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Finding The Best Joint Supplement For Your Dog May Be Easier Than You Think

glucosamine

If your vet recommended a joint supplement for your dog, you might be at a loss. There are hundreds on the market. Which do you choose? The best joint supplement may surprise you. And it may cost a lot less than you think it will.

I first began to research joint supplements when my four-year-old German Shepherd mix, Astro, injured his anterior cruciate ligament. This is a common injury for people and dogs, and it can happen at any time.

All it takes is one misstep on a slippery surface, one jump that lands wrong, or, in Astro's case, one ill-advised rush down the stairs, and bam! Your hyperactive canine jogging partner is sidelined for life.

If the injury is severe enough, some vets will recommend surgery to fix it. Other times, surgery may not be necessary. In either case, though, my vet told me, dogs will develop arthritis in the joint. An ACL injury often means a lifetime on anti-inflammatory or other pain-killing medicine, but joint supplements can help.

The problem is, there's a dizzying array of joint supplements for dogs. You'll find a breathtaking range of ingredients, dosages, claims, and testimonials -- with price tags to match. And choosing one can be almost as stressful as the initial diagnosis.

The good news is, the best joint supplement isn't necessarily the most expensive. Nor is it the one with all the exotic herbal ingredients. Nor is it even a special canine formulation. The magic, according to my vet, comes from the proper combination of four key ingredients. And the simpler the formulation, the better.

Why Your Dog May Need Joint Support

The number one reason a vet may recommend joint support supplements is arthritis. Arthritis is common as dogs -- and humans -- age. However, your dog may also develop arthritis because of an injury. Either way, finding the best joint supplement can make a world of difference for your pup.

puppy in the grass

The Best Joint Supplement: The Big 4

According to my vet, there are four main components for joint support: glucosamine, chondroitin, MSM, and the omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA. Omega-3s? Don't doctors recommend those for heart health as well? You bet they do, and that's a bonus. But the important thing for your dog is that these fatty acids also increase joint mobility.

Now, here's the best part. You don't need a special canine formulation with all sorts of fancy herbal additives. Human-grade supplements are fine, according to my vet. In fact, she specifically recommended against additional ingredients. The best joint supplement is simple and effective. And often cheaper, too.

The important thing is to follow your vet's recommended dosage of the key ingredients. The dosages will vary according to your dog's age, weight, and health conditions, so this is very important.

Joint Care Maintenance Chewable Tablet Supplement for Dogs and Cats,...
  • 100% Money Back Guarantee - NaturVet
  • Veterinarian formulated joint health supplement that provides joint support for all dogs and cats.
  • Level 1 joint support intended for daily joint & hip maintenance.

Glucosamine is an amino sugar. Most often, it comes from the exoskeletons of shellfish. If you prefer to avoid animal ingredients, or if your dog is allergic to shellfish, there are also grain-derived glucosamine supplements.


You may have to look for them, but, thankfully, they're not that much more expensive than the shellfish-derived variety. Many glucosamine supplements also contain chondroitin, and research has shown that the best joint supplement contains both glucosamine and chondroitin together.

How it Works

Cartilage acts as a cushion for joints like the knee. Healthy cartilage contains water, collagen, and proteoglycan. The water and proteoglycan lubricate and protect the cartilage. Glycosaminoglycans help to hold the water in, which also protects the joint.


Arthritis causes cartilage to become thin and wear down. This, in turn, causes arthritis pain. Glucosamine helps the body to form more glycosaminoglycans, which holds in the water to cushion the joint. It also stimulates the production of proteoglycan, which protects the cartilage from breaking down.

The Research

A recent study by the National Institutes of Health showed that a combination glucosamine and chondroitin supplement resulted in a statistically significant reduction in arthritis pain for many study participants. Patients with moderate to severe pain experienced significant benefits. Patients with mild pain did not. This was a human trial that took place at sixteen different medical centers across the United States and involved 1,583 participants.


Anecdotally, I can tell you that the best joint supplement regimen for us is a combination of glucosamine, chondroitin, and MSM. I'd read that a lot of dogs develop a permanent limp following an ACL injury. Two years after his injury, Astro not only has no limp but enjoys long, daily walks.


He's retired as my jogging partner, but he gets around just fine. What's more, once my mother saw how much Astro's supplements helped him, she started taking them for her own arthritis. My mom is an avid runner in her seventies and had begun to suffer arthritis in her knee.


After supplementing with glucosamine and chondroitin, she not only experienced relief from arthritis pain but was also able to switch back from the special, expensive running shoes she'd been using to regular running shoes.


Your mileage may vary, of course. And you should never begin a supplement regimen without discussing it with your doctor (or vet). But the combination of glucosamine and chondroitin helped Astro, and it turned out to be the best joint supplement for my mom as well.

How and Much to Use

Glucosamine comes in pill form. Often it is paired with chondroitin. You can also find glucosamine with both chondroitin and MSM. Generally, instructions recommend giving it to your pet once per day.


It's very important to use the specific dosage your vet recommends. Your dog's dosage will depend on your dog's specific health problem, as well as his or her age and weight. Too little glucosamine will not help. Too much can cause vomiting and diarrhea -- and that's no fun for anyone.

What Kind to Buy

According to my vet, it's fine to use human-grade glucosamine and chondroitin supplements. The most important thing is to make sure that the dosage matches your vet's recommendation. When you examine the ingredients label, you'll find that formulations can vary widely.


Some labels will tell you how much of each ingredient you'll get per pill, while others might give you the dosage for two, three, four, or even more tablets. I've found that the Walgreen's house brand triple-strength glucosamine, chondroitin, and MSM supplement is economical and works well. But again, this was for my dog, using the advice of my vet.


Another important consideration is extra ingredients. Be aware that human formulations may contain herbs or extras that are harmful to dogs. As for canine formulations, many of them contain fancy-sounding herbal ingredients that may or may not be worth the money. Do your own research and talk to your vet to see which "extras" your vet thinks might be helpful.

