With such a vast selection of brands and types of dog foods found on the market these days, it can be difficult to decide which one is the right one for your dog. Super premium, premium and non-premium products can all offer complete and balanced nutrition. Using the following list as a guide may help you decide which type of dog food is the best choice for your pet.

dog-456646_1920Specialty or Super Premium dog foods are usually sold in pet supply stores and veterinarian offices. They are normally higher in price, more energy dense and have more calories per pound than other types of dog food. Overfeeding your pet with these products can lead to faster weight gain than with lower calorie products.

Premium products can be found in grocery stores as well as pet supply outlets. They are generally moderately priced and have a lower calorie volume per pound compared to Super Premium products.

Store Brand products are dog foods sold under a store’s name (WalMart, Kroger, etc.) rather than a national brand name. They are designed to offer similar ingredients and performance as the nationally advertised brands but at a lower cost.

Canned (wet) dog foods contain more water, therefore, they have less calories than dry dog food. Because canned foods contain more water, it may be difficult for larger dog breeds to meet their nutritional and energy needs before feeling full.

Dry dog food has less moisture and more calories than wet dog food, so your pet will require less dry food than canned food to meet his/her nutritional needs.

Breed Size dog foods contain appropriate nutrient levels for a specific breed size dog’s metabolism and stage of life.

Puppy foods are rich in protein, calories and nutrients necessary for growing puppies. They contain specific levels of calcium and phosphorus to help support healthy bone and joint development.

Adult dog foods are formulated to provide the appropriate levels of nutrients needed by adult dogs. They are not generally recommended for pregnant or lactating dogs.

Senior dog food is specifically formulated for dogs over the age of 7 years. Senior dogs have different nutritional needs compared to adult dogs. Their diet should contain increased levels of protein to help maintain and support a healthy immune system.

Weight Management dog food generally contains higher levels of protein and fiber and fewer calories and fat compared to an adult maintenance dog food. The higher levels of protein helps dogs keep their muscle while losing fat and the high fiber content helps them feel satisfied while losing weight.

Performance dog food is specifically formulated for highly active and hardworking dogs.

Homemade dog food is not recommended, as a general rule, as it runs the risk of containing too much fat for most dog’s needs. Diets that are high in fat can increase your dog’s risk of obesity, high blood pressure and an elevated heart rate.