Being a dog parent comes with a lot of responsibilities, including providing your pup with love, care, and adequate training. The most important aspect of caring for your dog, however, is making sure their nutritional needs are met, and that you are not only satisfying their appetite but also feeding them the best dog food available.
This poses a rather tough question, since there are not only hundreds of brands of dog food out there, but also several different types. While a lot goes into HOW to choose the best dog food, we are going to make a little more convenient by breaking down the characteristics of the top brands, and listing the best options available by type.
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Types Of Dog Food
Dog food comes in various types, depending on how it is created, how good it tastes, the nutritional value it provides, and the cost required in manufacturing. Each category comes with its own top brands.
- Dry – Mostly referred to as Kibble, dry dog food is the most convenient and the cheapest option. Kibble is easy to store, easy to feed, and decent shelf life. It comes in various price ranges, and can easily suit different dog owners. That being said, dry dog food is not appealing to all dogs. While some might absolutely love it, pickier eaters may seem to be rather unenthusiastic about finishing their meal when served only kibble. The better brands, however, do offer a range of flavors along with vitamins and nutrients for your dog.
- Wet – Wet dog food usually comes in cans, but may also be offered in other packaging like trays. It is definitely tastier than kibble and usually appeals to almost all dogs. While it comes with a higher price tag, it also comes with greater nutritional value. Dog owners might feel, however, that it is difficult to store, since you need to have several cans in storage to avoid frequent shopping sprees.
- Raw – Raw food comes with the most nutrients packed. It comes in various types, including frozen raw, freeze-dried, and dehydrated. Raw dog food maintains the natural flavors and smells, thus appealing the most to any dog. However, it is also the priciest and usually does not have a very long shelf life. Busy dog owners sometimes tend to avoid raw food, since it may involve some preparation before serving, depending on the type. Some might just need water added, while frozen raw food needs to be thawed before serving.
The type of food you serve to your dog will depend on your affordability and their preferences. Whichever type you choose, however, it is important to remember that quality comes with a price, but it is always worth your fur baby’s health.
Dry Dog Food
While there are thousands of brands of kibble on the market with some being alarmingly cheap, there aren’t many that use quality meat products and provide the correct nutrition. Here are five of most nutritious, five-star brands of kibble available in Singapore.
The Wellness Core dry dog food range is protein-rich and grain-free with no fillers (wheat, corn, soy) or artificial preservatives and flavours added. It is also free of meat by-products and instead contains the most nutritious parts of meat. Wellness Core comes in both puppy and adult formulations and a variety of flavours.
Nutrience Grain Free and Subzero dry dog foods are made with over 75% premium animal ingredients (of which are fresh and never frozen before production), and have been GRI-Certified to be low glycemic and thus, suitable for diabetic or obese dogs. Formulated for all life stages, the only difference between Nutrience Grain Free and Subzero is that Subzero contains pieces of freeze-dried raw meat.
As with all their pet foods, Stella & Chewy’s does not use any ingredients from China and only uses premium ingredients such as wild-caught fish and cage-free animals in their Raw Coated Kibble and Raw Blend dry dog foods. Containing industry leading levels of glucosamine & chondroitin, Stella & Chewy’s dry dog foods are available in a variety of flavours and formulas for puppies and all life stages. Stella & Chewy’s kibble is uniquely coated in freeze-dried raw after they are oven-baked; their Raw Blend consists of raw-coated kibble mixed with their freeze-dried raw nuggets.
Made with high-quality USDA-inspected deboned meat, Merrick dry dog food is grain-free and rich in natural nutrients. Made in USA, Merrick does not use ingredients from China and is one of the few dog foods with industry-leading levels of protein, glucosamine and chondroitin. Merrick dog food also comes with combinations of fruits and vegetables, like the pork and sweet potato flavour, making it irresistible for your pup.
Zignature dry dog food follows a limited ingredient recipe formulated for all life stages; their wide variety of flavours and protein sources makes it easy to practice rotation feeding. Absolutely chicken, potato and grain free, Zignature is recommended for dogs with multiple food allergies or sensitivities. Their flavours include unique and novel meats like venison and kangaroo.
Wet Dog Food
Wet dog food usually comes in cans, but might take other shapes. It is slightly more expensive because of the few servings every can offers, but it is worth it for the sake of your pup’s health! Here are the top wet dog food brands available in Singapore.
Zignature canned dog foods comes in poultry-free flavours like kangaroo, trout, salmon, lamb, pork, turkey, etc. Two of the first four ingredients are always meat; like their dry food, Zignature canned food uses limited ingredients, limiting the chances of your dog experiencing an allergic reaction to its food. Zignature canned food does not contain guar gum or carrageenan and uses agar agar instead.
Wellness Core wet dog food has a variety of flavours packaged in both traditional cans and convenient tray-like cups. Their pate texture makes them appealing to dogs; Wellness Core Chunky Centers has a unique additional texture, containing chunks of meat and gravy in the centre. This is the only pate dog food that has more than one type of texture in a single serving! Like their dry food, Wellness core wet food is free of grains, meat by-products and fillers.
