven by economic factors, buy what is easy but not necessarily good for their dog. Buying the cheap dog food in the supermarket often leads to more costs in the long term at the vet.

If you follow our food and nutrition guidelines, you can be sure that you are doing the right thing by choosing a quality product for your dog. We know that a dog takes a lot of effort because your job as owner is not only to take them for walks and groom them frequently but also to look after their health.

We come to the end of this complete guide to dog food and we sincerely hope you enjoyed it. If so, remember to share on your social networks and comment in the section below. See you next time!

(Source of featured image: Jaromír Chalabala: 26746497/ 123rf.com)

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