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Food glorious food. Food is an important aspect of the daily lives of humans and dogs. However, dogs don’t get to choose what they eat. We choose what we think is best for the health, energy level, and enjoyment of our canine companions.

With the growing popularity of freshly prepared food for dogs (like Ollie, who makes human grade fresh dog food,) our options have increased, and choosing what is best can be challenging. The first step is to consult your veterinarian. Here are some points to consider when you choose a food for your dog:

  • Health: A balanced, nutritional diet is critical to maintain good health.
  • Activity level: Working dogs and service dogs have different caloric requirements than household pets.
  • Age and size: Nutritional requirements differ between puppies and adults, large breed and small breed dogs.
  • Food allergies: Some dogs are allergic to specific proteins or ingredients such as eggs, corn, wheat, soy, or milk.
  • Taste: No matter what you think, dog food has to taste and smell good – to your dog.
  • Your lifestyle: How much time do you have available to spend cooking and shopping for your dog?

Fresh Food

Feeding dogs a diet made with natural, real ingredients, such as beef, chicken, lamb, peas, spinach, carrots, and blueberries, can do wonders for their overall well-being — promoting heart health, increasing energy level, making coats shiny and breath smell better, improving eyesight, and even impacting a dog’s stool.

However, cooking for your pet is a process that’s demanding on your time, space, and finances. Merck Veterinary Manual warns, “Most homemade diets do not undergo the scrutiny and rigorous testing applied to commercial complete and balanced diets. If pet owners wish to feed their pets homemade diets, the diets should be prepared and cooked using recipes formulated by a veterinary nutritionist. ”

Fresh food delivery services, such as Ollie, work with canine nutritionists to develop cooking methods and personalized formulas that include the vitamins and minerals that meet the Association of American Feed Control Officials standards for dog food. They calculate the exact number of calories needed based on weight, breed, age, activity level, and body composition and take any allergies your pup has into account.

Ollie’s food is made with human-grade ingredients sourced from reputable farms and approved by veterinarians. They never use fillers, by-products, artificial flavors, or preservatives. Each recipe is cooked by hand at low temperatures in small batches in a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (USDA)-regulated kitchen. All the prep work is done for you, and the food is pre-portioned and stored in the freezer. They even offer all-natural, single-ingredient treats that dogs love.

What to Look For in Fresh Food

Most fresh food services are offered by subscription and delivered to your door. The best ones work with veterinary nutritionists to formulate a plan customized for your dog. They offer options in recipe choices, portion size, and frequency of delivery. They also provide easy-to-understand information about ingredients, feeding schedules, and how to keep the food fresh.

Raw Diet

Raw dog food can be homemade, store-bought, freeze-dried, or dehydrated. A raw diet usually includes organ meats, muscle meat, whole or ground bone, raw eggs, dog-safe fresh fruits and vegetables, and a dairy product such as yogurt. Advocates of raw food diets site these benefits: shinier coats, healthier skin, improved dental health, increased energy, and smaller stools.

Some veterinarians warn that raw diets are not appropriate for dogs who share their homes with young children or people with compromised immune systems. Meticulous care is required in the handling, preparation, and sanitation of raw food. Dogs with pancreatitis, cancer, or other diseases may require cooked food. Puppies are also better off having cooked food.

The American Veterinary Medical Association opposes the unregulated feeding of raw foods and discourages “the feeding to cats and dogs of any animal-source protein that has not first been subjected to a process to eliminate pathogens, because of the risk of illness to cats and dogs, as well as humans.”

What to Look for in Raw Food

Find a veterinarian who knows the health of your dog, is familiar with raw foods, and can help guide you in the proper handling and cleaning required to address possible health concerns.

Kibble

Dry food or kibble has ingredients that vary by brand, but all are required to be balanced and meet the nutritional needs of a dog.  Under USDA regulation, “all animal foods must be safe to eat, produced under sanitary conditions, contain no harmful substances, and be truthfully labeled.”

The ingredients in kibble are processed together and cooked. Required ingredients include: protein sources such as beef, poultry, fish, and eggs; grains; cereals; and vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. All dry dog foods need preservatives to prevent the fat from becoming rancid. Some brands are heavy on carbohydrates or have low-quality ingredients and added sugar.

Those who feed their dogs kibble suggest the potential benefits to be: reduced dental plaque, healthier gums, reduced risk of bacteria, easier storage, less risk of spoilage, and cost-effectiveness. On the other hand, some dog owners choose to switch to fresh food like Ollie due to the risks of kibble.

What to Look for in Kibble

Read the label. Look for a food that has a protein as the first ingredient, not a grain. The best kibbles have a single source of protein, such as lamb or chicken. Grain-free diets exist, but carbohydrates are required for energy, and the choice of grain is important since some dogs have sensitivities to wheat, corn, or soybeans.

Help From the Experts

The food we give our dogs makes a huge difference in their health and well being. So it makes sense to let the experts help us determine what is best.

Ollie’s veterinary nutritionists use the latest advancements in research to develop the best recipes for your dog – recipes that include fresh ingredients to keep your pup’s brain function healthy, address allergies and gastrointestinal sensitivities, are proportioned for ideal weight, and use Omega-3 fatty acids to help reduce inflammation. All that delivered right to your door, for free.

Ollie has received rave reviews from both customers and industry leaders. Ollie’s customers have reported better weight management, shinier coats, and more. Ollie has received a 5-star rating from Dog Food Advisor and has named one of the best dog food brands by Forbes, and Reader’s Digest.

Starting at just $2 a day, Ollie is offering 50% off your first trial box for AKC readers, plus it always ships free. Click here to redeem.

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