Possible Side Effects and Downsides

Glucosamine is an amino sugar. So if your dog is diabetic, your vet may advise against this particular supplement. Common side effects, especially at the beginning, include vomiting and diarrhea.


If your dog experiences symptoms or behavioral changes while taking this supplement, it's important to contact your vet right away.

Trader Joe's Glucosamine Chondroitin for Dogs,100 chewable tablets
  • Daily support for cartilage development & joint health
  • 100 chewable tablets
  • 250mg glucosamine hydrochloride per tablet

Like glucosamine, chondroitin is one of the building blocks of cartilage. In arthritic joints, chondroitin will need to be replaced daily. Chondroitin is derived from animal cartilage. Specifically, it comes from cartiliginous tissues from cows, pigs, fish, and birds.

How it works

Remember proteoglycans? While glucosamine stimulates the body to produce more of them, chondroitin attracts fluid to the proteoglycan molecules. And this helps to lubricate, cushion, and protect the arthritic joint.

The research

A 2018 study published in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases found that supplementation with pharmaceutical-grade chondroitin sulfate is as effective against arthritis of the knee as the NSAID drug Celecoxib. It also found that chondroitin was superior to a placebo. This was a randomized, 6-month, 3-arm, double-blind, double-dummy study of 604 patients, which tested chondroitin against both Celecoxib and placebo.

What kind to buy

Personally, I have found that a single, high-strength human-grade formulation that contains both glucosamine and chondroitin, is the best joint supplement for my dog. You can find both canine and human formulations that contain both. Again, I recommend using your vet's advice for dosage and finding a combination that maximizes dosage while minimizing extra ingredients.

How and how much to use

Chondroitin comes in pill form. You can find it sold alone, or, commonly with glucosamine, chondroitin, and MSM. How much to use will, again, depend on your vet's recommendation.

Possible side effects and downsides

Chondroitin can also cause digestive symptoms in some dogs. If your dog suffers from symptoms or behavioral changes while taking chondroitin, it's important to contact your vet for advice.

Kala Health MSM Powder (PurforMSM) for Animals 1-lb. MSM Made in the...
  • 99.9% Pure US-Made MSM
  • Recommended Daily Supplement for Dogs and Cats
  • Supports a Shiny Coat and Healthy Skin

MSM is short for Methylsulfonylmethane. What on earth is that? Its an organic sulfur found in fruits, vegetables, grains, and animals. And it can help with tissue and cartilage repair.

How it works

Many believe that MSM works by encouraging your body to repair joint cartilage and tissue. Some also believe that it helps to reduce inflammation, such as occurs with osteoarthritis.

The research

A 2006 study of human osteoarthritis patients showed that oral MSM supplementation results in significantly less arthritis pain. It also improved mobility. Most importantly, it did so without side effects. However, this study had a very small sample size -- fifty people. More research is definitely needed.

Anecdotally, I can say that a regimen combining glucosamine, chondroitin, and MSM has helped my dog.

How and how much to use

MSM comes in pill and powder form. Often, you can find it together in a single product with glucosamine and chondroitin. How much to use, of course, depends upon your dog, your dog's health issues, and the advice of your vet.

What kind to buy

I find it most effective and economical to buy a supplement that contains a combination of glucosamine, chondroitin, and MSM together. The most important thing, however, is to find the combination of products that meet your vet's recommendations in the best and most cost-effective way for you.

Possible side effects and downsides

Studies have reported no serious side effects from MSM.

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Omega 3 Wild Fish Oil for Dogs, EPA and DHA Fatty Acids, Natural Skin,...
  • HIGHEST-RATED OMEGA 3 FISH OIL FOR DOGS: 365-day guarantee - if you are not happy with our Omega 3 fish oil for your...
  • IDEAL EPA AND DHA DOSAGE FOR YOUR PET: Nutrition Strength's Omega 3 dog fish oil soft gels have the ideal mixture of EPA...
  • NATURAL OMEGA 3 DOG SUPPLEMENT: Our dog fish oil supplement is made from wild fish caught in the cold, clean Atlantic...

Fish oil, specifically salmon oil, has been shown to have numerous benefits for dogs' health. In addition to specifically helping with symptoms of arthritis, fish oil is also beneficial for dogs' hearts, hair and skin. Some people prefer salmon oil to oil from other fish, as it contains naturally-occurring Vitamin E. It's also higher than most fish oils in the Omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, which are important to arthritis relief.

How it works

Fish oil contains two Omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA. These can reduce the inflammation that causes arthritis pain.

The research

A randomized, double-blind study of fish oil in a canine diet showed significant health benefits for the dogs in the study. Specifically, the fish oil diet resulted in increases EPA and DHA in both plasma and synovial fluid. It also resulted in a reduction in some processes that result in cartilage destruction. Overall, this means it had an anti-inflammatory effect, as well as significant benefits for joints and cartilage.

How and how much to use

You can find fish oil in some different forms, from pills to capsules to liquid. Some may prefer pills or capsules for ease of use. I like the liquid because Astro loves the way it tastes on his morning kibble. Most packages will come with instructions for use. However, you should always follow your vet's recommendations.

What kind to buy

I prefer to buy liquid Scottish salmon oil for several reasons. First, the salmon oil contains higher levels of EPA and DHA than many other kinds of fish oils, like oil from Pollock. Also, salmon oil has naturally-occurring vitamin E, which is essential for absorbing and digesting these nutrients. As for buying Scottish salmon, I live in Scotland and like to support local industry. Alaskan salmon, no doubt, is just as nutrient-packed.

Possible side effects and downsides

Too much fish oil can cause numerous side effects, including diarrhea. Too much may also keep wounds from healing as quickly as they should.

