corgi in front of vital essentials frozen dog food

Whether it’s a fresh kale salad or a plate of heart-healthy salmon, it’s undeniable—when you eat right, you feel good. That same principle applies to our dogs. If you’re overwhelmed by the number of dog food choices, here’s a helpful guide to shopping for healthy dog food.

1. Look for products that are USA-sourced, made and packed

Apart from supporting our national economy, food that is made here in the US is less likely to include harmful ingredients, thanks to robust federal regulations from organizations like the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO).

For us, “made in the USA” means that all our ingredients are sourced here, and we make 100% of our own food right here in Green Bay, Wisconsin (Go Pack!) There are no third-party processors, co-packers or other organizations we answer to. Our manufacturing and freeze-drying is done locally and our finished products are stored right here in Wisconsin. 

2. Pick food, treats and snacks that match your dog’s age and activity level

Many dog food makers offer unique products for different age ranges, like puppy, adult and mature. Puppies need more calories, protein and fat while they’re developing, while adult dogs don’t need as many calories. 

If you’re buying for a puppy, perhaps consider our VE RAW BAR Bully Sticks—they’re nice and chewy for teething. Or, if you’re buying for an older pup, try our Pig Snouts. They encourage joint health in dogs, which is essential as they age.

Unsure what to buy? Don’t worry. All our frozen and freeze-dried foods are great for dogs of any age because we believe dogs deserve complete, balanced nutrition no matter their life stage. 

3. Opt for no added hormones

Added hormones can cause medical issues like hyperthyroidism in your canine companion, so look for pet foods with no added hormones when you’re shopping. 

4. Choose food with no fillers

By “fillers,” we mean extra ingredients added to dog food to pump up product weight and volume without adding any nutritional benefits. That’s a no-no! 

5. Select nutrient-dense food

Dogs need protein and essential vitamins and minerals, making a raw pet food diet ideal. It provides the protein and nutrients they need in a tasty, satisfying package they’ll love. If you want an extra nutritional boost, check out our FUSION frozen dog food. It fuses the power of raw protein with superfoods like apple, squash, carrot, blueberry and broccoli! FUSION comes in beef and chicken flavors, so there’s something yummy for every pup. 

6. Avoid artificial preservatives and coloring

We see all kinds of “no preservatives” and “no added coloring” labels in the grocery store, and this same concern for choosing healthy food extends to our furry family members, of course. It’s suggested that continuous feeding of preservative-laden foods with artificial colors can lead to health problems. Ultimately, your dog doesn’t care what color their food is.

7. Prioritize freshness using frozen and freeze-dried dog food

Fresh food is always better and carries less risk of foodborne illness. Apart from fresh ingredients, packaging is vitally important to ensuring the delivery of fresh, safe and marketable raw pet food, treats and snacks to our customers. That’s why we use custom processes to make our frozen and freeze-dried products, so that vital nutrients are locked in. When you buy Vital Essentials pet products, you know you’re getting the freshest food, treats and snacks possible.

8. Go for raw over processed

Processed dog foods can lead to allergies that manifest as ear and eye infections, skin issues, yeast infections, stomach problems and more. 

9. Shop for food that addresses their specific health needs

Does your pup have specific ailments? Look for healthy dog food options that alleviate these issues!

Are they sensitive to gluten? All our products are gluten-free. Do they have an itchy coat? Our Omega-3-rich fish-based foods (like our Salmon Mini Nibs) can help with that. Are they overweight? A lean raw diet, along with an active lifestyle, can solve that!

10. Most importantly, find healthy dog food that they love

Just like people can be picky eaters, the same challenges can affect your dog. That’s why it’s critical to choose a food that tastes great in addition to providing the nutrition they need. We’ll just let these reviews from pet parents speak for themselves. 

“I add the VE raw to their regular kibble & rotate the flavors. They both love the raw & will pick it out of their dishes, which should tell us parents something.” 

“My dogs love this food/treat. They are the perfect size, don’t leave a mess in my pocket or training pouch. My dogs visibly work harder when they know this is their reward.”

“My 1 yr. old collie mountain dog is picky with his food but he’ll eat this stuff consistently.”

Want to learn more about our healthy raw dog food? Discover the countless benefits of a raw pet diet, including improved dental health and allergy relief. 

And, when you’re ready to make a great choice for the health of your pet, our freeze-dried and frozen dog food, supplements, toppers and treats are made in the USA and created with optimal nutrition and freshness in mind. Find Vital Essentials near you!