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DOG FOOD: The Top 10 Best Puppy and senior age food TRUTHS

mature dog dog food GEM

mature dog dog food GEM We often refer to and critique the Dog food Advisor site recommendations on dog food, because they are a highly Google ranked site, and seem to have many of their ideals aligned with what we know to be true about dog food. That the more meat, the better.

In a perfect world dogs would only be eating meat-based food and dog treats. In the real-world OTHER sites have bills to pay that require them to praise manufactured dog foods and put links to Amazon to make money.

While many times they have said that a very high meat diet is pretty much the ideal state (we agree), and grains should be not used etc … we find that their recommendations of corporation dog foods to not be as rigorous as in their core beliefs.  We look at what they think are the main things that should be included in some of the main dog category dog foods.

The Top 10 Best Puppy Foods

The affco recommendations that America and Australia base their dog food minimum ingredient amounts on have two columns for amounts. Puppies and pregnant dogs, and maintenance (every other dog state).

Puppies are growing and require the food to support that growth safely. Their suggestion is the biggest concern is avoiding causing “crippling form of hip dysplasia…”

Curiously their first ranked recommendation HAS GRAINS INCLUDED.

They say that the product gets most of its “animal protein from fresh chicken and chicken meal.”

AFFCO only requires that for “Growth & Reproduction Minimum” protein amounts are a ridiculously low 22.5%.  They purposefully do not state from what sources (animal or plant) which allows their contributors to stuff dog food with a very unhealthy amount of NON bio available plant matter to make up that low 22.5% protein.

The leading puppy dog food has a rough ingredient group analysis of: 30% protein, 20% fat and 40% carbs…

Noting that if the main ingredient for protein was just chicken that the protein amount would be over 50%. This suggests that plant matter makes up much if not most of the product.

The Aafco crude fat minimum ‘recommendation’ is 8.5% fat.  THIS specific product HAS 20%.  Since fat has about two and a half KJ more energy than Protein, using a lot of cheap fat sacrifices the amount of protein you can include (if you want to pad out the food with low grade grains or carbs in general). That said Dogs DO NOT NEED CARBS at all.  The main value for carbs in dog food is the included fibre for intestinal health and they could just add that alone. But it often is 10% the cost of muscle meat, so that is why plants are favoured over the best ingredient – meat.

For some reason the reviewer was excited about a “ fat-to-protein ratio of about 60%.  We find that horrendously large.

NOTING that we also would be interested in puppies getting decent raw calcium and phosphorus from small raw bones like chicken wings or necks, and sufficient Omega 3 from fish oil – but the reviewer doesn’t mention this at all? Flax seeds do not provide Omega 3 in the right chemical form to be utilised sufficiently.

People often ask how long before a puppy can eat raw animal products (or even cooked). In the wild that happens as soon as they are weaned off milk. The mother brings them the best bits of the kill and they grow strong and healthy on a 100% natural animal-based diet.

An advisor facebook post on 25 June 2020 says “Cheaper plant ingredients (like soy, peas, chickpeas, etc.) can boost the total protein on a #dog food label – and hide low meat content.”  And we agree.

Top 10 Best Senior Dog Foods

The curious thing about the affco tables besides their obvious plant bias to save their manufactures money, is that there are NO SEPARATE Nutrition minimum amounts for senior dogs.  Senior dogs just get lumped into the “adult maintenance” minimum column.

Dog Food advisor say that the first reviewed ideal dog food contains “above-average protein, moderate fat, below-average calories… and no high-risk preservatives”

Here’s the thing about EACH of those nutrient classes:

“Above average protein” –  is called quality meat.  It should be available to ALL DOGS, however there are only a few companies (like ZIWI) on the market (at very high prices) that fill this niche.


‘Above average’ would seemingly mean anything above the incredibly low affco amount of 18% protein.  But because affco don’t differentiate between protein sources it could be virtually a bowl of tofu.  The last thing an old dog’s digestion needs to do is work overtime trying to shred the protein into smaller strings of carbon molecules. THAT is why quality meat-based dog food and dog treats should be MANDATORY for senior dogs, not just a recommendation.

“moderate fat” This is a GIVEN for ALL DOGS.  A few dog foods use high fat to trick dogs into eating their bland plant-based concoction. Same as the bad players in the dog treat industry.

The good fats are Omega 3 and Omega 6  in the right amounts and the right ratios. In fact older dogs should have a boost to the maximum Omega 3 to keep their brain healthy.

One of the dog foods in the review has a “grain-free formula boasting lots of omega-rich salmon oil, glucosamine and chondroitin for joint health”  Our Kangaroo treats range and much of our fish range is very high in Omega 3.  And while some dog foods have “glucosamine and chondroitin” these are often in trace amounts.

If you want actual joint support for a dog, you are much better off buying shark cartilage and Green Lipped mussels, these are whole foods 100% single ingredient just dried. THESE are in sufficient quantities to provide MEDICAL benefits to all dogs.

Some senior foods have fat levels up to 20%.  Because older dogs have slower metabolisms and don’t often run as much as younger dogs most need to be on a calorie restricted diet so they don’t get obese. That means the fat levels should be around 10% or less, they should also be high in Omega 3 fish or animal fats Not just any fat.

NOTING that dogs that get pancreatitis should eat food and treats below 4% fat – makes you wonder why they consider 20% fat “healthy” for the average senior dog ?!

ONE of the ranges is said to do the right thing “has always advocated for a meat-based, “biologically appropriate” diet… a proven design which makes this food a top choice for seniors. Highly recommended.“   exactly what we have promoted in our treats all along.

For an older dog providing foods that have cognitive support might also be worthwhile.

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