When it comes to your pooch and their specific needs, how do you know which dog food is best? We get it - there are so many brands to compare, and it can be confusing knowing what to look for when it comes to ingredients. The pressure is even higher if your dog has a sensitive tummy or food allergy, or if they’re a puppy or senior.
To save you the hard work, we’ve compared brands for you - and laid out the most important comparative factors when it comes to choosing food for your dog. With the help of our resident expert, Vet Linda, we picked a top-selling dog food brand for each food type - wet food, dry food, hypoallergenic food, and more - and analysed its nutritional information against a comparative product from our tasty Pooch & Mutt range.
Read on to discover our findings and see what Vet Linda had to say about what’s most important when considering your dog’s food.
First up is Pedigree, one of the original and most well-known commercial dog food brands in the UK. We compared its dry dog food, Dry Vital, with Pooch & Mutt Complete Superfood.
An important thing to remember is that dogs require high quality protein for muscle repair, as well as a healthy coat and skin. For that reason, the best food would have a whole meat or fish as the first listed ingredient as a hallmark of a quality food.
Next we compared meat percentage, as another hallmark of a high quality pet food is having a higher whole meat content.
Next, carb content. Remember, the recommended carbohydrate percentage in dog food is 20-45% - going higher than this risks weight gain in dogs, as well as making it harder for active dogs to build muscle. Dogs fed carb-rich diets also tend to pass more stools and experience more digestive problems and sluggishness.
Vet Linda’s summary: The more nutritious dry dog food is quite clear in this comparison! Dogs require a high-meat diet to get the nutrients they need, and Pedigree’s focus on cereal and carbs alongside a very low meat content makes it a less favourable option.
Onto the chunky, jellified or gravy-drizzled slurp fest that defines the best wet dog food. For this important test we compared Lily’s Kitchen Fishy Fish Pie with Pooch & Mutt Fish, Potato & Pea Wet Food.
What’s the stickler here? The perfect wet dog food should contain enough nutritious ingredients to keep a dog physically happy and healthy, and traditionally it tends to be lower in fat than other kinds of dog food.
The first thing to note is that Lily’s Kitchen has similar brand values to Pooch & Mutt, which is reflected in its ingredients list.
Onto fat content - a lower amount of fat keeps dogs lean, and is also great for dogs prone to pancreatitis, as high amounts of fat can trigger inflammation in the pancreas.
Finally, what about those added health boosts? Probiotics and prebiotics are a dog owner’s secret weapon in keeping their dog’s gut biome balanced, as they support the essential ‘friendly bacteria’ a dog needs for smooth digestion and immune function.
Vet Linda’s summary: A tough call here - both Pooch & Mutt and Lily’s Kitchen offer products with pleasingly high levels of protein and nutritious whole foods. But when it comes to extra health benefits, Pooch & Mutt just comes out top with its lower fat content and added prebiotic supplements.
Some dogs have strong stomachs, but others have allergies that can make them very ill - to grain, for example, which is a common food allergy for dogs. Pooch & Mutt’s all-natural product range is hypoallergenic for that reason.
But how does our food compare to a brand with the same focus? We compared Burns Wet Food in Free Range Chicken, with Pooch & Mutt Turkey & Duck Wet Food.
Firstly, both Burns and Pooch & Mutt options contain healthy, protein-rich ingredients to support muscle growth and recovery for a dog.
A common allergy in dogs is grain, which is why most Pooch & Mutt dog food products are entirely grain-free.
Then comes those helpful, healthy supplements that really boost the effect of hypoallergenic dog food…
Vet Linda’s summary: Dogs with allergies must tread carefully around ingredients, so with its grain content, Burns Wet Food could be riskier than Pooch & Mutt’s. What’s more, Pooch & Mutt’s added probiotics and prebiotics provide an extra level of protection for an allergic dog’s delicate gut.
We could never forget our pooches with sensitive tums! These picky pups need food that’s specifically designed to aid digestion and gently support their delicate gut ecosystem; otherwise, they can suffer with frequent diarrhoea, constipation, bloatedness and/or smelly farts. Not a great time for the pooch… or the parent!