Other Supplements

You might hear about the arthritis benefits of other supplements, such as turmeric and green-lipped mussel. It's important to do your own research when trying to find the best joint supplement for your best friend. As for me, my vet's recommendations of glucosamine, chondroitin, MSM, and fish oil have worked well, and I'm happy to stick with them.

Best Dry Dog Food: Which Product Can Make Your Dog Happy And Healthy?

Dog eating

Buying the best dry dog food is essential to keeping your dog healthy and happy. Of course, every dog is different, so you will need to figure out which diet is best for its stage in life, general health, and any special needs. It would be easier if your dog could tell you which food tastes good or makes them feel better, but that isn’t going to happen anytime soon, so you will likely need to figure this out on your own.

If you're looking for the best dry dog food, look no further — we've got almost a dozen excellent suggestions below. But first, let’s talk about why dry dog food is the way to go when purchasing food for your dog and/or puppy.

Why Buy Dry Dog Food for Your Dog?

Dry Food vs. Wet Food?

What Is in Dry Dog Food?

How Should You Feed Your Dog?

Where to Buy the Best Dry Dog Food?

The Best Dry Dog Food Brands for Your Dog

Make sure you ask family, friends, and your veterinarian for advice on food as well. You might find a great recommendation wasn't on this list, and some pets are notoriously picky. Having options and being informed will help you make the right decision in the pet food aisle or online.

To bring you the best options possible, we've researched what the most popular brands on the market are, as well as things like nutrition, reviews, and customer satisfaction.

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Rachael Ray Nutrish Natural Dry Dog Food, Real Chicken & Veggies...
  • U.S. farm-raised chicken is the #1 ingredient
  • Natural prebiotics help support healthy digestion
  • No artificial flavors or artificial preservatives

Celebrity chef Rachael Ray's Nutrish brand is a high-quality grocery store brand that uses simple, natural ingredients like real U.S. farm-raised meat (chicken, beef, and bison) combined with wholesome veggies, with added vitamins and minerals.

There are a few other dry food selection from Rachael Ray, too. "Dish" always has real chicken or beef as the number one ingredient in every recipe. It also has no fillers - corn, wheat, and soy. Instead, it has delicious bits of real chicken, carrots, peas, and apples. There's also "Just 6", intended for dogs on a limited ingredient diet.

Purina Beyond Grain Free Wild-Caught Tuna & Egg Recipe Adult Dry Dog...
  • 23 Lb. Bag - Purina Beyond Grain Free Wild-Caught Tuna & Egg Recipe Adult Dry Dog Food
  • Packaging May Vary
  • Tuna Is The #1 Ingredient

This dog food helps you choose a back-to-basics approach to supporting your dog's health and wellness. Purina Beyond offers natural nutrition, plus essential vitamins and minerals. Your dog will get a complete and balanced meal time recipe without artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. This dry dog food recipe contains ingredients that work together to help your dog live a long, healthy life with you.

Instinct Original Grain Free Chicken Meal Formula Natural Dry Dog Food...
  • Natural ingredients with added vitamins and minerals. No artificial colors, flavors or preservatives
  • Grain-free and gluten-free nutrition. No corn, no wheat, no soy, no fillers
  • Protein-rich diets made primarily from animal ingredients as your dog would eat in nature

Nature's Variety provides great nutrition to keep your pets healthy and happy.  The company makes the food with natural, wholesome, and delicious ingredients. It's also 100 percent free of corn, wheat, soy, and artificial colors and flavors. Plus, each recipe is rich in meat, poultry, or fish proteins to give your pets everything they need. This brand is the Trader Joe’s of dog food.

Instinct dry dog food is grain-free, high protein nutrition, and as close to its natural state as possible when it comes to kibble. Prairie dog food is the balanced, holistic nutrition that comes from pure animal protein, whole grains, and fresh vegetables and fruits.

Dick Van Patten'S Natural Balance Duck And Turkey Formula Dog Food...
  • Full Feed Or Add To Dry Natural Balance Dog Food
  • Excellent Training Treat Or Reward For The Enthusiast, Trainer, Or Show Handler
  • Formulated Without Corn, Soy, Wheat, Artificial Flavors Or Colors

Natural Balance offers several carefully selected formulas which feature high-quality meats and unique proteins, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fruits and vegetables. Formulated for all breeds and life stages, it offers an optimal balance of premium proteins and vital nutrients and has no artificial flavors or colors.

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Earthborn Holistic Adult Vantage Dry Dog Food, 28 Lb.
  • Holistic Nutrition, 28 Lb. Resealable Bag
  • Quality Animal And Fish Proteins Such As Chicken Meal And Whitefish Meal Help Build And Maintain Muscle
  • Fully Cooked Wholesome Grains Like Oatmeal, Barley, Brown Rice And Rye Are Easily Digested

Earthborn Holistic is for active adult dogs. Adult Vantage helps condition your dog for life through the use of high-quality proteins, whole food ingredients, proper levels of calcium, and the addition of nutrients like beta-carotene and L-carnitine. This brand of dog food will help with your dog's muscle mass, intestinal tract, immune system, and overall body conditioning. The food contains high-quality animal and fish proteins such as chicken meal and whitefish meal.

Nutro Ultra Adult Dry Dog Food With A Trio Of Proteins From Chicken,...
  • Contains One (1) 30 Lb. Bag Of Nutro Ultra Adult Dry Dog Food With A Trio Of Proteins From Chicken, Lamb And Salmon (New...
  • Features Trio Of Protein From Chicken, Lamb, And Salmon-Chicken Is The #1 Ingredient-Specially Formulated For Adult Dogs
  • Our Premium Dog Food Kibble Is Made With High-Quality Ingredients And Provides Complete And Balanced Nutrition For Adult...

NUTRO ULTRA Adult Dry Dog Food is a dense recipe formulated to promote a lean body and healthy skin and coat on your dog. Farm-raised chicken is the main ingredient in NUTRO® Ultra Adult Dry Dog Food. It delivers the amino acids adult dogs need to build muscle and maintain a healthy metabolism. Nutro never uses artificial flavors, colors or preservatives in their food.

