Free Shipping starting at $69* View Details.

What's the best food you can feed your dog?

What's the best food you can feed your dog?

At Critters we recommend foods based on ingredients we believe this is the best way of choosing a healthy pet food. Any company is able to put the words natural, healthy etc. on the front of the bag but proving it by the ingredient list is the most important part. The food cannot be better than what is in it, the ingredients... they're what make a food.

There are 6 main categories of pet food we see in the pet food industry. The 6 categories are Grocery (we do not carry or recommend), Premium Kibble (Satori, Boka), Oven-Fresh (Vintage), Canned, Dehydrated and Raw. It's important to know which of these categories fit your lifestyle, budget, convenience and time constraints best. Read our blog "The 6 Types of Pet Food" for an in depth look into each category.

Grocery Kibble
This category of pet food is commonly found in grocery stores at a lower cost and typically includes ingredients, such as fillers like corn, wheat, soy, and meat by-products, which we wouldn't recommend.

Premium Kibble
The most commonly chosen method of feeding pets primarily for its convenience. The quality of dog and cat food kibble can significantly differ based on the ingredients listed and the pet food manufacturer. We recommend premium pet foods with more meat and whole ingredients that are made in Canada with quality ingredients.

Shop our Premium Kibble here.

Oven-Fresh - Home made style pet food
A more economical choice compared to raw food, especially when emphasizing Fresh Meat. It's among the latest categories, prepared in an oven resembling those found in households. This technique boasts superior nutrient preservation due to its gentle food preparation method, avoiding multiple atmospheric pressures encountered in extruded foods. Typically, these foods are produced in small batches, taking significantly longer (up to 5-10 times) to prepare.

Shop our Oven Fresh here.

Canned Pet Food
Canned food is commonly utilized to stimulate appetite and introduce more moisture into a pet's diet. The quality of canned food can significantly differ based on the ingredients listed and the pet food company.

Shop our Canned Food here.

Dehydrated (Air-Dried, Freeze Dried)
An excellent substitute for frozen raw pet food due to its minimal processing. These pet foods remove moisture through methods like air-drying or freeze-drying. While a beneficial way to feed your pet, its feasibility often depends on budget limitations. You can integrate this diet as a supplement or blend it into your pet's regular food to provide them with the advantages of raw-like nutrition in their everyday meals.

Shop our Dehydrated Food here.

Raw Dog and Cat Food
Feeding your pet a natural diet resembling how their ancestors would eat in the wild, such as raw feeding, is considered optimal. However, it should align with your budget and lifestyle, especially considering the handling of raw meat (for instance, it might pose challenges in households with children). Quality varies among raw food brands, emphasizing the significance of selecting a reputable company that uses CFIA inspected meats, provides a guaranteed analysis and uses an ingredient list on the label. Some brands might exhibit a less vibrant color in the thawed meat, unlike the usual freshness of your own meat. Additionally, comparing the inclusion rate of vegetables, fruits, and other ingredients among different brands is also important to note.

Shop our Raw Food here.

Preferred Ingredients

  • Prioritize named meats like Chicken Meal, Fresh Turkey, Lamb Meal, Fresh Salmon, Salmon Meal, etc.
  • Steer clear of any meat by-products (such as Chicken by-products or any ingredient labeled with the term 'by-product').
  • Opt for whole grain carbs and vegetables (e.g., Potato, Peas, Brown Rice, Oatmeal, etc.) rather than processed grains.
  • Avoid ingredients like Corn Gluten Meal, Brewers Rice, Tomato Pomace, Brewers Yeast, Beet Pulp, Rye Flour, Oat Flour, Rice Bran, Rice Flour, Potato Flour, Pea Fiber, Pea Protein, Pea Starch, Lentil Fiber (Exclude any plant protein, starch, fiber, or flour concentrates).
  • We never recommend foods containing any form of Corn, Wheat, or Soy (Soybean) in their ingredients.
  • Choose named fats/oils such as Chicken Fat, Canola Oil, Sunflower Oil, and Herring Oil.
  • Refrain from unnamed and generic fats (like Animal Fat, Poultry Fat, etc.) 

Prebiotics and Probiotics

Every high-quality pet food should include at least prebiotics in their formulas to support pets' digestion. Moreover, top-tier foods should incorporate probiotics to enhance both the pet's immune system and digestion.

