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So many different dog breeds, so many different colors, shapes and sizes. Sometimes it's really hard to imagine they share the same ancestors. And how much exactly have they changed?
You could argue: “well, they're all dogs and just normal dog food will do”. But when you take a closer look at each breed, you'll notice many differences. No other animal has such a wide variance.
Just have a look at their appearance and behavior. You don't have to dig as deep as their DNA sequence to notice vast differences (though scientists are comparing dog breeds at this very detailed level as well).
Some dogs tend to experience more flatulence (such as the Bulldogs), others have a tendency to gain weight easily (such as Labradors), some are heavy shedders (such as the Akita) whereas others never shed (such as Poodles).
Large dogs need more nutrients to maintain their body. But you don't want to overload their stomach as you want to avoid any chances of developing bloat. For this reason dog food for large breeds is more concentrated and high in energy.
This probably is the strongest rationale for developing breed specific dog food. Certain dog breeds have a predisposition to certain diseases. Dog food manufacturers take that into account when developing breed specific dog food. To name one, dog breeds that often suffer from joint ailments likely find glucosamine and chondroitin in their diet formula.
Good nutrition is the foundation for good health.
When your dog already has developed a certain illness, you're probably better off switching to a veterinary dog food diet (ask your vet). Different prescription diets have been developed to help manage different diseases in dogs.
Cows, sheep and other herbivores have very, very, large digestive tracts. That's why they are able to digest grass, leaves and all that other green stuff. Now your dog has a much smaller digestive tract, smaller than a herbivore and even smaller than ours. Real carnivores, such as cats, have the smallest digestive tracts. This is all relatively speaking, so I'm thinking percentage wise not absolute inches.
A small dog breed's digestive tract represents about 7% of their total body weight. Do you think this is tiny? Then look at a large or giant dog breed: their digestive tract is only 2,7% of their total body weight. Now that's small and it means the digestibility of the giant's dog food should be adjusted for that. A large dog has less time to get all the nutrients out.
Poodles typically don't shed (they need to be trimmed), which is why they're often the breed of choice for people with a mild dog allergy.
When your dog is a heavy shedder, this implies that at some point in time it all has to grow back.
My dog is an Akita (or Akita Inu as some may say), and this is one heavy shedder. When it's time to put on his coat again, I notice he needs more food. The growth of new hair requires energy and nutrients.
A Chihuahua will reach it's adult size quicker than a large dog breed such as a Great Dane. And during growth doggies need more energy. Big dogs need to grow tall but do so slowly, so their bones and joints can keep up to speed with muscle growth.
Small dogs generally live up to an older age than large dogs. On average small dogs get to live 14 to 16 years, whereas large dogs live only 7 to 9 years. So the aging process starts earlier in large and heavy dogs. Just don't go switching to senior dog food just because your dog has reached a certain age.
Now this is a no-brainer but in order to be complete I just need to say this and let me picture an example: Let's say you have a Golden Retriever and you think “I'm gonna buy Golden Retriever specific dog food' and that'll be it.” Now suppose your imaginary Golden Retriever is allergic to one of the substances in the bag, or cannot digest a certain ingredient very well. You're much better off buying a non breed specific dog food that's a better match to your individual canine.
Different dog food companies have developed specialized diets for different dog breeds, so you can select from a wide range. At this time not every dog breed has it's own dog food. Dog food companies have a calculator and are in it for the profits (as just any type of business is), so they create specialized diets for popular breeds first.
You can buy breed specific diets online at Premium Pets etc. (shipped by Amazon) and at several online shops for pet supplies.
Royal Canin first developed diets specific for the following dog breeds: Chihuahuas , Poodles , Yorkshire Terriers , Shih Tzu's , Dachshunds , Boxers (junior and adult), Bulldogs , Labrador Retrievers (junior and adult), German Shepherds (junior and adult).
Next this company also created special menus for: Cavalier King Charles dogs, Miniature Schnauzers , Pugs , West Highland White Terriers, French Bulldogs, Cocker Spaniels , Dalmatians, Golden Retrievers , Rottweilers, and Great Danes. And perhaps by the time you read this, they have even more!
Eukanuba has developed breed specific diets for:
When you're on the hunt to find the best dog food, you need to look past the breed of your dog. You even need to look past his age. In fact… you need to look at the individual!
I'm sorry it didn't get any easier. Life often gets complicated when you want the best, and only the best.
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The "Confidential Dog Food Report" is an e-book written by Andrew Lewis. Now for those of you who know him, you know that he doesn't think highly of commercial dog food. In fact he likes homemade dog food diets. But commercial dog food is not always bad of course.
You just need to find the best food for YOUR pet. Andrew has listed the top 9 dog food brands that are just better-than-good, which is a good starting place for you. After all homecooking can be nice on occasion, but commercial dog food is very convenient. Just find the right one!