Aside from any potential vet bills, the feed you will be offering your dogs is probably the highest cost you will incur in owning a dog. This does NOT mean that you should scrimp on the quality of your dog food.
Having your dogs properly fed and conditioned will drastically cut down on the number of visits you’ll otherwise find yourself making to your veterinarian. I’ll share what I’ve learned during my lifetime in raising, training and exhibiting dogs but please also refer to your vet so that you can best meet the needs of your individual dog.
Protein, in my opinion, is the ingredient you need to focus on when choosing a dog food to feed your animals. While understanding various breeds, activity levels and individual health issues as well as age all need to be addressed when making this choice, I prefer to keep my feed at 25% digestible protein . 21% would be the minimum that I’d use. Note that I stated *digestible* protein. Not all protein is created equally. For this, and other reasons, we need to learn to understand dog food labels.
The ingredients on the bag will be listed by order of content, by weight. Be aware that some dog food manufacturers may also ‘toy’ with the labels in order to manipulate the order in which the various ingredients show up on the bag. A common way of doing this is by dividing a grain ingredient into different categories (i.e. wheat flour, ground rice, rice bran, etc), thus making the weights lower and pushing the ingredients further down the list causing more desirable ingredients to be pushed up.
When considering prices on dog food, remember to take into consideration the amount you would be feeding of that particular food. Basic guidelines can be found on the bag. (It will be up to you to further customize this based on your individual dog’s needs) Multiply this amount x 7 to find out how much you will be using of that food per week and then factor in the weight of the bag and you can easily see how long that bag will last you. In doing this, you will see that a more expensive bag of dog food may actually be less expensive to feed.