There are two broad categories of food for dogs and cats – supermarket food, and premium food. Both are nutritionally adequate, but premium foods are much better quality and contain ingredients for optimum coat condition, gastrointestinal and joint health. They are also formulated specifically for different breed types and life stages to promote ideal growth and weight maintenance, and to minimise the risk of health problems as pets age. Premium foods contain less 'fillers', such as kelp and wheat, which have minimal nutritional value and contribute to flatulence and increased stool volume. Another big difference is that the ingredients in premium foods are 'fixed' and consistent between batches, whereas supermarket foods often have different ingredients depending on what is cheap and available at the time of manufacture. There are also less artificial flavours and colours in premium food. Whilst premium food is more expensive than supermarket food, the difference is not as marked as you may think since premium food is more energy concentrated – meaning that you need to feed less.
The main difference between dry and canned food is water - canned food has about 70% water. This means that canned food is far more expensive than dry food, because you are paying for the water! It also means you will need to feed more on a weight basis. Both wet and dry foods have the same nutritional value, and it is fine to feed either or both. Bear in mind that all pets also need something in the diet to abrade the teeth and prevent dental disease.
It is almost impossible to ensure that your dog gets all the necessary proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals in their correct proportions when you are feeding a home-cooked diet. This is particularly true in the case of puppies. We recommend feeding a premium dog food, which you may supplement with meats and vegetables from time to time if you wish.
If your dog is receiving a balanced dog food, supplementation is generally unnecessary and can actually be harmful. You should only feed supplements if recommended by a veterinarian.
Here you can find information and advice about common problems and diseases. Please remember, though, that this information can't replace a visit to the vet!