Exploring Essential Dog Food

What are Essential Foods about?

As a nutritionist, it’s not often I can say a brand fascinates me. However, Essential Pet Foods does just that. Founder Christian Degner-Elsner is highly experienced in the pet food industry and created Essential Pet Food shortly after selling Scandinavia’s largest privately owned pet food company. It comes as no surprise when I see dog food companies making claims about the physical health benefits to their food, but Essential considers this the bare minimum.

Instead, they sought to create food that didn’t just nourish your dog’s physical health, but their mental health and behaviour too. They termed this the BOF (Behavioural Optimising Foods) Principle, creating meals that reflect the natural diet and eating habits of the dog and, in doing so, stabilising the blood sugar levels, creating less drastic peaks and troughs in energy.

 In this Brand Spotlight, we’ll be exploring the range in detail. If you’re looking for food for your healthy adult dog, check out The Living Range. For puppy and senior food, read the Lifestage Tailored Nutrition section. Perhaps you’re just looking for some treats and chews? Scroll to the bottom of the article for information on which will suit your dog best!

The Essential Range

The Living Range

Prepared with Norfolk Black Turkey, Aberdeen Angus Beef, Pigeon, Partridge, Wild Duck and Scottish Salmon, it’s not hard to see why Essential Highland Living is our Nutritionist’s favourite pick of the Essential Range. We know feeding a variety of proteins is important for your dog's gut health, but we must ensure high quality of the protein too. Essential’s focus on QSE (quality, service and enthusiasm to improve) highlights their dedication to just that.

If you’re looking for less varied proteins or your dog struggles with lamb, beef or pork intolerances, try Essential Nautical Living. A purely seafood based meal for your dog, Essential Nautical Living has an incredible Omega 3 content, being the obvious choice for senior dogs or dogs who are struggling to maintain coat condition.

Further demonstrating their dedication to QSE is Essential Superior Living, a recipe consisting of purely cage-free Cobb Chicken and Gressingham Duck. The lowest carbohydrate option on the Essential Living Menu, Essential Superior Living is one of our most palatable offerings.

Last but by no means least, Essential Estate Living contains over 70% fresh British Lamb, Ross Chicken and Fallow Venison, with seasonal berries and herbs from Mulberries to Ginseng. The entire Living Range is BOF approved, ensuring the stability of your dogs blood sugar levels. It’s also cooked at a lower temperature of 90 degrees, keeping all the goodness thoroughly locked in.

Tailored Nutrition


Did you know small and large breed puppies have slightly different nutritional requirements? Essential does, which is why they formulated two different foods for just that. Essential Large Breed The Beginning & Essential Small Breed The Beginning are tailored to the unique needs of small and large breed puppies, with more carefully managed calcium to phosphorus ratios supporting those bigger boned puppies and higher nutrient density for small stomachs!


While Essential has specially formulated senior dog food, our Nutritionist here at YDC says a number of meals from the Essential Range are suitable to feed to your senior dog. But let’s talk about the targeted formula Essential Older first! Essential Older is one of the higher protein offerings while being lower in fat, supporting ageing muscles without risking GI upset. We’d also recommend Essential Nautical Living and Essential Contour for senior dogs!


Along with their Living & Life Stage Ranges, Essential also stocks some more specialist foods. These are suitable for most dogs, so don’t feel your dog must fit into the category to eat it. The formulation of Essential Stamina, Balance & Contour are specially targeted towards particular lifestyles and conditions for your dog. Let’s take a look!

The lowest in protein of the Essential Range, Balance is multi-functional - suitable for those in need of lower protein and dogs who are suffering from allergies. In either case, Essential Balance can be an excellent option, consisting of one protein and three carbohydrate sources.

Designed especially for the working dog and those leading demanding lifestyles, Essential Stamina is a high energy density food with a focus on quality protein & fat - the preferred energy source for working dogs. This food also has one of the highest nutrient density and lowest fibre contents of the Essential Range, ensuring rapid and optimal nutrient absorption, making it also suitable for dogs who are picky eaters and don’t eat much.

On the other end of the spectrum is Essential Contour, a food targeted towards weight loss by higher fibre content and reduced nutrient density. This double-barrelled approach increases fullness and satiety in your dog, with fibre slowing down digestion and reduced nutrient density enabling your pet to eat their usual amounts without gaining weight - no more cutting out meals!

Omega 3

Essential Pet Foods doesn’t just end their line at high-quality meals for your dog, they also produce their own Norweigan Salmon Oil packed full of Omega 3.

But what’s the big deal about Omega 3?

Omega 3 is a polyunsaturated fatty acid with amazing anti-inflammatory properties. Modern diets,  both human and animal, are often too high in Omega 6, a pro-inflammatory polyunsaturated fatty acid.

Essential Pet Food has excellent Omega 6:3 ratios, getting the balance just right for all life stages. We can’t always say the same for other pet foods, this is where Essential Omega 3 Oil comes in, just ½ tsp per 10kg bodyweight daily will balance Om6:3 ratio’s, improving your dog’s health to no end.


Did you know Essential also has an impressive range of dog treats to suit all of your needs? Whether you’re in need of small training treat bites like the Duck, Salmon and Lamb Mini Delights, jackpot treats to reward an amazing recall like the Tiny Fish Delights or a more long-lasting chew like Beef Skin Delights, Essential has something for your dog.


Author: Chloe Fuller, Canine Nutritionist


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