4 Guides From Canine Nutritionists On What To Feed Your Dog
Step 2 of 9 in the Dogly Improving Kibble Channel
with Cory & Jane of Dogly

There are a lot of choices when it comes to selecting dog food and deciding what to feed your dog. Who among us couldn't use some expert guidance from canine nutritionists to ensure we're feeding our adult dogs a good diet?

We've brought together canine nutritionists and asked them to share their best advice on choosing dog food for your individual dog in the Improving Kibble Channel here on Dogly. We've organized their advice into 4 step-by-step guides for you to easily learn from and select a good dog food for your dog's diet.

We'll go through an overview of each step-by-step guide below, but you can jump to any of them here if you want to get started immediately:

Ready to talk about dog food and your dog's health? Let's get into it.


Dog Food Guidance Guide 1: How to choose the right dog food for your dog

As a canine nutritionist and Dogly Nutrition Advocate, Alicia Boemi gets asked a lot of questions about commercial dog food brands and what dogs eat in general. So much so that she put together a step-by step guide that covers the 5 most common questions she hears with actionable answers for you.

Here's a quick overview of the 5 dog food related questions and answers, or you can jump to the full guide here.

Question 1: Between dry dog food, canned dog food, wet dog food, home cooked diets, and raw diets - what's best to feed your dog?

Answer Overview: Yes, there are a lot of choices in dog food and yes, there are dog foods that are better than others. The most important factor is that you feed your dog a complete and balanced diet. From there, finding the best dog food depends on your individual dog, specific nutritional value needs in your dog's diet, and what type of high quality food is realistic for your lifestyle.

Question 2: Is all commercial dry dog food bad to feed my dog?

Answer Overview: If you choose a kibble-type dry dog food with the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) approval on the dog food label, at the very least, you have the assurance the dog food is complete and balanced in its delivery of required essential nutrients to support your dog's health.

Jump to the full guide here for Alicia's recommendations on what to look for on dog food labels.

Question 3: What factors should I consider when choosing my dog's food?

Answer Overview: Make sure you're purchasing dog food for the right life stage of your dog - particularly for a puppy or for senior dogs. Your dog's age plays a big role in his or her different energy and nutrient needs from food so be sure your senior dogs are getting proper nutrition just as you would for an adult dog or puppy.

Go to the full guide where Alicia explains other factors to consider when choosing the right food for your dog like health problems, maintaining a healthy weight, and if your dog has a food allergy.

Question 4: How can I find reliable resources on dog nutrition and good dog food?

Answer Overview: Social media is overflowing with misinformation - opinions, even judgement - from people largely without any expertise or basis in fact. If you come across an article or report, be sure the source behind it is a certified canine nutritionist.

It's also why Dogly exists. Alicia and the other Dogly Nutrition Advocates are all certified canine nutritionists and here to guide you through your dog nutrition questions in any of the Nutrition Channels here on Dogly like Improving Kibble, Basic Nutrition, Home-cooking, etc.

Question 5: Can I take a "holistic" approach to dog food if I feed commercial dog food?

Answer Overview: "Holistic" has no regulatory or nutritionally accepted definition but the short answer is yes. Here are two ways. First, look for dog food with fewer, more natural nutrients and ingredients. Second, learn easy ways to start feeding your dog 20% fresh food in his/her main diet.

For a few easy, but big-impact hacks to mix fresh food in with your dog's food, go to the full guide here.

And that's the overview of your first dog food guide in the Improving Kibble Channel here on Dogly! Check out the full guide at any of the links above or continue on to the overview of the next guide to learn how to check if your dog is getting all of the nutritional value out of his/her dog food.


Dog Food Guidance Guide 2: How to check if your dog is getting the nutritional value needed from his/her dog food

We all want our dogs to live happy and long lives. One of the key ways to make that happen is to ensure your dog is getting all of the nutrients and energy requirements he/she needs from dog food. The full guide here goes through 3 steps to know which and how much food to feed your dog to meet his/her energy and nutrient requirements.

Here's a short overview of the 3 steps from the full guide:

Step 1: Make sure you're feeding your dog a complete and balanced dog food

Complete and balanced in dog food diets means all minimum nutrient requirements are met in the ingredients. How can you tell? For food from commercial dog food brands, look on the dog food label that it meets The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) or NRC guidelines for minimum nutrient requirements.

The full guide goes into more about what to look for on dog food labels and ensuring a raw diet or homecooked meal is complete and balanced. Jump over there or continue on to the overview of step 2 below.

