Dog Food Buying Guide

Your dog’s nutritional needs are important. This dog food buying guide offers tips and insights to keep your loyal companion in good health while keeping you within your budget.

Dog Food 101

Your dog needs a good mix of meat and vegetables to stay healthy, so look for food that delivers both. Grains in dog food are okay in small quantities, but it’s important to remember that grains deliver little nutritional value. Over time, a poor diet can lead to skin problems, upset stomach, allergies — and expensive vet bills. Taste, of course, is also a factor: canine palates aren’t overly finicky, but your dog still has to like the food. Try some different brands, including wet and dry types. Eventually you’ll find the right mix of cost, flavour and ingredients.  

Types of Dog Food


Dry Dog Food

Dry dog food is a popular choice for pet owners. Great for busy lifestyles, you can fill up a bowl in the morning and let your dog nibble on it throughout the day. A big sack of dry kibble is often cheapest; stash it away from moisture in your pantry or garage for easy storage. Choose kibble that’s high in meat content. Meat meal can also be a good ingredient, especially if the label shows the specific type of meat it includes. Dry food that is ‘baked’ offers another plus: it uses a cooler cooking method to better preserve the nutrients in the food. 

Wet Dog Food

Wet dog food is sold in cans, which gives you convenient ready-made portions through the week. It usually contains more meat than dry food, and the high moisture content makes your dog feel full much faster. Some dogs prefer the flavour and texture of wet food over kibble, and it may be easier for older dogs to chew. Wet food will go bad after a couple hours, so reduce waste by offering only what your dog might eat at a meal. You will need to wash the food bowls more frequently, so serve it while you’re at home.   

Puppy Food

A puppy needs a lot of calories to grow up big and strong, but you’ll need to wean him away from milk first. At around four to six weeks of age begin introducing puppy food by blending it with a milk replacer into a thin gruel. Offer this three to four times a day, gradually reducing the amount of milk replacer. This minimizes gastric upset as your puppy slowly learns to adapt to solid food. By eight weeks of age your puppy should be fully converted. 


Dog treats are a great way to train your dog, recognize god behavior, or improve your dog’s dental hygiene. However, some treats are high in sodium and artificial flavours, which do not contribute to a healthy diet. Use them sparingly and keep the extra calories in mind if your dog is overweight. 

Dog Food Safety Considerations:

• Many breeds of dog have well-known dietary allergies and common health problems — talk to your veterinarian about the best diet for your dog’s breed
• It is best to alternate between several different brands of dog food, switching every few months to ensure your dog gets a wide variety of nutrients
• Store dry dog food in an airtight container to preserve the freshness and nutrients of the food, and to keep out any unwanted visitors
• Popular human foods such as onions, avocadoes, grapes, caffeine and chocolate can be toxic if fed to dogs

Dog Food Features

Meat +

A lot of your dog’s nutrition comes from meat, though vegetables do offer some specific vitamins and minerals. Meats such as poultry, beef, game and fish are all delicious choices for your dog.

Grains +

Grains are not a necessary part of your dog’s diet, but they act as a filler to help reduce the cost of dog food. High-yield grains such as corn, wheat and soy are popular filler ingredients, but check your puppy for allergic reactions during the first feeding. Brown rice and other whole grains such as barley and oats are considered healthier filler ingredients.

Fruits and Vegetables +

Fruit and vegetables have a lot of good vitamins and minerals for your dog. Often included in higher quality dog food, these ingredients can improve your dog’s lifelong health. Antioxidant-rich produce can reduce the risk of cancer, too. Stay clear of grapes, raisins, onions and garlic, which are toxic to your pet.

Preservatives +

Some preservatives and other additives are best left out of your dog’s food bowl. BHA (Butylated Hydroxyanisole), BHT (Butylated Hydroxytoluene) and ethoxyqui can cause liver and kidney problems, allergies and dental issues. Choose food with tocopherols (vitamin E) or ascorbate (vitamin C) instead.

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This article is intended as general information. Always be sure to read and follow the label(s)/instruction(s) that accompany your product(s). Walmart will not be responsible for any injury or damage caused by this activity.



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