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The Best Dog Food

***UPDATE***

(This first paragraph sums up my tips and you can skip through the rest of the article after reading the first paragraph.)

People often ask me what’s the best dog food for pitbulls so they can look like the dogs in our program. There’s not really any secret dog food or exercise to get them to look like our dogs. It’s mainly genetics and providing a quality dog food and vitamins to keep them in optimum health. You can easily search dog food ratings and decide between some of the top rated dog foods. Since not all dogs are the same you have to try out some of the top rated foods and see what works best for your dog. As far as VITAMINS for the pitbulls, we recommend checking out our page on vitamins. CLICK HERE!

What Are Your Options?
Deciding on the type of dog food you provide is one of the most important decisions you will ever make for your puppy or older dog. Dog food nutrition directly influences every aspect of your dog’s life. Things like how puppies grow, their behavior habits, health, overall well-being and appearance are all closely connected to the nutrition we provide – it’s a big responsibility.

With all the recent publicity and concern with the dog food recall of 2008 the spotlight has been aimed fairly and squarely at the big commercial dog food companies. Us dog lovers are finally becoming more aware and educated about providing wholesome, nutritionally balanced meals for our dogs. So where do we start in our search to find the best dog food? What are our options, and who can we trust or even believe?

Is “Premium Dog Food” the answer we’ve been searching for or “Natural Dog Food” or how about “Healthy Dog Food”? Maybe the best dog foods are “Holistic”, “Organic” or even “Lite”? And then there’s “Human Grade All Natural” – does anyone actually know what all these fancy terms mean? And what about “Raw Dog Food”? Is it what our dogs require, or is it dangerous? How about “Raw Meaty Bones”? Are bones safe? Maybe we have to prepare all of our dog’s meals from scratch to ensure its quality and nutritional value?

Choosing the best dog food can be an overwhelming decision – but why does it have to be so hard? I know from personal experience it can be difficult to see through all of the conflicting views, hype, marketing tactics and secrecy surrounding the dog food industry. After years of experimenting with different dog foods and lots of research I have reached an unfortunate conclusion. I feel that the vast majority of the big commercial dog food companies are far more focused on extracting the money from our pockets rather than the health and wellbeing of our precious dogs.

So when I set out to determine the best dog food available my main focus was always the health, vitality and longevity of my dogs – I want my dogs to thrive. I hope this article will help you to determine the very best puppy food for your dogs and make your feeding decision clearer.

The Benefits Of A Healthy, Well Balanced & Nutritious Dog Food Diet

A wholesome well balanced dog food diet promotes: Healthy skin and coat, strong well developed bones, bright clear eyes, firmer stools (and less of them), well defined muscle tone, quality of life and longevity, healthy teeth and gums, fewer trips to your Vet, no bad odor, fewer digestive problems, energy, vitality, fewer behavior problems and over-all health. I’d say it’s worth it, wouldn’t you?

How Does A Poor Diet Affect Your Dog?

A poor diet leads to an increase in: Cancers, weakened immune system, liver failure, sluggish behavior or hyperactive, putrid gas, diarrhea, dull coat and heavy shedding, epilepsy, vomiting, ear infections, compromised heart and kidneys, stunted growth and weakened bones, bad breath, bowel disease, diabetes, cystitis, cataracts, hypertension, build up in the eyes, arthritis, countless allergies and who knows what else…

What Are The Choices – What Should We Feed Our Dogs?

In my search to find the best dog food available I have narrowed our options down to three broad groups. I’ve listed them here with a brief explanation and expand on all three options further down this page, including reviews and direct comparisons.

1. Commercial Dog Food: This includes the packaged foods you find at your local supermarket, pet store or veterinarian. Commercial dog food is available in dry, semi dry and wet (canned). All the big names that we know so well are represented in this group, such as Diamond dog food, Pedigree, Iams and Science Diet. Is the best dog food located in this group? Not likely.

2. Raw Dog Food: This is the group growing in popularity. It includes the raw dog food and bones you prepare yourself or pre-packaged diets like BARF and Steve’s Real Food 100% natural dog food diet.

3. Homemade Dog Food: Anything you put together yourself at home. Is following good homemade dog food recipes the best choice for our dogs?

Commercial Dog Food – A Look Below The Surface

This category of dog food is by far the most popular choice amongst us dog owners. Commercial dog food is so convenient and reasonably priced – but what are the long term implications of feeding it to our dogs, and is it really value for money?

The sad truth is that most of these commercial dog food products (regardless of what fancy name is printed on the label) are rubbish – these big companies are taking us for a ride. It’s bad enough that they are happy to deceive us and rip us off blind, but the thing that really gets to me is that they appear to have no regard whatsoever for the health or wellbeing of our dogs.

Not all commercial dog foods are killing our dogs – just most of them. Most of these products are woefully deficient in key nutrients and are chock full of toxic rubbish and fillers (like grain) that provide no nutritional benefit to our dogs.