Merrick canned dog food is available in three different ranges (Backcountry, Grain Free and Grain Free
96%), all of which are grain-free and feature real meat as the first ingredient. Their wide variety of
recipes include using exotic meats such as rabbit and venison in their Backcountry recipes, and
wholesome vegetables and fruits in their Grain Free recipes.
The new Holistic Select canned dog food formulas are all grain free and have prebiotic support from ingredients like chicory root extract and natural fiber for good digestive health. These Holistic Select pate dog food contain nutritious fruits and vegetables like pumpkin and papaya, including antioxidant-rich superfoods like cranberries. Holistic Select also adds live yogurt cultures and digestive enzymes to help promote good digestion.
Firstmate canned dog food is 100% free of grain and gluten. Unlike most canned dog food, Firstmate does not use any gum as thickening agents, instead, they use potatoes. 95% of the protein in Firstmate canned food is from free-range or wild-caught meats, so you can be sure that your dog gets the animal protein he needs.
Raw Dog Food
Raw dog food comes in various types, but the following are the best ones available in Singapore. While these are more expensive than both kibble and cans, they are also the most delicious and will make your dog look forward to mealtime. With raw food, you can either go completely raw and single-protein, or you can go for freeze-dried options with mostly raw meat coupled with other natural ingredients, which undergo a freeze-drying process to make for easier serving.
1. K9 Natural
K9 Natural freeze-dried and frozen raw dog food is completely free of grains and fillers; their main ingredients (of which are comprised of at least 90%) consist of pure meat, organs and bones with unique natural supplements added, such as kelp and NZ green lipped mussels. K9 Natural only uses ingredients sustainably sourced from New Zealand, including free-range and grass-fed animals. Like all freeze-dried raw dog foods, K9 Natural can be fed daily as a complete meal or meal topper.
Primal freeze-dried raw dog food comes in nuggets that are easy to rehydrate; all of their formulas use at least 77% meat, organs and bones. Made only with USDA edible-grade ingredients and organic produce, Primal dog food uses meats that are free of antibiotics or added hormones. They provide for a completely balanced grain-free diet for dogs, along with superior levels of fatty and amino acids. Primal has one of the widest variety of flavours of freeze-dried raw food, including novel meats like pork and rabbit.
The Honest Kitchen dog food uses only human-grade ingredients and is available in both grain-free and non grain-free recipes. They frequently feature wholesome ingredients such as wild-caught fish and organic coconuts, and avoid using by-products and GMO ingredients. Simply put, The Honest Kitchen uses ingredients that you would feel comfortable eating yourself! The Honest Kitchen dog food comes in a powder form that takes on a slightly chunky, porridge-like texture after hydration.
Freeze-dried and grain-free, Stella & Chewy’s uses 90 to 95% meat, organs & bones from grass-fed, cage-free or wild-caught animals in their recipes. These animals have no hormones or antibiotics added to them, and are sourced from Australia, Europe, New Zealand and North America. Their pellet-shaped dog food makes them easy to mix with kibble for dogs who do not like kibble alone, and can also be fed as is by itself! Stella & Chewy’s freeze-dried raw dog foods are nutritionally complete & balanced, and only use 100% organic produce.
Northwest Naturals freeze-dried raw dog food is another brand that is convenient to serve; it is made with 80% meat, organs and bone and 20% produce and supplements. Like all freeze-dried raw dog foods, Northwest Naturals dog food is grain and gluten free, and use meats with no added hormones or antibiotics. Northwest Naturals makes their dog food in a USDA/FDA inspected facility, so you can be sure of their safety standards!
General Tips to Choose the Best Dog Food In Singapore
Regardless of the type and the brand you decide to buy, it will help to keep a few tips in mind.
- It is essential to buy the correct food according to your dog’s age. While you may think adult dog food will suit your puppy too, it can actually cause issues with both nutrition and digestion. If you’re unsure what to pick, look for ‘All Life Stages’ formulas, these are suitable for all ages.
- Dogs might be allergic to even the best. Sometimes, dogs have individual food allergies. These cannot be blamed on dog food. You will eventually have to pinpoint the ingredient that does not suit your dog, and avoid that even in the best, priciest dog foods.
- Pricier means better. The more the dog food costs, the higher the chance that actual meat products went into it. Feeding a dog certainly takes money, but keep in mind all the vet bills you will avoid with a healthy diet.
- Always get small packages or samples. To make sure you don’t waste money on something your dog doesn’t like, make sure you buy a small package first, and slowly introduce it to your dog’s diet.
- Practice rotation. No one likes to eat the same food for their entire lives. This includes your pup. Make sure you practice appropriate rotation feeding to keep their meals interesting.
- Choose whole meats instead of labels that carry words like ‘flavor’, ‘dinner’, ‘entrée’, etc. Foods with by-products or mere flavors have no nutritional value.
Choose dog food that contains smaller amounts of fruits and vegetable. Many dog food brands focus on mixing up meat with some fruit and vegetables, though this should always be the smaller percentage.