One of the most daunting problems new dog owners face is the overwhelming number of choices they are presented with when preparing for their pet. There are countless types of bedding, accessories, dog treats and toys available. One of the most important, and perhaps the most confusing of these choices, is what type of food is best. Of all the options available, most dog owners find dry dog food to be the easiest and most affordable option.
Dry dog food is a staple of most dogs’ diets, and is often called kibble. Dry dog food is comprised mainly of protein and vegetable matter, although additives such as fat may be used to increase nutritional value and flavor. Dry dog foods may be baked or cooked through a process called extrusion, during which the ingredients are pressurized and exposed to steam or hot water before being allowed to air dry.
Some owners may find the ingredients of dry dog food to be lacking. One of the main complaints of dog owners is that the amount of vegetable matter in some dry dog foods greatly outweighs the amount of animal protein, which is not optimal for a dog's health. These owners may choose to feed their canines homemade dog food or wet food. Some owners consider homemade diets optimal because they know exactly which ingredients are going into their dog's food.
Despite these alternatives, most dog owners still opt to feed their dogs kibble. It is economical, widely available, easy to make and feed, and has a considerably long shelf life. Because dry dog food contains between six and ten percent moisture by volume, it will last for about one year from the date of manufacture. It is best to store dry dog food in a dry place at room temperature. Any temperatures hotter or colder may damage the nutrients included in the kibble.
It is important to speak to a veterinarian before starting a canine on any new diet. A vet will be able to further optimize the diet for a pet's health and unique needs. Pet owners can also seek advice on what ingredients are best to look for, and which ones they should avoid. A veterinarian can also direct dog owners to local sources where the recommended food is available.