Commercial dog food
So you’ve decided to feed your dog commercial dog food. This is the route taken by most dog owners and is by far the easiest. Making this decision is a relatively easy one, decided on by measuring the time you have available to prepare your own, as well as your dog’s food. But when it comes to the decision on which type of commercial dog food to use, the choice may not be as easy.
One of the decisions you will have to make, based on your budget, is whether to purchase regular, premium or super premium dog food.
Regular food is a cheap source of food which is readily available. This brand of food however, will contain by products of the meat, and not the actual meaty parts which you would expect. What you may believe to be chicken for example, may contain things such as chicken feet and intestines, and other parts which may be difficult to digest. Thus you should check the labels carefully and look for chicken meal, and not by product.
Premium food will be better quality food than regular food, and more nutritious, meaning that you will not have to feed your dog as much as you would do regular. Although it is more expensive to purchase, in the long run this may work out cheaper.
Super premium is the best quality commercial dog food available. It normally does not contain artificial colorings or preservatives, and the ingredients used tend to be of a better quality. As expected though, there is a direct relationship between the quality of ingredients and the price to be paid for this. As with the premium food however, the higher nutritional value may result in the overall cost per serving of food being comparable to regular and premium food.
The other big decision you will have to make is, whether to feed dry dog food (also called kibble), or canned dog food.
So which is the best food to feed? Both dry and canned food can contain all the nutritional value needed. Your decision may therefore be based on various factors such as the advantages and disadvantages over the other which will be right for each particular situation:
Dry dog food advantages
• Dry dog food helps keep dogs teeth and gums clean and healthy and to exercise their jaws.
• It contains less fat than wet food.
• It provides for ease of storage and handling.
• It is generally cheaper than wet, canned food.
• It can be stored for longer, and left in a food bowl for longer than wet food.
Dry dog food disadvantages
• Dry dog food is likely to contain more preservatives due to its preservation and baking.
• Ounce for ounce, it is not as nutritional as wet food.
• Some small dogs may have trouble chewing kibble however, there is dry food available for small dogs too.
Wet dog food advantages
• Wet dog food is generally found more appetizing than dry dog food due to the flavors.
• It is easier to eat for older dogs or dogs with dental problems since it doesn’t require as much chewing.
• It provides better nutritional value ounce for ounce.
• It contains fewer preservatives.
Wet dog food disadvantages
• Wet dog food is generally more expensive.
• Once opened, it requires refrigeration.
• It should not be left in a bowl for more than a couple of hours, since bacteria will grow on wet food easier than it will on dry food.
If you are still struggling to decide which type of commercial dog food to use, you may easily mix the two by making half the daily meal wet, and the other half dry. Alternatively, you may feed only canned food, but provide your chi with dry food to satisfy their need for a chew and to clean their teeth, or you may feed dry food but provide the occasional treat. At the end of the day what matters the most is that you feed your chi healthily, and both types of food provide for this.
Regardless of which type of food you choose, ensure that it has been approved by the American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). AAFCO enforce the standards for the manufacturing and distribution of animal food. Any food approved by AAFCO has met the necessary standards to be considered safe for puppies and adults alike.
Remember that despite the above, the main issue to consider is whether your Chihuahua will eat the food you have provided. You may have found the most nutritious and healthiest commercial dog food on the market, but if your Chi refuses to eat it, you will have to go back to the drawing board. Therefore before making your final decision, purchase the smallest bag / tin of food you wish to try, and let your Chi have the final say.
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