Original Question: Hi Dr. Greenway, you were my vet at West Hill. What is the healthiest dry dog food and what is the healthiest wet dog food for my Scottie. We are using Acana Light & Fit but we are looking for the healthiest. - Paul
Thanks for your question.
It’s very difficult to recommend the best diet for your dog. In fact, I think it is near impossible because you really need to know how a dog responds to a food to know if it is good for them or not. I have always maintained that a food is good if your dog eats it, has good solid stools, does not become itchy, doesn’t vomit, and maintains an ideal body condition.
If your dog is experiencing symptoms like diarrhea, inappetence or vomiting on your current diet, I would recommend that you rule out any medical conditions first with your veterinarian. You could perform fecal testing for parasites, a rectal exam for abnormal structures in the colon, radiographs to image the area, blood work for metabolic diseases and a urinalysis for kidney related issues. If everything is clear then it could be dietary and you can start experimenting with different diets.
Any food you select has to have a trial period before knowing whether it is ideal or not. To avoid this risk, I would recommend that you introduce any new food very slowly over the course of 3 weeks. Monitor your dog’s response to it very closely as you switch over to the new diet. If diarrhea or vomiting develops, I would stop it immediately and seek medical attention if it does not resolve right away.
Here is some other advice to consider. I often tell clients that if they are selecting a diet, they should consider a diet that is formulated to prevent a medical condition that their breed of dog is prone to developing. If you have a Labrador Retriever then it is prone to arthritis and hip dysplasia, so consider a food that incorporates glucosamine and weight control. I figure these foods are expensive enough, so why not feed a food that helps avoid costly visits to the veterinarian!
Good luck. I hope this helps.
Dr. Clayton Greenway