As pet parents, we're more concerned than ever about what we're feeding our pets. But it can be very difficult to choose the right pet food with so many choices and so many ingredients to research.
What do the ingredients mean? Where was the food made? Will my dog actually eat it? Will it upset his stomach?
When I first got my dog Doc, I wasn't sure what food to feed him, so I chose a decent looking brand at the pet store. Then he started to develop symptoms of food allergies. His ears were dirty and itchy, and he was always licking his paws. Our vet advised switching to a dog food with limited ingredients or a different protein base like fish. We switched from a chicken-based formula to Wellness Core Ocean Formula. After a few weeks, he stopped itching and licking, and his allergies cleared up.
I asked my vet for a list of dog food brands to try and ones to avoid, and here's the list of vet-recommended foods she gave me.
Top Food Brands
If your pet's food isn't on the top brands list, that doesn't mean it's bad. Do your research about food ingredients to watch out for and talk to your vet before choosing or switching foods.
If you decide to switch your pet to a different kind of food, make sure you do introduce it gradually to avoid stomach upset. Fill the bowl with 90% old food, 10% new food. Replace the old food with a little more new food each day for a few weeks.
- Hill's Science Diet. Their formula is very consistent, so you know what you're getting every time. Hill's Science Diet is often cheaper than Hill's Prescription Diet.
- Royal Canin. Picky eaters tend to like Royal Canin's recipes. This is a great option for pets who need to gain weight.
- Iams & Eukanuba. These popular brands have a wide variety of recipes with generally good ingredients. Their recipes can be a little more rich though, which might not be ideal for pets with sensitive stomachs.
- Purina. Purina's Pro Plan and One formulas have good ingredients without a lot of junk.
Food Brands to Avoid
Watch out for the brands on this list. Some pets live a good long life on a diet of low quality kibble with no health issue. Others develop health problems like skin allergies or food sensitivities. The brands on this list have been known to cause food allergies or have vitamin or nutritional deficiencies for certain formulas.
- American Choice
- Fancy Feast
- Gravy Train
- Kibbles 'n Bits
- Maximum Nutrition
- Meow Mix
- Moist 'n Meaty
- Ol Roy
- Ole Yeller
- Sam's Choice
- Special Kitty