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Types of dog food

Dry or wet food? BARF, homemade or freeze-dried? It is not easy to choose the best type of food, for not all of them are produced in the same way and they all have nutritional quality differences.

After reading this article, you will learn how to read food package labels, how to make sure you are choosing the best one, and how to tell the difference between one food type and another. You will also learn about the pros and cons of each one of them.

Types of dog food

1. Dry feed

Types of dog food - dry feed

Image / Alisha Vargas.

When choosing one, make sure it does not contain chemical additives such as ethoxyquin, BHA, or BHT because they could cause carcinogenic diseases. In the ingredient list, companies must specify the sources of fat and animal protein (fish, beef, chicken) they use, which is not the same as just writing “animal proteins”. If corn is listed in the food composition, you should know that dogs find it very difficult to digest it and that it can cause allergies.

The clearer the list of ingredients, the greater the guarantee to be quality food. For this reason, it is important that you learn to read the labels, learn about the ingredients, and know which are natural and which are processed. This excellent article will teach you how to assess the low quality feed types.


• Management is easy and ideal for people with little time.

• Easy to carry and to store in bags.


• Water levels are not high enough to keep the animal hydrated.

• Low water levels can bring about kidney problems.

• Dogs don’t like it much.

• They have chemical additives and preservatives, especially the low and medium range ones.

Quality in ingredients and preparation set the difference among brands.

2. Wet or canned food

canned dog food

Image / Rob Flickenger.

Presentation: canned.

It is different from dry feed in that it is highly moisturized, but the ingredients go through the same heat treatment: they undergo high temperatures, losing many of their nutrients. A specific type of meat (chicken, beef) must be the first ingredient in the label list.


• Highly moisturized feed (70-80%).

• Dogs like it.


• Once it is opened, it should be eaten during that day because it spoils quickly.

• It promotes tartar on teeth.

• It contains highly carcinogenic chemical additives and high levels of fat and sugar favoring obesity, especially in low and mid range food.

3) Freeze – dried food

freeze-dried food

Image / “Gigs”.

Freeze drying is a technique to remove water from food through freezing temperatures, but keeping most of the nutritional properties. Examples of freeze-dried food: chicken liver, beef, fish.


• No preparation required, just putting it in soak a few minutes. This will restore the original food state.

• It is long lasting and is easy to store.

• It can be easily packed when traveling due to its lightweight.

• It is a good choice for people with little free time.

• No chemical additives for preservation.




• It is rather expensive, but its high nutritional levels make up for the cost.

• Not easily found in all dog-food points of sale.

Giving your dog this natural, nutritious and ready to serve food is a very attractive option.

4) Homemade food

types of dog food - homemade

ImageSteven Depolo.

It is based on fresh meat diet products, vegetables, fruits, and ─ to a lesser extent ─ carbohydrates.


• Closer to natural food.

• Shinier and healthier fur.

• Allergy risk reduction and immune system strengthening.

• Easier breastfeeding.

• Well being and vitality promotion.

• Digestion improvement, bad breath elimination and stool decrease.


• Not desirable for busy people.

• It is important to have a basic knowledge of the nutritional dog needs to ensure a balanced diet.

5) BARF diet

dog eating raw meatImage / Denhulde.

BARF (Biologically Appropriate Raw Food) is a diet that seeks to approach dogs’ nutritional needs naturally, feeding them with fresh and raw meat, bones, fruit and vegetables. It is important to wash them well before eating.

Its philosophy is to respect dogs’ physiology as carnivores and feed them as if they were in the wild. One of the most common fears among owners is that dogs can choke on bones. BARF supporters, however, say that only cooked bones are likely to splinter and cause damage, not being the case with raw bones.


• Very close to natural food.

• Immune system strengthening.

• Better absorption.

• Dogs love it.


• Raw food may contain bacteria and parasites. It is important to buy from butchers that meet sanitary standards to ensure quality.

• You must provide the right amount to prevent dogs from being overweight.

Tips to remember

• The different types of dog food will comply with all the standards that guarantee a complete diet as long as they are manufactured in the same plants as food for human consumption.

• Your responsibility as an owner is to learn to assess their quality to make sure you are giving your dog the best and healthiest option. To do so, you can often visit the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) website to learn which pet food products and brands have been recalled from the market and to make sure your dog is not eating them.