I guess the first question you should answer before you even consider "what to feed your dog" is "what is a dog?" You might laugh, but it's an important question, and is normally the first thing one would ask when considering what to feed an animal or what things that are appropriate for the animal.
According to Wikipedia a dog is - a domesticated form of the wolf, a member of the Canidae (wolf like dog like [fox etc.]) family of the order Carnivora (carnivore) meat eaters. That's right folks - "meat eaters!"
Just like people (my opinion) if you aren't eating what your body can process for your nutritional needs you aren't eating right. There are things that aren't good or right for humans. Some may do well with a protein type diet others a carb type and some maybe both. But this blog is about pets our dogs and dogs aren't human! They then need what is right for them.
There's a lot of talk out there on dog food and what to feed them; anywhere from whats best to what a person can afford. My dad has been known to say; "It used to be that your dog lived a long life without much problems - now your spending thousands of dollars just to keep them alive!" There seems to be some truth in that statement and I believe it can have a lot to do with the food. However, I won't deny there are irresponsible owners, bad stuff that just seems to happen and somethings beyond our/their control.
Over the years we've had several dogs and before moving to Ohio our dog Otto was eating what we thought was best for the price. It didn't have a lot of grains and seemed to have all the things that you would say sounds and looks good stuff - Otto appeared to be doing fine. Then we purchased a Jack Russell and had them both on what the breeder had their dogs on; Nutro (lamb/rice) this seemed to be good also until after moving to Ohio. It only was a short time after moving Otto started to develop allergies - which lead to several costly trips to the vets and several food changes - none that worked. Our Jack on the other hand still seemed to be fine. I'm sad to say we lost a wonderful dog in Otto, he became so ill and in so much pain we made the decision to put him down than continue a regiment of prescription drugs that didn't work.
Our son and daughter n law purchased a bullmastiff from a "natural rearing" breeder in Washington and she fed a BARF diet to all her dogs, we were able to see all the dogs she had at her place and they were amazing to say the least. After Sage came into the picture, the kids with Sage came for Christmas and that was the first time we witnessed the BARF diet in action. We started feeding our Jack "Miki" the diet along with Sage. To our surprise were didn't realize Miki wasn't at her best health until after she had been on raw appropriate food for dogs. We are absolutely convinced it would have saved Otto's life! Miki is now nine years old and can run rings around most - except for some grey she's still a pup.
When witnessing how well she was doing and not just physically but in temperament; the "whole dog" was having her needs met: I kept researching more and more into it only to find many pictures of dogs and cats that have suffered needlessly by a lack of knowledge from pet owners. The stories are amazing - how the well being of their pets were turned around by going raw. Now you may be asking yourself what is BARF or feeding raw to dogs; here are a couple types of raw diet and it would surprise you that its easier than you think to feed as well as, not as expensive as you are thinking - it definitely has saved us in costly vet bills.
BARF is Bones and Raw Food Diet - SARF is Species Appropriate Raw Food Diet - We still have Miki and Sophie (our bulmastiff) both on a raw diet
and I can honestly say its the best thing we've ever done.
For those of you out there that still aren't "excited" about the prospects of feeding raw and are happy with feeding "kibbles" that's still your choice, but when purchasing dry do some research and purchase what is the closest to the appropriate food as possible. And, for you that are convinced you can feed better but raw is out there's still hope in feeding a good / excellent quality dry dog food. Remember we search ourselves and I realize with so many choices out there it is somewhat disappointing to say the least but you can get quality food if you choose not to go raw.
Again it starts with knowing what is appropriate for canines and remember they are carnivores; mostly all brand you find in stores are not appropriate for canines even though they have the "sounds and looks good stuff" it doesn't. Words on labels can be deceiving so you need to do some homework - don't choose less than the best for your canine. Now I know your now thinking cost and we've shared with others that have a hard time with - especially during these economic times we are in. I would kid you things are tough we can vouch for that ourselves but our research, as well as recommendations from family, has lead us to conclude that the best pet food for the money is "Life's Abundance" from Trilogy. Here on their site you can compare their brand to other top sellers out there - you will be surprised - without a doubt. Be sure to look at the size of bag as well as the serving size of each.
And, since we've taken on the role as care givers for 10 - now 8 puppies we have been feeding Life's Abundance to give the pup a good start before going to their new homes. We've seen the difference it makes with them over all just like when feeding Molly their mom. Molly made such improvement when we started her raw/dry and Life's Abundance meets the needs of both pup and adult dog. We still feel raw over all is the best and many raw food "natural rearing breeders" still start their pups on the raw and when selling the pups sell to those who will continue in that direction if we keep a pup we'll be doing the same. The pups we're caring for have had to supplement while nursing - to many pups for what was available and have done well with what I feed them.
I hope this was helpful to you and if you have guestions or would like more info leave in comments and I can send along other helpful links that we've found.