This is the question that every owner is confronted with as soon as they acquire their new companion. Yet for a very long time dogs were fed on what was available in their immediate environment. Table scraps, raw meat and other foods derived from the diets of the humans they rubbed shoulders with. Dry food for dog is a good choice.
But gradually, and especially since the 1950s, owners have sought to feed their dogs in a more balanced. And even feed in more practical way. And they have turned to industrial foods designed by nutritionists and respecting rigorous health controls. These foods have, in fact, a constant nutritional formula with a fixed rate of proteins, carbohydrates, lipids, minerals and vitamins. And they seek to meet the precise and specific needs of today’s dogs.
Dry food or not: what to feed my dog?
Currently, many owners are therefore opting for croquettes. They save time compared to a household ration that must cook every day. Compared to wet industrial foods (such as cans containing 80% water), the appearance of the kibbles is less repulsive (from a human point of view) and is better value for money. Finally, they prevent the appearance of tartar, a scourge for aging dogs.
But once the decision is made, comes the choice of the type of kibble and this choice is not easy. Because today there is such a variety on the market that it is difficult to navigate. This is all the more true as the prices are extremely variable, going from less than one euro per kilo to more than 10 € per kilo depending on the ranges and brands.
The different ranges of croquettes
Conventionally, industrial foods are classified according to their place of sale; we can thus distinguish three categories:
- First-price (low-end) kibble and mid-range so-called ‘superior quality’ kibbles found in supermarkets;
- Premium (top-of-the-range) kibble found in specialty stores (pet store, garden center, DIY store, groomer and veterinarians);
- Dietetic croquettes, only on medical prescription, which can only be found at the veterinarian; these croquettes are adapted to the disorders from which our friends the dogs can suffer.
The differences in range and therefore in price can be explained by the quality of the raw materials and their nutritional formula. Top-of-the-range kibbles contain more highly digestible animal protein and less carbohydrates (indigestible grains) and lipids than low-cost kibbles. The latter may appear more palatable to the dog because of their high fat content, a low-cost raw material. So, this should not be the main criterion of choice. Thanks to their higher animal protein content, high-end kibbles can better assimilate. And it will provide less waste. The recommended daily amounts are therefore lower than for low-cost kibbles. It puts the difference in the cost of the package into perspective. . To be convinced of the best assimilation of the food.
We must also not fool by marketing practices. For example the green and red coloring of low-end kibbles which is obviously not correlated with the quantity of vegetables or meat contained in the kibble. Also pay attention to the ‘foods with X’ stamp (chicken for example). To be entitled to this mention, it is enough that the food in question simply contains 4% of X. Similarly, the mention ‘rich in X’ simply requires that the food contains at least 15%.
More and more targeted kibble
The Pet Food industry continues to grow by offering more and more targeted foods. Indeed, a dog’s needs vary enormously depending on his age, size, breed and level of activity. The owner can therefore now choose a different food for his young four-month-old Labrador in full growth, for his old bulldog who does nothing more than the couch or for his little Yorkie who has just given birth.
In addition, veterinarians can prescribe dietetic kibble which will participate in the treatment of certain disorders: osteoarthritis, food intolerances or allergies, obesity, environmental allergies, digestive disorders, diabetes, cystitis and urinary stones, renal or hepatic insufficiency, skin disorders and even emotional disturbances. The kibbles are in this case part of the treatment.
In recent years, ‘organic’ croquettes have also been developing, which are often eco-responsible initiatives in terms of production and logistics. The food is certified organic. The raw materials and the manufacturing are often French and the recipes favor animal proteins using little or no cereals.
In a way that is quite comparable to what happens in humans, giving your dog a good diet is to provide him with the basis of a healthy life and prevent certain diseases. Many inconveniences considered minor (flatulence, diarrhea, hair loss, itching) can thus decrease or even disappear thanks to a good quality and well adapted diet.
So do not hesitate to take the time to choose the most suitable kibble for your dog and change them during his life. Let us not forget, however, that any change in diet must be accompanied by a dietary transition that will take place over a week.