How to Choose the Right Dog Food

How to Choose the Right Dog Food

Our designer dog bowls add style and finesse to your life, but what you put inside them is even more important. Today’s dog food market is over saturated with options and in a perfect world all dog food would be created equal, but it’s not. Instead dog owners are overwhelmed with options that all claim to be the best. It’s important to your dog’s health that you pay attention to what you’re buying and feeding them. Here are some tips to help you make the decision on what dog food is best for you and your pet.

Most people feed their dogs processed kibble or wet food. These processed foods might not be appealing to us, but they contain all of the nutrients dogs need to stay healthy. Most quality commercial foods are highly regulated and have undergone rigorous testing by veterinary specialists. So what exactly is in these foods?

Dogs, unlike cats, are not strict carnivores. While meat makes up the majority of their diet, domestic dogs also derive nutrients from grains, fruits, and vegetables. These non-meat foods are not simply fillers. They are a valuable source of essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber. A good dog food will contain meat, vegetables, grains, and fruits. The best dog foods contain high-quality versions of these ingredients that are appropriate for your dog’s digestive system.

The best dog food for your canine companion should meet their nutritional needs. While most commercial dog food brands are specially formulated with at least the minimum nutritional requirements for dogs, it is important to remember that not every dog has the same nutritional needs.

If your dog has an allergy of any kind or requires a special diet, the best advice will come from your veterinarian. As we said before, not all dog foods are created equal and not all of dog’s nutritional needs are created equal. When choosing a dog food, always listen to your vet’s recommendations.

So, what do you do when you’re at the store confronted by an aisle of options that all look the same on the outside? Read the labels! This can be confusing because of the way ingredients are listed as some are made to purposefully confuse you. So here are a few things to look out for on the packaging…

Choose a food with a meat or meat meal as the first ingredient. For example, if chicken fat is listed seventh, the ingredients prior to that are the major ingredients. Those after are secondary. Watch out for the names and description on the package of dog food. For instance, a product called “Doggy Dinner with Liver Flavoring” might have only a small amount of flavoring since a certain percentage is not required. Calculating the “real” amount of each guaranteed analysis can tricky. Manufacturers can be deceptive, using high quality ingredients that contain a lot of water and therefore save them money.

Other Tips

  • Avoid preservatives and additives – they have been shown to cause health problems in dogs.
    Look for Vitamin E and C; they are natural, healthful preservatives.
  • Look for Omega-3; it is good for your dog’s coat.
  • Some dog owners prefer to look for “human-grade” food in their dog food. This simply means the food is purchased from human-grade food facilities.
  • Look for natural and/or organic ingredients. A dog food package labeled “Natural” doesn’t mean it’s true.
  • Avoid corn, cornmeal, soy and wheat. These are difficult for dogs to digest and can cause allergies.
    Instead, choose your grains from barley, rolled oats, millet, quinoa, and brown rice.

 

 

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