Our favourite dog food: the best dog food for your pooch6 May 2023
Written and reviewed by Dr Jill McMaster BVM&S MBA MRCVS, Veterinary Surgeon and in-house expert at BorrowMyDoggy
The question every dog owner is faced with: what should you feed your dog? With so many options out there, it's no wonder it feels like the perfect kibble storm! Our resident veterinary surgeon helps us navigate the wondrous world of a dog’s dinner.
Overview of article
How to choose the best dog food (UK) for your pooch?
With hundreds, if not thousands, of dog foods on the market, it can be very difficult to know which is the best for your pooch! As well as wanting a good quality diet for your dog, there is no perfect food for all pups, with some foods being great for some dogs and not so much for others. And now dog that food is more convenient than ever (you can buy online, through a subscription, at the supermarket or pet shop), it can all be very confusing to know which route to take. So here are some top tips on finding the pawfect food for your dog.
What should you look out for when choosing a dog food?
Does your dog have a sensitive stomach?
If your dog has a sensitive stomach then it tends to be better to go for more gentle diets containing for example fish or poultry. Every dog is different though, with some dogs digesting something we would think was richer, like lamb, better than chicken! Some brands even provide specific hypoallergenic (low allergen) or anallergenic (allergen free) dog foods for the most sensitive dogs. And if your dog is sensitive, always make any diet changes very slowly and carefully.
Is it a complete meal?
Be sure when buying a new food for your dog you are buying a ‘complete’ diet. That means it should have all the nutrients your dog needs. Some products are described as complimentary, like a mixer that goes with something else, so always make sure you have gone for the complete option so that your pooch isn’t missing out on any essentials.
Although complementary dog food on its own won’t provide a balanced diet for your pup, there are many healthy and delicious complimentary foods and treats that can be given to your dog, in moderation, alongside a complete food.
Should I go grain free?
Grains have had a lot of bad press over the years, but for most dogs, good quality grains can be a beneficial part of their diet. Some dogs do have grain intolerances, so they should avoid them and opt for grain free dog food. However, most dogs don’t, and actually benefit from healthy wholegrains in their diet.
Does a brand fit with your values?
Are you working hard to reduce waste? Then make sure to find a food that you can recycle the packaging of. Some brands are working hard to produce sustainable products, so if this is important to you, research brands that are trying to support the planet, while still making sure your dog is getting a balanced diet.
Is the food more than its trendy branding?
So there are a lot of cute dog food brands out there but try not to be drawn in by lovely packaging and websites alone. For example, some companies will shout about having human-grade meat in their products. In fact, all dog foods in the UK are required by law to contain only human-grade meat. Ok so it might not always be the favourite Sunday roast joint, but be assured if you are purchasing a dog food in the UK, the meat contents will be human-grade quality.
Is it cost-effective?
You should aim to purchase the best food you can for your pooch, but you don’t need to spend beyond your means. There are plenty of foods available that are of good quality and are kind to the pocket. Some brands give initial discounts which is great to allow you to trial a food, but always make sure you’ll be able to afford the cost after this discount.
If you're struggling or you want to contribute to those that are struggling, please find information on pet food banks here.
How to introduce a new food to your dog
When trialling a new food with your dog it is vital to introduce it slowly. You should do this over at least a week, or even longer if they have a sensitive stomach. Start with their old food mixed with a very small amount of the new food, then gradually reduce the amount of the old food, and add more of the new food. Keep changing the mix slightly every day until your dog is 100% on the new diet.
If your dog gets an upset stomach from a food change, either try to change slower, or go back to the old food. It might also be that this new food doesn’t suit them. If your pet has any vomiting or diarrhoea, more than slight looseness of their poos from the change, then contact your vet in case something else is going on.
Wet or dry dog food?
Wet dog food is favoured by some dogs because of its meaty consistency. The high water content in the gravy or jelly provides more hydration than in dry food, so your dog may drink less water. Wet food can be useful for older pooches, who have had dental issues in their time. However, it also means your pooch will need to eat more of it to get enough nutrients, which will often end up being more costly.
Dry food, on the other hand, can offer a complete, nutritious meal in a smaller and cheaper portion. Plus, it often has a longer expiry date, adding to this type of dog food being more cost efficient.
And some dogs, like to have a mix of both wet and dry, just make sure they don’t get too much of either and become overweight!
Selection of dog foods you could try with your adult dog
Most dogs start eating adult food from between 9 and 18 months. This can depend on breed, weight and neutering status, but your vet and the food brands themselves can be good at guiding you with food changes.
