We’ve received some interesting questions over the past months from dog lovers, and we noticed that a lot of them dealt with dog food. So we asked Katy Mejillano of Pet Lines, which manufactures Yum Yum Dog Food, to help us answer these questions; we also have the practical advice of hobbyist Arjan Cheng (who previously wrote about storing dog food) for you to consider.

Q: What should a dog owner look for in dog food?

A: You need to choose which type is best for your lifestyle and that of your dog first. Arjan outlined the three types of dog food: dry, wet, and raw. Dry food is convenient―easy to prepare, less messy, and easily stored―often the cheapest, and doesn’t spoil easily.

The wet type is often processed and contains more moisture, protein, and fat. “Given its form, dogs will require more of it,” Arjan notes; thus it may be more expensive. He cautions, “If your dog does not finish wet food off immediately, it can and will spoil easily. Bacterial contamination is the main cause of spoilage for canned wet dog food.

Once opened, it is best to let the dog finish it all. If unfinished, you can transfer it to a sealed plastic container and store it in the freezer but it cannot be kept for a long time. Approximately 1 to 2 months’ storage is optimal.” The most expensive, Arjan says, “…is the ‘natural’ or raw diet,” often fed by those “…who believe it is better to feed your dog fresh meat in order to replicate the food that they eat in the wild.” It’s derived from food prepared and fit for human consumption such as market grade beef, pork, lamb, and goat meat.

Next, it is important for dog owners to know what your dogs need, says Katy. “The factors to consider are the age, breed, body condition, and activity level of the dogs. Dog owners should check the crude protein content of dog food. For example, Yum Yum Dog Food Adult, which has 21% crude protein, is specially formulated for dogs 12 months and older in age and for large breed dogs, while Yum Yum Dog Food Hi Protein with 27% crude protein is suited for small breeds, high-energy dogs, and even puppies,” she explains.

Q: A lot of us travel with our pets—driving to the park or mall with them, or taking road trips with our dogs. Of course we observe safety precautions like never leaving our dogs in the car even for a moment, and making sure they only exit our vehicles on a leash, but we don’t find a lot of tips about how to safely carry dog food when we travel with our dogs. Should we invest in special carrying cases or containers for dog food?

A: “When traveling with your pets, it is advisable to bring not only dog food but also water,” says Katy. We agree, and to that, we add that you may want to consider investing in one of those portable water containers that can fold out into a drinking trough and fold away into what looks like a slim case for an ordinary water bottle. This way, your dog enjoys fresh, clean water, and you lessen the risk of him or her ingesting water with pollutants or other things that can make him or her sick.

As for carrying dog food, dry food can be placed in a clean and airtight container to ensure its freshness, Katy says. Just don’t leave such food in a hot car. Arjan explains, “The proper storage of your dog food will mean the difference in nutrition for your dog. Dog food must be properly stored in a dry, cool place away from direct sunlight.

The reason for this is because dog food, however processed and artificial, is still organic, and anything that is organic, is subject to oxidation and bacterial contamination and spoilage.” When you travel with your dog, what you carry will have to be dry dog food, for the most part, as wet dog food does not travel well and in the notorious heat of our country, it is more likely to spoil quickly. If you are willing, you can consider investing in a mini-cooler or ice chest (stocked with ice) for carrying wet or fresh food on longer trips. Or you can buy food in an easy-open can and carry a collapsible bowl and feed your dog from there.

If your dog does not finish his or her portion of wet dog food, it’s not recommended to store the leftovers and offer it again later. (You’ll read why in the answer to the next question) “For owners who like to travel with their dogs, and these dogs have a special diet, it will be beneficial to buy special carrying cases for the food that will fit nicely in their car or in their luggage,” Katy adds.

Q: How much should I feed my dog every day?

A: When feeding your dog, you have to consider the body weight of the dog. A medium to large sized dog weighing about 21-50 pounds or lbs (10 to 23 kilograms or kg) should be fed 2 1/2 cups to 4 cups per day, says Katy. Don’t fall prey to your dog begging for more food; obesity can hurt your dog and even kill it.

Stick to a regular feeding schedule so that he or she learns when it’s time to eat and to control his or her appetite otherwise. Remember to adjust the food portions, though, if your dog is more active than usual or pregnant; ask your veterinarian for the best quantity to feed.

Q: When is it better to feed a dog wet food, and when is it better to feed it dry food? Or is a combination of the two better?

A: According to Katy, “Dry dog food is specially formulated to give the balanced nutrition needed by dogs. Wet dog food is usually given to dogs that do not have an appetite or are picky eaters.”

She adds, “What is good about Yum Yum Dog Food, it has flavor peptides and B complex that makes the dog food flavorful and boosts the appetite of your dog.”

A word of caution: resist the urge to feed your dog human food off the table. Human food is more flavorful and as a result, your dog may wind up preferring it to the food which is prepared with canine nutritional needs in mind. This can lead to kidney and other diseases and problems.

This appeared in Animal Scene’s June 2015 issue. No author was credited.