Choosing Canadian

Canadian manufacturers of dog food follow stringent quality control standards and regulations. These rigorous criteria guarantee that the ingredients utilized in Canadian pet foods meet exacting safety guidelines and boast top-tier quality. Opting for Canadian pet foods instills confidence in the meticulous quality assurance procedures applied during production, mitigating the potential for recalls due to contaminants or inferior ingredients. Read our blog "Why choose a natural Canadian pet food?" to get a in-depth understanding of Canadian manufacturing regulations, benefits and terms.

Conclusion

Our recommendation for pet foods relies heavily on ingredients, considering it the most reliable method for selecting a nutritious pet diet. While companies often label their products as "natural" or "healthy," verifying these claims through the ingredient list holds utmost significance. The quality of the food is ultimately defined by its ingredients; they constitute the essence of a pet food's nutritional value.

Our Top Picks

Vintage

The Vintage way of feeding your dog occurred naturally before they were part of our households. In their natural habitat, the canine would hunt and thrive on a meat based diet in the raw form. Vintage Pet Food is packed with Butcher Shoppe fresh meat then balanced with Nutritious Whole Ingredients and Market Fresh Produce so it can be fed as a complete diet. We only blend first class ingredients from certified suppliers and inspected facilities. We make sure our premium meats are both hormone and antibiotic free which you can feel confident feeding your best friend. Our goal is to provide nutritious foods to help nourish your pet’s soul with every bowl.

Oven Fresh

Take a step closer to raw with vintage oven-fresh pet food. The unique pieces have a distinct look, aroma and flavour. After opening the bag you will notice grill marks from the oven, a fresh smell and no greasy feel; much different than conventional extruded kibble. There are no rendered fats applied to enhance flavour; your pet naturally loves Vintage since it is full of fresh meat. Try this next generation pet food, your pet will enjoy each meal as if it were a treat.

Shop Vintage Oven Fresh here.

Raw

Vintage's simple fresh frozen complete diets include:

  • Butcher Shoppe Canadian Meats that are Hormone & Antibiotic Free made with our tripartite-grind technique that results in a consistent fine ground bone
  • SuperFood Produce Veggies including Collard Greens, Broccoli, Zucchini & Carrots made with our binary-grind technique for maximum nutrient absorption
  • Balanced with Kelp to make Vintage a complete diet ready to feed

Shop Vintage Raw here.

All of our natural recipes have been formulated by an experienced Animal Nutritionist with following education and credentials:
• Hons BSc Animal Biology, Minor in Nutrition
• MSc in Animal Nutrition
• 10+ years experience in Formulation, Ingredient Sourcing, Product Development and Quality Assurance

Satori

Satori is the first and only Domestic Appropriate pet food on the market, made right here in Canada since 2010. Our healthy recipes have a logical philosophy which considers two important factors, the pet’s anatomy and modern lifestyle. Canines and Felines, like the wolf and wildcat, have digestive systems designed to efficiently process meat therefore our recipes are grain free and include fresh proteins! We then took it a step further by understanding that pets’ caloric needs are not the same as their wild ancestors since they do not travel 20-25km per day hunting and chasing down prey. Our pets instead have the luxury of their food being served to them and exercise through less demanding forms by enjoying regular walks or visiting the dog park. These differences are the reason we adjusted the nutrition to fit their domestic lifestyle which consists of living in houses and backyards.

All of our natural recipes have been formulated by an experienced Animal Nutritionist with following education and credentials:
• Hons BSc Animal Biology, Minor in Nutrition
• MSc in Animal Nutrition
• 10+ years experience in Formulation, Ingredient Sourcing, Product Development and Quality Assurance

Shop Satori here.

Boka

Boka is crafted with the desire to fuel your pet’s healthy way of life. Proudly produced in Canada since 2010, our recipe features high quality ingredients including Chicken Meal, Pork Meal and whole grains that provide vital nutrients in every bite. Boka supplies superior nutrition at a value that cannot be matched, found only at your trusted neighbourhood pet store.

All of our natural recipes have been formulated by an experienced Animal Nutritionist with following education and credentials:
• Hons BSc Animal Biology, Minor in Nutrition
• MSc in Animal Nutrition
• 10+ years experience in Formulation, Ingredient Sourcing, Product Development and Quality Assurance

Shop Boka here.

Acana and Orijen

We make Biologically Appropriate dog and cat foods from Fresh Regional Ingredients and we make them from start to finish in our very own award-winning kitchen. Our mission represents a new standard in pet food, designed to nourish your dog or cat completely. First, according to their natural evolution for a meat- and protein-rich diet. Second, using meats, poultry, eggs, and fish that are ranched, farmed, or fished by trusted suppliers and delivered to our kitchen fresh or raw.

Shop Acana here.

Shop Orijen here.