When it comes to choosing the right pet food for your dog, it can seem like a daunting task because there is such a choice to pick through on the market. The problem is that all pet foods seem to claim they are the best and most well balanced, specially formulated with all the right vitamins and nutrients etc. Pet stores, supermarkets and other outlets have rows and shelves filled with every dog food imaginable from wet, dried, pouches, tins and more.
However, there are brands of dog food formulated to be breed-specific, and the manufacturers make certain claims of it being the best for certain dogs. According to the makers their pet food has been made up to take care of any special nutritional and health needs of the breed, whether it's a dog or a cat. It is easy to understand why many pet owners decide to feed a breed-specific dog food to their pets, simply because they believe them to be tailored to suit the breed and therefore are the best on the market for them. However, there's a lot of discussion as to whether this is the right choice or not and whether buying breed-specific dog food is really worthwhile.
In truth, the claims made by many pet food manufacturers regarding their “breed-specific” dog food is in fact, just their way of making their pet food more appealing to dog owners. Their claims are often just a gimmick to sell more of their brand with no real scientific research having been made into the breed's nutritional needs to back up the claims.
As things stand, there is no research available that indicates any particular and specific nutritional needs for individual breeds of dog. However, it goes without saying a small dog has a much different metabolism than a big dog, but with this said, a Shih Tzu will have the same nutritional needs as a Yorkie or another small dog for that matter.
When it comes to breed-specific dog food, although there is no research made to back up claims they meet a breeds' nutritional needs, they are in no way harmful to dogs. They are however, unnecessary because if you meet the daily requirements of your pet at each stage of their lives from when they are puppies right through to their senior years, then you would not need to purchase more expensive breed-specific dog food for them to remain happy and healthy.
One example would be a Golden Retriever puppy if fed a diet that's too high in either calcium or calories, would run the risk of developing some sort of joint disease later in life. As long as the puppy is given the correct diet, their bones will develop correctly but to feed a Golden Retriever pup some kind of breed-specific dog food would not really have any more benefit than feeding a good quality food that contains all the right minerals, vitamins and nutrients.
Another prime example is dog food that has been specifically formulated for Dachshunds which claims to promote “lean body mass” and as a result of this, the chances of them developing back problems is reduced. The natural long body of a Dachshund means they are predisposed to back problems, but no diet would in fact, reduce the risk of this happening. The only real way to help reduce the chances of a Dachshund from developing back problems is to ensure they are never overweight and get regular exercise to keep them in shape with good muscle mass.
Many dog owners fall into the trap of believing the food they are giving their precious pets is the best money can buy, so when a health problem develops, they feel very let down that the breed-specific food did not in fact, have any effect on preventing the health issue from developing. More often than not, the dog then has to be put on a special therapeutic diet to combat their health issues which may have been a result of the food they had been fed – although the debate is still out on this.
With so many different brands of dog food on the market, the best advice would be to choose a high quality one that's produced by an established and trusted dog/pet food manufacturer. The important thing is to feed the right balanced diet to your dog that corresponds to their ages, size and their lifestyle needs. In short, the three most important things that need to be considered in a dogs nutritional needs are:
These three things are far more relevant than their breed when it comes to their nutritional needs. If you need advice on what you should be feeding your dog, you can discuss it with your vet or by getting in touch with an expert dog nutritionist who would be able to put together the correct dietary plan to suit your dogs' needs. If your dog has any sort of specific health issue or known inherited concerns, these would need to be addressed in their diet.
All dog owners want to do right by their pets and feeding the right sort of food is crucial to their happiness and well being. However, there is no evidence to prove that breed-specific dog food (or cat food) does all it claims to do, and as such feeding your beloved pooch a high quality dog food, will be just as good if not better, than feeding them breed-specific ones which tend to be more expensive.