For this comparison, we studied Hill’s Science Plan Perfect Digestion Adult 1+ and Pooch & Mutt Health & Digestion Dry Dog Food.
What was our focus? The ideal food for dogs with sensitive tummies avoids too many carbs, as that can lead to obesity, diabetes and other chronic medical issues. Some nutritionists also advise against grains and wheat, as many dogs find them hard to digest (the opposite of what a gut-sensitive dog needs).
In reality, the best core ingredient for a gut-friendly dog food would be a whole, lean protein which helps build the dog’s digestive system with its anti-inflammatory effects.
Put simply, a pooch with a sensitive tum needs dietary help to maintain a harmonious, balanced gut microbiome. A boost of probiotics and prebiotics helps support the ‘good bacteria’ in their gut, protecting their immunity and allowing proper nutrient absorption.
Vet Linda’s summary: Lots of dogs can digest all kinds of food, but if your dog has a sensitive stomach, you’ll want to be more careful and choose gentle, digestible ingredients. Pooch & Mutt opts for protein-rich salmon as its main ingredient over Hill’s Science high carb content - and with added supplements for a healthy gut, it’s absolutely a better choice.
Next up, dog foods for sensitive skin - for which we compared Royal Canin Skin Care with Pooch & Mutt Soft & Shiny Dry Dog Food.
One of the big perks of feeding your dog the right diet is that it can contribute to comfortable skin that’s free of itchiness and a smooth, shiny coat. Many dogs with sensitive skin have allergies - to grain or otherwise - so dog foods that contain grain will be riskier for them.
Dogs with sensitive skin benefit from supplements for skin and hydration. Collagen as well as omega fatty acids are great examples of this.
Vet Linda’s summary: Both foods contain omega fatty acids, great to reduce inflammation. However, a dog with sensitive skin often has allergies, so foods full of grains - such as Royal Canin’s - could be seen as riskier. The fresh, whole ingredients of Pooch & Mutt’s Soft & Shiny is much better suited to a dog’s natural diet.
Getting food right for young pups is super important - they need all the extra nutrients and whole foods they can get to develop strong bones and muscles as they rapidly grow. Alongside this, the right food needs to be gentle on their small, delicate tummies.
So how did Harrington’s Puppy food measure up to Pooch & Mutt Puppy Superfood?
It’s also key to know exactly what you’re feeding puppies, so that if they react badly to a meal, you can clearly read the label to investigate the ingredients.
Finally, puppies’ allergies won’t be known this early - so you may run the risk of triggering a grain-allergy with the wrong food.
Vet Linda’s summary: It’s always alarming when nutritional information is vague and unclear - especially when you’re feeding puppies with delicate digestive systems. Pooch & Mutt’s clearly listed ingredients and higher meat content make it a much safer option for growing pups. The same guidance applies for any dog food.
To finish off our comparative super-study, we looked at Bakers Senior with Chicken compared to Pooch & Mutt Senior Complete Superfood.
Much like puppies, senior dogs need special care when being fed - their diets must be gentle on the stomach yet full of whole ingredients to keep them nourished, lean and spritely in this late stage of life.
As a senior dog is less active than a younger dog and their metabolism has slowed down, they shouldn’t eat too many carbs wherever possible. Senior dogs who are overweight have a worse quality of life and tend to pass away months, or even years sooner than slender, healthier dogs.
Finally, to help a senior dog have the best quality of life, the addition of supplements and nutraceuticals can have a positive impact on their ageing body and functions.
Vet Linda’s summary: It’s not a great idea to offer a diet of low-meat and high-carbs to a senior dog - their ageing bodies need nutrition and to avoid unnecessary weight gain. Pooch & Mutt’s high meat content makes it a better option for your old boy or girl. The added glucosamine and FOS is also within the amount vets recommend for reduced muscle wastage.
See for yourself how Pooch & Mutt’s grain-free, all-natural food for dogs can help keep your dog happy and healthy from the inside out. For more information about our comparative test, get in touch with us.
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