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Whole Earth Farms Grain Free Recipe Dry Dog Food, Pork, Beef & Lamb,...
  • First Ingredient Is High Quality Protein
  • Grain Free Recipe For Easier Digestibility
  • Supports A Shinier Coat, Less Shedding & Healthier Skin

Whole Wheat Farms is a line of naturally nutritious dog food that offers high-quality protein and all-natural ingredients that help support easier digestibility, less shedding, a shinier coat, increased energy, stronger nails, and healthier skin. Made the USA, every recipe has no corn, wheat or wheat by-products, no artificial flavors, no artificial colors, and no artificial preservatives. Check this one out for their high-quality dog food and price.

Holistic Select Natural Dry Dog Food, Anchovy & Sardine And Salmon...
  • Unique Digestive Health Support: Formulated With A Unique Digestive Health Support System, Focused Around Prebiotics,...
  • Quality Ingredients: Complete & Balanced Everyday Diet, Made With Quality Ingredients And Premium Protein From Real...
  • All Natural: Contains Only Premium, All Natural Ingredients With No Meat By-Products, Wheat, Wheat-Gluten Or Artificial...

Holistic Select recipes feature the most comprehensive digestive health support for dogs. It has the right levels of probiotics, prebiotics, digestive enzymes, and natural fiber. This dry dog food helps your dog's digestive system break down food and absorb more nutrients. This reduces gas, bloating, and discomfort. Healthy digestion is critical to your dog's health.

Evo Grain Free Turkey And Chicken Formula Small Bites Dry Dog Food,...
  • Contains One (1) 6.6-Lb. Bag Of Evo Turkey And Chicken Formula Small Bites Dry Dog Food
  • Packed With High Quality Protein That Offers The Benefits Of A Raw Diet In The Convenience Of A Kibble
  • Features Omega-3 Fatty Acids For Skin And Coat Health, Plus Epa And Dha

EVO is an excellent source to satisfy your dog’s carnivorous cravings. The protein in EVO derives from premium quality meats that are rich in animal proteins, not grains. In fact, it's entirely grain-free.

Wellness Core Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food, Original Turkey &...
  • Grain Free: 100% Grain Free, Complete And Balanced Everyday Nutrition For Your Dog
  • Protein Focused Nutrition: Naturally Grain Free, Rich With Delicious Premium Proteins Including Turkey And Chicken...
  • All Natural: Contains Only Premium, All Natural Ingredients With No Wheat, Corn, Soy, Meat By-Products, Or Artificial...

Wellness CORE combines natural, premium proteins and wholesome whole grains to deliver a balanced diet full of the nutrients your dog needs. Every recipe is made with antioxidants to support their robust immune systems and balanced nutrients for optimal energy.

Required Nutrients for Dogs

All dogs thrive on high-quality food, but sometimes that high-quality food can get costly. However, dogs rely on us to make the choices that are best for them and their health. You need to shop smart and make sure you do your research on what type of food your dog should have on a daily basis.

Remember dogs, in general, need an appropriate combination of protein, fat, moisture, fiber, minerals, and vitamins. Read the labels and make sure you are buying easily-identifiable whole food ingredients and supplements. Ingredients to look for are whole proteins like chicken, beef, fish, duck, and eggs.

Make sure the food is grain-free or contains healthy whole grains like oats, quinoa, and barley. You can also consider adding supplements like omega-3 fatty acids to your dog's diet. Vegetables like sweet potatoes, peas, and carrots are always a plus in the best dry dog food. Try to avoid ingredients like unspecified “meat,” corn and other unhealthy grains and fillers. You should also avoid artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, and preservatives.

The best advice we can give you is to talk to your veterinarian about any food concerns you may have. Since they know what your dog’s breed, age, and activity level are, they can provide you with a suggestion on the best dry dog food and homemade dog food for your dog. Likewise, if you have a senior dog, it would be wise to consult about their diet with a veterinarian. If you have an opinion on the best dry dog food that you want to recommend, please leave a comment and let us know what brand you love for your pets.

Fromm Dog Food Review: See How It Stands Up To The Hype

Fromm dog food pack

We hear about pets dying from contaminated food every day. Whether from salmonella or pentobarbital, cheap, imported dog food, ingredients, and treats can kill. Fromm dog food is one company whose practices can allay your fears.

First, the company is in the United States. They manufacture all of their dog food in Wisconsin. And if that's not enough, they guarantee that none of their ingredients come from China.

But is it nutritionally sound? Pet parents not only need to know which ingredients go into their dog’s food but also the proportions of protein, fat, and fiber.

Dogs of different ages and lifestyles need different ratios of these nutrients. And Fromm delivers, with formulations for different ages and lifestyles. How does Fromm dog food compare to similar products? Pretty darn well, actually.

What's So Special About Fromm Dog Food?

Fromm is a family-owned premium company that has been producing premium pet food since 1949. What makes them so special? Their commitment to quality, for one. They also maintain tight control over their supply and distribution, which lessens the chance of contamination. Finally, the quality and variety of their products speak for themselves.

Commitment to Quality

Fromm manufactures all their food in their Wisconsin facilities and has a strong commitment to sourcing quality ingredients for their pet foods. Many recent pet food-related issues stem from subpar ingredients sourced from China. Due to this, Fromm requires that none of their ingredients originate in China.

Independent Retailers

Fromm has a strong commitment to selling through independent and family-owned pet businesses. In 1991, fourth-generation Fromm owner Tom Nieman made a pledge, saying, “I only sell through professional pet-food retailers because I only make professional-quality dog food.” Big retailers like Amazon are not authorized Fromm resellers, though independent companies may still sell Fromm through the Amazon platform.

Supporting local and family businesses is important to many of us. It's important to Fromm, too. And their distribution practices back this up.

