Dog food is a surprisingly controversial subject. There is a TON of contradictory literature, memes, articles and little of it quotes anything in the way of scientific studies or papers. Separating fact from rumor from hysteria is genuinely hard. The short version is:
- There is good commercial food out there but you can’t buy it in a supermarket (Costco brand is great though! Read on for more information).
- The right food matters for the health, happiness, look and longevity of your dog
- If you feed commercial, sign up for recall alerts.
- Raw food is manageable and safe, but there is no research behind it. Be careful what sources you follow for meal planning.
- Trust advice when it can quote research sources
This section is going to heavily reference the website DogFoodAdvisor.com. Why trust Dog Food Advisor?
- The owner, while a dentist, has a degree in chemistry and is otherwise unrelated to the dog food industry
- Ingredients based analysis of brands, not based on sponsorship or marketing.
- All articles quote and reference scientific research, not marketing materials
- Anything with 4 or 5 stars on Dog Food Advisor:
- For puppies: https://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/best-dog-foods/best-large-breed-puppy-food/
- Dog Food Advisor sells a commercial service that gives specific brand recommendations however most of their data is available right on the free portions of the website. This article is the best breakdown of requirements for a good puppy food that you can find.
- 5 Stars: http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/best-dog-foods/best-puppy-foods/best-dry-puppy-foods-5-star/
- 4 Stars: http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/best-dog-foods/best-puppy-foods/best-dry-puppy-foods-4-star/
- Dog Food Advisor also rates commercial raw options:
- For puppies, follow the advice laid out in this article: https://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/best-dog-foods/best-large-breed-puppy-food/