(Prices based on an ‘average’ 15kg size dog, so about ‘Harry the cocker spaniel sized’ when approx 1 month of dry food is purchased and bulk boxes of wet food, as possible).
- £2.66 per day for Harry on wet food
What we love:
- Subscription service, so is very convenient
- Food is a great consistency for putting on lick mats or in slow feeders, which can then be frozen to make dinnertime even more fun
- Fussy dogs that don’t like other kibbles
- Dogs that like a wet food only diet
- Dogs with advanced dental disease, who struggle to chew
Digby absolutely loves the food, although he’ll eat most things ha. The other dog i live with was soo fussy with foods and would constantly go off other brands and would just starve herself for days. Butternut Box is the first food she’s never gone off and she gets so excited for it, wakes us up at 5am asking to be fed.
Amalia, Digby’s owner
Forthglade Complete Meal Grain Free Adult
- £1.17 per day for Harry on dry food
- £2.28 per day for Harry on wet food
What we love:
- It’s easy to store and serve (Top tip: keep it at room temperature in trays until open, then in the fridge once open and just serve straight into the bowl).
- Dogs with a sensitive stomach
Lily's Kitchen Dry
- £1.66 per day for Harry on dry food
- £3.65 per day for Harry on wet food
What we love:
- conveniently sold at lots of locations
- fussy dogs, with a selection of tasty recipes
- dogs who like a mix of wet and dry as both available
Tails.com Tailor-Made Dog Food
- £1.23 per day for Harry on dry food
What we love:
- Subscription service and home delivery is very convenient
- Diet tailored to individual dog’s life stage and nutritional needs
- dogs needing to lose weight (the measuring cup lets you give the exact right amount of food for your dog’s needs)
- dogs who like a mix of wet and dry food as both available
Honey loves her Tails.com food. She has the dry food only and clears the bowl every mealtime. I love that it is ‘personalised’ to her, so I know she is getting exactly what she needs. It’s even super cute that her name is on the bag. And getting it delivered saves me a lot of hassle
Honey’s owner, Jill
In their own words:
Since 2014, the team at tails.com has been helping people give their dogs personalised advanced nutrition to support long, happy and healthy lives.
You tell us about your dog, we create a nutritional profile for them and can also take into account flavour preferences, allergies, health issues such as arthritis, sensitive digestion, pancreatitis or itchy skin. Our vets and nutritionists choose each ingredient for the specific nutrients it provides. So your dog gets the right balance of protein, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals they need in every bite.
Our tailor-made kibble blends are individually made and each dog has a one-in-a-million recipe which adapts with them as they age. Your order also comes with your own personal portion scoop which keeps nutrition and weight on track. If you’d like to add anything else to your dog’s meal plan such as our wet food and treats, we’ll work out and adjust all the calories and portions for you.
Our orders are delivered to your door monthly (for adult dogs), so you never have to worry about running out of food. Your subscription is totally in your control, you know your dog best and can keep us up to date with their needs in just a few clicks through your dashboard. Your subscription is also flexible, meaning that you can pause or cancel anytime. To ensure your dog loves every mealtime, we can also change the taste to keep things interesting.
Wainwright's Dry Adult Grain Free
- £0.61 per day for Harry on dry food
- £1.87 per day for Harry on wet food
What we love:
- more affordable than some other options
- comes in a variety pack which is great for dogs that like to have different flavours
- Dog who like a mix of wet and dry as both available
- Owners who like easy availability in stores
Looking for best food for puppies or seniors?
Useful books and further information on dog food
If you want to try your skills at becoming a doggy chef and provide your pooch with some homemade treats, take a look at this list of top-rated homemade dog food recipe books or find our own Recipaws dog food recipe section here!
Other food guides
Sanderson BS, DVM, PhD, S. L. Pros and Cons of Commercial Pet Foods (Including Grain/Grain Free) for Dogs and Cats
Veterinary Clinics of North America: Small Animal Practice
Volume 51, Issue 3, May 2021, Pages 529-550
Cline, M. G. Nutrition Myths: Navigating the waters of misinformation.
University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, Annual Conference 2019
Laflamme DVM, PhD, D., Izquierdo PhD, O. Eirmann DVM, L. and Binder PhD, S. Myths and Misperceptions About Ingredients Used in Commercial Pet Foods
Veterinary Clinics: Small Animal Practice
VOLUME 44, ISSUE 4, P689-698, JULY 01, 2014 https://www.vetsmall.theclinics.com/article/S0195-5616(14)00047-3/fulltext
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