About Fromm's Dog Food Lines

Fromm dog food has four different product lines for different lifestyles and dietary needs. Also, their dog food comes in dry kibble and canned wet food variants.

The Four-Star Line

Fromm Four-Star Salmon A La Veg Dog Food, 15 Lb

Four-Star is Fromm’s line of gourmet dog food recipes. The Four-Star line includes the highest proportions of fresh meat, fish, fruit, and vegetables. With names like Chicken au Frommage, Hasen Duckenpfeffer, and Beef Fritatta, these foods are fit for the most discriminating canine connoisseur. Four-Star is available in dry, canned, and treat formulations.

PRICE

OUR RATING


Fromm Family Foods 727520 Gold Nutritionals Adult 33 Lb Dry Dog Food (1 Pack), One Size

Fromm Gold is Fromm’s line of holistic dog foods made for various life stages and lifestyles. Life stages include the puppy and adult formulas. Lifestyles include Large Breed, Small Breed, Reduced Activity and Senior, as well as Weight Management.

This product line has three sub-lines, each featuring a different blend of proteins. First, Heartland Gold is a grain-free red meat formulation. Fromm Gold Coast is a grain-free formulation featuring ocean fish. Finally, the original From Gold is a combination of chicken, duck, and lamb. The Fromm Gold line is available as dry kibble only.

PRICE

OUR RATING


Fromm Classics Adult Dry Dog Food 33lb

The Fromm Classic line is from the company’s original recipes. It is available only in dry formulations for puppies, adults, and mature adult dogs.

PRICE

OUR RATING


Fromm Gold Chicken & Duck Pâté 12.2oz / case of 12

Fromm Pate is the company’s line of canned dog food and is available for all life stages.

PRICE

OUR RATING


Price Range

Fromm's Heartland Gold Adult dog food is available through different online retailers for around $60 to $89 for a twenty-six-pound bag. While this sounds like a lot, this comes out to between $2.30 and $3.42 per pound. This is comparable to the top two five-star choices on Top Dog Tip's dog food value comparison for 2018. And really, isn't it worth a little extra to buy top-quality pet food that supports family-owned American businesses?

How We Reviewed

We chose Heartland Gold Adult dog food to represent Fromm dog food for this review. This is a grain-free recipe for active adult dogs, made with mixed proteins, sourced from beef, pork, and lamb. Beef and pork meal are the two main ingredients. This food has a guaranteed analysis of 25% minimum crude protein, 6% minimum crude fiber and 16.0% crude fat.

We looked at grain-free dog foods from other brands aimed at either adult or all stages with a similar protein makeup. We then looked at their main ingredients, guaranteed analysis, and customer reviews.

Orijen Original Regional Red

Protein Sources

Beef, wild boar, goat

Guaranteed Analysis

38% minimum crude protein, 18% minimum crude fat, 4% max crude fiber

Price range

$90 - $107 for a 25-pound bag

Where to buy

Orijen is a Canadian pet food company that offers foods created to follow a biologically appropriate diet for dogs and cats. It uses fresh regional ingredients sourced from North America.

Orijen Original Regional Red is a dry, grain-free dog food formulated for dogs of all life stages, and manufactured in the United States. Deboned beef, deboned wild boar, and deboned goat are its first three ingredients.

The majority of reviews on Amazon for Regional Red are positive. Most customers say that their dogs enjoyed the food and it made their dogs' coats shiny. Critical reviews note that their dogs were made ill by this food or turned out to be allergic. Also, customers who had once purchased Regional Red made in Canada noticed a change in formulation after manufacture had moved to the United States.

Blue Buffalo Freedom Grain-Free, Beef Recipe

Protein Sources

Beef, chicken

Guaranteed Analysis

24% crude protein, 14% minimum crude fat, 6% max crude fiber

Price range

$50 - $55 for a 24-pound bag

Where to buy

Blue Buffalo is an American premium dog food company. They manufacture their products in the United States. Blue Buffalo BLUE Freedom Grain-Free Beef Recipe is a dry, grain-free dog food formulated for adult dogs. Deboned beef, chicken meal, and tapioca starch are its first three ingredients.

The majority of reviews on Amazon for BLUE Freedom Adult Beef Recipe are positive. Customers report that their dogs love the taste. Some reviewers note that the food is not grain-free though it does not contain any grains with gluten.

Taste of the Wild Southwest Canyon Canine

Protein Sources

Beef, lamb, wild boar

Guaranteed Analysis

29% minimum crude protein, 15% minimum crude fat, 5% max crude fiber

Price

$48 - $55 online for a 28-pound bag

Where to Buy

Taste of the Wild is a premium pet food company based in the United States. Taste of the Wild manufactures its pet foods in the United States, using ingredients from suppliers around the globe. Taste of the Wild Southwest Canyon Canine is a dry, grain-free dog food formulated for all life stages. The first three ingredients are beef, peas, and garbanzo beans.

Amazon reviews for this food are generally favorable with customers reporting that this is good food for their allergy-prone dogs. Some critical reviews note that the formula seems to have changed and have made their dogs ill.

Fromm Dog Food: The Good and the Bad

No pet food is perfect. It's good to have all the facts when you're choosing the best food for your best friend.

The Upside

Fromm creates dog food from quality ingredients. For some lines, this means ingredients that are delivered daily to their Wisconsin plant. For all lines, it means that Fromm is very careful about where they source their ingredients. They don't just settle for what's cheapest. In particular, Fromm does not allow any of its ingredients to originate in China.

As far as proteins go, while Fromm does offer standard choices such as beef and chicken, some formulas also include more novel offerings like duck and quail. Variety is the spice of life, and your pets like it as much as you do!

The Downside

Fromm dog food can be a bit expensive compared to grocery store dog foods. But if you're researching premium pet foods, then you already know that the higher price is paying for higher quality. From sourcing to formulation, to distribution, Fromm has built its reputation of reliability, trustworthiness, and quality.