Some of the ingredients hiding behind the laughably inept labeling laws and fuzzy feel good marketing tactics are: Indigestible waste products, colors, dyes, toxins, pesticides, chemicals, harmful preservatives (BHA, BHT and Ethoxyquin) and antibiotics. It doesn’t stop there, then you’ve got a wide range of dead, diseased, disabled or dying animals prior to their visit to the slaughter house added to the mix. You may even find some so called animal “by-products” and some recently euthanized pet cats or dogs. Basically all of the rubbish that other industries can’t or won’t use can end up in your dog’s dinner bowl. To top it all off any nutrition that is present in this toxic cocktail is then ruined by the cooking processes used.

Just imagine if you or I were able to lay all of the contents of a typical commercial dog food product out on a table in front of us. I’ve got no doubt we would be at first surprised, then disgusted and angry – have you ever tried to read the label on a can of dog food?

Thankfully not all dog food companies take us for ignorant fools. Some have even realised that we are capable of looking beyond the hype and doing some research of our own – some may even care about our dogs. Andrew Lewis has recently conducted a detailed study into the merits of commercial dog foods. He has now identified 9 brands of commercial dog food that passed his strict criteria and are safe to feed to our dogs. I can’t divulge his findings here for copyright reasons (which is fair enough considering that Andrew put in all the time, resources and money to discover the truth).

The raw dog food diet is the growth sector within the dog food marketplace. This category includes the raw food you source and prepare yourself or the pre-made and packaged products like Dr. Billinghurst’s BARF raw food diet (evolutionary diet), Steve’s Real Food for dogs and Primal Pet Foods.

Raw dog food is a fairly broad term as there are many variations on this feeding method. The common thread with raw food enthusiasts is that they believe feeding raw is the most natural way to feed a dog. Raw foodies believe that this is the way dogs have successfully evolved and that eating a raw diet is the way nature intended dogs to get their nutrition. The raw food diet is said to replicate how a dog would eat in the wild. A raw dog food diet is sometimes referred to as an “all natural” diet as ingredients are generally free from chemicals, preservatives, additives, by-products and fillers (like worthless grains).

Some raw food proponents love to give big meaty bones and others won’t. The same applies with fruit and vegetables – some people say that vegetable matter is a natural part of a wild dogs diet, gathered from the stomach of their prey. The following is an example of the real whole foods that are included in a raw dog food diet. These ingredients are usually organic or all-natural produce: Chicken, lamb, pork, salmon, turkey, kangaroo, rabbit, quail and organ meat. You may also find raw meaty bones and a long list of fresh fruit and vegetables. Plus you’ll find nutritious ingredients such as eggs, kelp, yogurt, flax seed meal and other supplements. Compare this list to what you read on a commercial dog food label – there’s simply no comparison.

Raw foodies argue that a raw food diet provides the enzyme rich nutrients and amino acids in a perfect unaltered state – which is easily digested. They believe that the raw dog food diet leads to fewer visits to the Vet, strengthened immune systems and less allergy and disease. They also point to the over-all health and appearance of their dogs for proof that the raw diet is the right way to go. Raw foodies report increased longevity and reproductive capacity in their dogs. Another benefit of feeding raw is healthy teeth and gums and well developed jaws, neck and shoulder muscles (from all the chewing).

On the other hand detractors of feeding raw focus on the danger of foodborne illness through the threat of bacteria like salmonella and E. coli. Some also say that it is difficult to feed a nutritionally balanced meal the raw way.

One tip I would suggest if you are considering the raw feeding option for your dogs is to go out and visit a breeder or friend who already feeds a raw dog food diet. Have a chat with them and take a really good look at their dogs – the health of our dogs is always what matters most.

Homemade Dog Food – Dog Food Recipes

With all the recent news about the dog food recall and associated concerns with commercial dog foods, the homemade dog food option has really come to the fore.

Preparing your dog’s meals from scratch has many benefits, including the complete control of all meals served. You know exactly what goes into every meal (and where it was sourced) and you also know that it has been prepared in a clean environment.

It does take an organized person to set up a homemade feeding plan and then prepare all of the daily meals. The homemade dog food option also comes with the added responsibility of formulating nutritionally balanced meals (proteins, vitamins etc.) and meeting the calorie requirements for your individual dog. If you arm yourself with some good dog food recipes and get into a routine this process is not all that difficult to maintain.

Typical homemade dog meals include big meaty stews, healthy soups, pies, vegetables and maybe some raw bones every now and then.

My Experience & Recommendation for the best dog food

Okay, so what does all of this mean? Many people ask me what the best pit bull bully dog food is and what I feed to my own dogs. To be honest, if I had the time and was more organized, I would prepare all of my dog’s meals from scratch, plus add lots of raw meaty bones to their diet. But for the moment, I feed my dogs Taste of the Wild. Taste of the World is packed with lots protein and is grain free. I also toss them some raw meaty bones every few days – they are doing great on this diet. This food is more expensive than most but the health benefits far outweighs the added cost. Plus you’ll find that you feeding will be greatly reduced when your dog food is of a high quality along with regular visits to your vet.