Step 2: Check if your dog's food has any red flags

When analyzing the best dog foods, you want to look for the cleanest, most recognizable ingredients, so anything either you can't pronounce (aka chemicals, preservatives) or that isn't obviously what it is (animal byproducts?/whatever meal?), steer clear.

It's also a good idea to stay away from dog food from companies using terms like ratio diets, prey model, and 80/10/10, as well as any dog food company that references feeding only by body weight and using a percentage of feeding by body weight.

The full guide has more, plus a good rule of thumb to follow when analyzing new food, but let's continue to the overview of step 3 below.

Step 3: Learn how to calculate how many calories and which nutrients your dog needs every day

For this step, I highly recommend going to the full guide straight away for the equation to calculate your dog's daily calorie requirements. There's also a pretty cool calculator for you to check out to find your dog's daily nutrient needs.

It's important to know how many calories your individual dog needs for energy to support his/her activity level and ideal weight. Then you can determine the nutrients your dog needs, which ones, and how much.

These two pieces of information will help you either assess your adult dog food or select the home-cooked or raw diet that will deliver both the target calorie count and nutrients in the right amounts for your dog.

The most important thing to take away from this guide is every dog is an individual. A new food that works well for your dog may not do well with another dog, and that's why we take the time to make sure your dog's food is meeting his/her specific needs!


Dog Food Guidance Guide 3: Recommended dehydrated and freeze-dried dog food from a canine nutritionist

For this and the next guide overview, all of the dog food brand recommendations will be in each guide themselves so I highly recommend that you jump over to the guide if you're looking for freeze-dried and dehydrated dog food recommendations. Or, look below in the fourth guide for the direct link to the dry food recommendations.

Not every dog owner can feed a raw diet or make home-cooked meals - and that's ok! We just want to help you feed the best type of food you are able to feed.

A few benefits of freeze-dried and dehydrated dog foods are:

  • The process of making it preserves more nutrients than the high-heat cooking dry food undergoes
  • Often more palatable for most dogs than kibble
  • Can be used as toppers or mix-ins to add flavor and nutrition to your dog's meals
  • Much more convenient than raw meat, since no thawing or cooking is required

In general, freeze-dried dog food or dehydrated food is a good in-between choice for dog owners who want a commercial dog food and might not be able to afford raw or cooked pre-made commercial diets but are looking for something more than kibble. Since the freeze-drying process avoids the high-heat processing used for dry dog food, the nutritional qualities of the raw food remain more intact as it would in a traditionally prepared fresh or raw diet.

Go to the full guide to see the freeze-dried and dehydrated dog food recommendations from a canine nutritionist and a few ideas to add even more good nutrition to your dog's bowl while rehydrating your dog's food.

And please remember, it's very important you're feeding your dog for the right life stage. Puppies need to be eating puppy food. Older dogs should have food tailored for senior dogs. It all matters to help your dog thrive!


Dog Food Guidance Guide 4: Recommended dry dog food from a canine nutritionist

If you prefer to feed your dog dry dog food rather than dehydrated or freeze-dried food, go to this guide here to get to know the 7 dry dog food brands recommended by a canine nutritionist. Remember, one of the most important factors when analyzing dog food is ensuring it's complete and balanced which means looking for that AAFCO label as a first step.

Dogly Nutrition Advocate and canine nutritionist, Alicia Boemi also takes you through what ingredients to look for in the best food in this guide. She also goes through all 7 of her dog food recommendations explaining why she likes the food and its ingredients.

Go check out the full guide here or you can always ask the Dogly Nutrition Advocates your nutrition-related questions in the Improving Kibble Channel here on Dogly.

Check out the Improving Kibble Channel on Dogly

To keep expanding your nutritional knowledge for your dog, continue on in the Improving Kibble Channel to the step-by-step guides from canine nutritionists in Food Enhancers. You'll learn how you can easily improve your dog's food just by adding some fresh food. It makes a big difference for your dog, so I highly recommend heading to the Improving Kibble Channel and selecting Food Enhancers to check it out.

If you have any questions, you can also ask them in the Improving Kibble Channel in the Community discussion.

Or, if you ever need more personalized help, we would be happy to help you find the right Dogly Nutrition Advocate who would be best to help you and your dog through Dogly.

Cory & Jane of Dogly

Dogly started with our own dogs and quickly became about yours. We want our dogs to live long and we want them to live well, to go where we go and do more together with us. That’s why we created Dogly. To help you live well with your dog.