You might also have heard about the recent Fromm recall. In March of 2016, Fromm voluntarily recalled batches of its Gold canned dog food. The recall did not concern contamination, however, but an elevated level of nutrients that might have been unsafe for some dogs.

A few consumers have found their dogs didn't like Fromm, a risk any time you switch your dog's food. The main complaints we found were slow shipping from retailers, solved by buying locally, and the higher prices when ordering. However, we had to dig to find complaints, as less than 5 percent of reviews were negative.

Outside Reviews

Fromm dog food has generally received good ratings from both professional and consumer reviewers.

Dog Food Advisor

Dog Food Advisor gave Fromm's Gold Dry Dog Food four stars out of five, calling it "highly recommended." They were also impressed with its ingredients list.

Amazon

Amazon customers rated the brand with between four and five stars out of five for a variety of different products. For example, people some consumers said their notoriously picky dogs like the flavor of Fromm's Gold Small Breed Adult formula. They also noted that the kibble size was good for their smaller dogs.

Customers who purchased Fromm's Four-Star Beef Frittata Veg reported that their dogs liked this flavor, that it helped improve their coats, and that it was good for dogs with sensitive digestion.

Our Verdict

We were impressed by Fromm's commitment to quality ingredients, as well as their tight control of supply and distribution. In these tough economic times, we also appreciate their commitment to manufacturing in the United States and supporting local family-run businesses.

Nutro Dog Food: Review And Guide To Wet And Dry Foods

dog food

When I brought my puppy home a couple of years ago, it was just like bringing my child home for the first time. I was full of worries, especially about food. Well, I was until my vet told me about Nutro dog food. I'd never heard of the food before but took my vet's advice, went out and purchased a bag. Two years later, I have a healthy, happy dog who is full of energy and loves to bark at everything.

Of course, just because one person has had a good experience with it, doesn't mean everyone has, or will. So, how does it stand up to other dog food brands? Is it as I great as I think, or is my dog the exception?

What is Nutro?

Nutro Products, Inc. is a pet food company based out of Franklin, Tennessee. The company began in California in 1926 and has been feeding pets for ninety years. The company committed to living up to their "FEED CLEAN™" standard. That standard means Nutro makes all of its food with trustworthy, real, non-GMO ingredients that everyone recognizes.

Nutro FAQs

The following are the questions pet owners most frequently ask about Nutro dog food.

What does FEED CLEAN™ mean?

How does the company test for GMOs?

Does Nutro test safety and quality?

How We Reviewed

In addition to our own experience with Nutro dog food, we looked for reviews from other pet lovers. We also checked for any recalls or safety complaints about the product.

Price Range

Nutro dog food costs between $10 and $80. The price of the food depends on what product you buy, what size the bag is and where you purchase it.

Nutro Products

Nutro sells a number of dry dog food products as well as wet food. The wet products do not meet the same FEED CLEAN™ standards as the rest of the food, so we are not going to discuss that in depth. Just keep that in mind if you purchase the wet kind for your dog.

When you are choosing your food, you can shop by breed size and life stage. For instance, if you need puppy food for a small breed, as I did, you'd buy NUTRO ULTRA™ Small Breed Puppy Food or WHOLESOME ESSENTIALS™ Small Breed Puppy Food.

Below are the products that Nutro offers.

WHOLESOME ESSENTIALS™

Nutro Wholesome Essentials Adult Large Breed Dry Dog Food Farm-Raised Chicken, Brown Rice & Sweet Potato Recipe, 30 Lb. Bag

The first Nutro dog food on our list is the WHOLESOME ESSENTIALS™. This is the one that I have been feeding my two-year-old pomchi since he was 10-weeks old. The food comes in adult, senior, and puppy varieties. They also have food specifically made for small and large breeds.

All of the WHOLESOME ESSENTIALS™ recipes have sweet potato, brown rice, and either salmon, chicken or lamb. They contain all of the vitamins your dog needs to thrive. For example, the WHOLESOME ESSENTIALS™ Senior Farm-Raised Chicken has antioxidants to support an elderly dog's immune system. It also has Omega 3 and six fatty acids.

Dog owners who have purchased the food seem to love it. The different types all have excellent ratings on Amazon with at least 4 out of 5 stars. The food for large breed adult dogs, for instance, has 4.3 out of 5 stars. The biggest complaints about the food are that some dogs do not tolerate it, but that's not surprising. Not all dogs will tolerate every kind of food, so it is important to switch them over to it slowly.

PRICE

OUR RATING

Nutro Ultra Small Breed Adult Dry Dog Food With A Trio Of Proteins From Chicken, Lamb And Salmon, 15 Lb. Bag

NUTRO ULTRA™ is another variety of Nutro dog food. Like the WHOLESOME ESSENTIALS™ type, there is an ULTRA™ dog food for seniors, adults, and puppies. The food is made from three proteins, a superfood blend, and whole grains.

One example of an ULTRA™ recipe is the large breed adult food that is made with chicken, lamb, salmon, brown rice, flaxseeds, and sunflower oil. It also has dried pumpkin, dried kale, dried blueberries, dried apples, and other vegetables and fruits in it. A variety of vitamins like B12, B1, vitamin A and others are also added to keep your doggy healthy throughout his or her life.

This Nutro dog food also has terrific reviews on Amazon. The small breed adult variety has 4.6 out of 5 stars, and most people are very happy with it. Like the other Nutro product, people have complained that their dogs did not digest it well.

PRICE

OUR RATING

Nutro Limited Ingredient Diet Adult Fish & Potato Recipe Premium Loaf Canned Dog Food 12.5 Ounces (Pack Of 12)

The final dog food on our list is the Limited Ingredient Diet. This food is made using ten ingredients as well as vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. Nutro has made the food without the ingredients that commonly cause allergies in your canine friends like chicken, beef, and corn.

