The fact of the matter is, I don’t believe that there’s one perfect pet food out there. I can tell you what works for my own dogs. I can tell you how to recognize a higher quality commercial food. But I can’t tell you with 100% certainty that the foods I’m telling you about will work for your pet.
Dogs are each individuals. While they may all have the same basic nutritional needs, there’s no one food that each and every dog out there will do amazing on (wouldn’t that make pet keeping so much easier if there was). Some dogs (like my Kitsune) suffer from food allergies. Some just don’t like certain foods. Some have medical conditions, sensitive stomachs, the list goes on. Some owners have the time to research and prepare homemade diets, others don’t.
That’s one thing I feel like people often fail to take into account. Not only is each dog an individual, but the people they live with, and their living situations, are too! Not everyone has the time, ability, or motivation to spend hours researching then implementing home prepared diets. Not everyone can afford to buy their dogs fresh foods or higher quality kibbles. Some people might not have the freezer space required to economically feed a raw diet, or easy access to certain foods. Does this mean these people shouldn’t own dogs? My opinion is that, with so many domestic pets ending up in shelters/rescues these days, I’d rather see a dog in a happy home eating a lower quality diet than living in a shelter cage or getting euthanized.
When it comes to feeding our pets, each of us has to do the best we can, taking into account factors such as our dog’s individual needs and preferences, our own schedules, budgets, and abilities, and our individual living situations. Personally I do feed my dogs a home prepared diet, but I don’t judge people who don’t. If someone asks me what dog food I recommend I’ll tell them about raw and home cooked diets, but I’m very understanding of people who can’t or won’t feed their pets this way. Feeding a poorly researched and/or unbalanced home prepared diet can easily lead to health issues, so it’s not the type of thing you want to do if you’re not 100% committed to doing it right. Feeding a high quality, balanced commercial food is better than feeding an unbalanced home prepped diet.
While, like I wrote above, I don’t like to be judgemental about what other people feed their pets, I will say that I think it’s very important for owners to actually research their animals’ diets. Don’t just opt for the cheapest bag of kibble in the store because it’s cheap, or feed a certain brand because someone else told you their dog does well on it. Take some time to learn what makes a good, high quality food. Look at what options exist within your budget. Not all brands of food are created equal, even ones that are within the same price range. A healthy diet is so important, after all, and it’s our job as animal guardians to always do the best we can to take optimal care of our furry companions.