Instead, the company makes the food with high-quality ingredients like venison, sweet potatoes, sunflower oil, dried beet pulp, and vitamins. Like all of the other types of Nutro, pet owners are largely happy with this food.

PRICE

OUR RATING

How it Compares to Other Brands

The dog food market is full of products. However, not every bag of dog food is as good for your doggo the Nutro brand. The following three brands do come pretty close.

Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Grain Free, Natural Large Breed Dry Dog Food, Chicken, 24Lbs

Blue Wilderness is a grain-free, protein-rich dog food. Like Nutro, you can find a bag of Blue Wilderness for each of your dog's life stages: puppy, adult, and senior. Additionally, the company has a wide variety of protein options like chicken, salmon, and even duck.

Each variety of Blue Wilderness has unique benefits. For instance, Blue Wilderness puppy food helps brain development, lean muscle growth, and dental health. It also ensures your puppy's immune system, bones, skin, and coat are all healthy. Like Nutro, it is a bit pricey costing between $20 and $80 depending on what type of food you buy and what size the bag is.

Blue Wilderness has great reviews on Amazon. Their large breed puppy food, for instance, has 4.2 out of 5 stars. Like Nutro, the biggest complaint people had about the food on Amazon is that it was not the same quality as food bought in their local pet store. Overall, though, it was well-liked by dog owners.

PRICE

OUR RATING

Eukanuba Adult Large Breed Lamb And Rice Formula Dog Food 15 Pounds

Eukanuba is another food that compares to Nutro. Like the others, you can find a bag of food for each of your dog's life stages. Protein, like chicken and lamb, is also its number one ingredient. The company says their dog food helps maintain your pup's energy throughout the day, keeps teeth clean and helps healthy bone and joint growth. The food also helps boost your dog's immune and digestive systems. The food costs between $10 and $50 depending on the size you choose.

Like Nutro and Blue Wilderness, Eukanuba has an average rating of 4 out of 5 stars on Amazon.  The most prominent complaint people had was that their dog did not digest the food well. However, as we have mentioned, not every dog will digest every food well.

PRICE

OUR RATING

Chicken Soup Adult Dog 30Lb

The last product on our list is Chicken Soup for the Soul Dog Food. Unlike the others listed, this food only has two stages: puppy and adult. However, it is great food for a dog that you suspect has food allergies. The food is made with all natural ingredients, protein like poultry and fish as well as an abundance of vitamins. The food costs between $15 and $60.

This food also has high customer ratings on Amazon. The Chicken Soup for the Soul Adult Dog has 4.5 out of 5 stars on Amazon. Customers were happy with it overall, but like the other food we have listed, some complained their dogs did not digest the food.

PRICE

OUR RATING

Pros And Cons of Nutro Dog Food

If you still think you want to stick to Nutro dog food, it would be helpful to know its pros and cons.

PROS

  • Made from high-quality ingredients
  • Lots of options
  • No GMOs
  • Safety tests frequently
  • Full of vitamins

CONS

  • Some dogs don't digest it well
  • A little pricey

The food also has really high ratings from customers who have been feeding it to their dogs. There are not very many downsides to Nutro food.

Final Thoughts

Never feed your dog something that does not make them feel well. If you notice your dog is not digesting the food well, go back to what you were feeding it, or try something else, but do it slowly.

Homemade Dog Food: How To Prepare A Nutritional Diet For Your Dog

dog ready to eat

Pet parents today are savvier than ever when it comes to pet care. Homemade dog food is just one way to spoil your best friend with the best you have to offer. Sure, you can find some healthy store-bought food, but nothing beats homemade food.

Think about it, would you rather eat a pre-made salad from the store or a beautiful, fresh homemade one with premium ingredients? I know I certainly wouldn't want the store's salad. Your dogs feel the same way about their food.

However, before you start making just any kind of food for your puppy, you should know what you are doing. To properly make homemade dog food, it is important to understand what goes into your dog’s bowl and how best to prepare and store it properly.

A Brief History of Dog Food

For most of history, dogs subsisted on whatever their owners fed them, usually scraps from the family’s table and whatever they may have hunted or scavenged themselves. The dog biscuit as we know it was introduced in the mid 19th century where it first gained popularity among wealthy English gentlemen.

Advances in technology in the early 20th century helped to shape the dog food industry as a way of using up scraps from meat and grain processing factories. The pet food industry took off post World War II, partly due to the economic boom and also in part due to revolutions in pet food processing technology.

Why Make Homemade Dog Food?

dog in the kitchen waiting for homemade dog food

With a wide variety of commercial dog foods to choose from, why consider making homemade dog food? Making your dog food allows you to look out for your dog’s health and gives you greater control over their diet.

Your dog’s health

A healthier diet means your dog will be healthier overall. Just like humans, dogs can have sensitivities, allergies, or health conditions that are exacerbated by certain foods. By avoiding feeding foods that you know your dog is sensitive to can help keep your dog healthy and happy for years to come.

Quality control

While premium quality dog foods may use human grade meat, there are dog foods that use rendered meal from meat sources considered not appropriate for human consumption. Commercial dog foods may also use filler ingredients that do not have substantial nutritional benefit for the dog as well as other additives and preservatives.

By making your homemade dog food, you ensure that all the food is the best quality you can find and can avoid fillers and preservatives.

Advantages of Homemade Dog Food

With high quality, veterinarian approved commercial dog foods readily available, making your dog food may seem to be more trouble than its worth. But there are still some significant advantages to making your own. Nutritional homemade dog food is also beneficial for senior dogs.

Tailored for Your Dog

Making your dog’s food has the advantage of being tailored specifically for your dog’s tastes and needs. Do they have health problems that your vet recommends trying particular foods to help with? Is your dog a picky eater? By making your dog’s food at home, you can choose to feed foods that you know your dog will enjoy.

Variety in your dog’s diet

By cooking your dog’s food at home, you can more easily introduce new foods in smaller, more controllable portions. For example, you can make a recipe of dog food with chicken and sweet potato to eat one day of the week, and then make another recipe which contains salmon and peas. This way your dog enjoys a variety of different foods, helping to balance their overall diet.

Costs

The cost of homemade dog food will vary depending on the ingredients you put into it. In some cases, it can be less expensive per pound; however, this depends very much on the quality and quantity of ingredients you are using. For example, if you feed your dog mostly organic meats and vegetables, the cost per pound may exceed that of a premium commercial dog food.

Types of Homemade Dog Food

Dog food recipes vary as widely as human recipes. Pet parents can assemble dog food via cooked or raw ingredients.

Cooked dog food

Home cooked homemade dog food is food that is cooked at home, prepared especially for dogs. These include dog-safe human grade cooked meats, vegetables, fruits, and grains, in recipes balanced for a dog’s nutritional needs.

Raw feeding

Some pet parents choose to feed their dogs a raw diet. Biologically Appropriate Raw Food (BARF) and the Prey Model Raw Food (PMRF) are two popular forms of raw feeding. These diets revolve around uncooked meats including organ meats, bones, and sometimes fruits and vegetables.

Raw feeding is popular among pet owners. However, mainstream veterinarians or the Food and Drug Administration do not advocate raw feeding due to concerns about bacteria in uncooked meats and choking hazards on bones.

What to Add to Homemade Dog Food

dog eating homemade dog food

Before you transition your dog to a homemade diet, consult your veterinarian about any health and food concerns you may have. Your vet should be able to tell you what to look for and avoid in recipes for your pet.

Protein

Dog food recipes generally call for lean protein. You can vary the type of protein depending on what your dog likes; where that protein comes from depends on your dog’s tastes and dietary needs. Examples of meat choices include chicken breast, pork loin, lean ground beef, and venison.

Whatever meat you choose, trim the excess fat and remove the bones from whatever protein you are preparing for your dog's dinner. Organ meats such as liver and heart are excellent additions to their nutritional content.

Eggs and dairy products such as yogurt and kefir can also be added to a dog’s diet though some dogs may be lactose intolerant. If your dog is lactose intolerant, you can use goat’s milk products.

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates for dog food can come from vegetables, fruits, or grains. Starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes, pumpkin, and beans are nutritious for dogs. Dogs can also eat grains like quinoa, oatmeal, and rice.

Be careful to ensure that carbohydrates do not make up more than 50 percent of your dog’s food.

Fat and fatty acids

Fats are a source of energy and support other body functions like vitamin absorption. You need to make sure your dog food includes the right types of fat in the right amounts. Dogs need essential fatty acids such as Omega 3s and Omega 6s. You can ensure that your dog’s food includes these by adding whole fish such as sardines or salmon to their diet.

If your homemade dog food does not include Omega 3 rich fatty fish like sardines, consider adding a supplement such as cod liver oil or fish oil.

Other nutrients

Unlike commercially prepared food, homemade dog food may be lacking in particular nutrients that are essential for a dog’s health. Calcium is an essential nutrient for dogs. You can add calcium by adding calcium-rich foods like sardines, spinach, or cottage cheese. You can also use a calcium supplement. Ask your vet for the proper dosage for your pet.

Foods NOT to Feed Your Dog

Food not for dogs

There are some foods that dogs should NEVER eat because they are toxic to them. Your homemade dog food should never include onions, garlic, chocolate, grapes or raisins, and macadamia nuts. Do not add extra salt or sugar to your dog’s food. Never include cooked bones in your dog’s food. Cooked bones can splinter and become a choking and intestinal blockage risk.

Be careful of how much fat is in your dog’s food. Too much fat in a dog’s diet can cause pancreatitis, an inflammation of the pancreas.

Homemade Dog Food Recipes

To get you started, here are some great homemade dog food recipes.

DIY homemade dog food

  • 1 ½ cups brown rice
  • One tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 pounds ground turkey
  • 3 cups baby spinach, chopped
  • Two shredded carrots
  • One shredded zucchini
  • Check
    ½ cup peas

This dog food recipe from Damn Delicious is a 50/25/25 mix of protein, vegetables, and grains. Cook brown rice according to package directions and set aside. Heat oil in a large pan and brown the ground turkey. When you brow the turkey, add the vegetables and stir-fry until the spinach is wilted and vegetables are cooked. Mix with the brown rice. Let cool thoroughly before serving.

Homemade Pet Loaf

  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • ½ cup carrots, chopped
  • ½ cup peas
  • ½ cup oats
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 hard-boiled eggs

This dog-friendly meatloaf from PopSugar is full of delicious ingredients your pet is sure to love. Mix the turkey, carrots, peas, oats, and raw eggs. Press half of the mixture into a greased loaf pan and line up the boiled eggs in the center of the loaf. Cover with the rest of the meat mixture. Bake in a preheated 350F for 45 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely before serving to your pets.

Proper Storage of Prepared Food

After you have prepared your dog food, let it cool completely before storing. For ease of serving, separate your cooked food into portions in either plastic containers or plastic zip-top bags. You can either put these in the refrigerator or the freezer.

If you store your dog food in the refrigerator, use within three days to ensure freshness. If you freeze your dog food, place in the fridge to thaw safely the night before you plan to feed it to your dog.

Doggy Bag

Homemade dog food is an excellent way to help ensure that your dog is eating the best food you can give them. By talking with your vet to make sure that your dog food recipes and supplements help meet your dog’s nutritional needs, mealtime becomes another way to show just how much you love them.

Happy Dog, Happy Life

So, what are you waiting for? Make the switch and starting creating your dog's food at home. Not only will they be happy to have a home cooked meal, but you will know exactly what is in their food. You will never again have to worry if your pet's food is unsafe. And they will love you even more than they already do when they take a bite.