Feeding your dog with high-quality, well-balanced food is one of the best things you, as a pet owner, can do to keep your dog safe. The proper diet makes the dog's fur coat shiny and elegant, strengthens the immune system, and keeps the digestive tract in good shape. Yet when it comes to picking dog food, the choices seem almost infinite.
Tips on Choosing The Right Dog Food
Get informed about dog diet options.
Many materials are available online about the canine diet. Use caution when taking online tips since not all the material you find is accurate. Some pages are more accurate than others. However, the veterinarian is still the right resource for you. If you ever have concerns and issues about feeding your dog, you may want to have a referral to a veterinary nutritionist.
In general, commercial dog food options fall into the following categories:
- Holistic and natural commercial diet
- Diets with veterinary medication
- Food for luxury dog
- Economics and generic dog food
- A whole meal prepared by diet
- Raw food or the BARF diet
Many commercial diets are typically available in rainy or dry conditions. Some of them even come in a dehydrated shape to add water before eating. Decide which type is ideally suited to your dog, then start investigating food providers. Don't hesitate to consult your vet.
Some people tend to skip consumer foods and make their dog's meals at home. Dog food recalls have made some people reluctant to eat commercial dog food, regardless of cost. However, preparing your dog's food from scratch takes consideration to make sure it is complete and healthy.
Know what are the components of the right dog food.
The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) has developed guidelines for regulators to regulate the statements that a pet food manufacturer can make on its label.
If a product is said to contain a single ingredient, it must have at least 95% of that ingredient, not counting water. If advertising a mixture of ingredients, it must make up at least 95% of the food. For example, whether the product appears to be made entirely from beef makes up 95% of the food.
Phrases such as dinner, dishes, and appetizers mean the food must contain at least 25% of the ingredient called. If the name says "with" a particular component (such as "with cheese"), only 3% of the stated element is needed. Items that sell unique "flavors" must contain only a measurable quantity of that ingredient.
Read labels and their ingredients.
Next, take a peek at the list of ingredients. Bear in mind that the elements are often given vary in weight. Ingredients containing significant quantities of moisture, such as meat, pork, chicken, or fish, are expected to be first on the list due to moisture content. Ingredients farther down the list still provide more fundamental components, such as proteins, but may weigh less with dry pet food.
The Association of American Feed Control Officers (AAFCO) has built profiles for dog and puppy feeding. These details can indicate the food quality but beware: labeling can be misleading. Only because food satisfies the requirements of AAFCO doesn't mean that it's the right food for your dog. Look for food producers that exceed the AAFCO requirements that use high-quality ingredients. Choose meat-based foods listed as the first two or three ingredients. Stop foods that contain excess artificial preservatives and high quantities of fillers such as maize, corn, and soya.
Think of gluten and grains when choosing dog food.
Many of the disputes concerning pet food include the use of grains, gluten, and by-products. Grains are found in many pet foods to provide an excellent source of starch. Dogs can readily metabolize and use these carbohydrates as an energy supply. Some people, however, tend to avoid grains in their dog's diet. Avoiding grains for dogs that are allergic to them is a valid option. However, allergies to other foods, including beef, are much more common than allergies to grains.
Gluten allergies are widespread in humans, and many pet owners prefer gluten-free food for their pets, assuming that the same is true for canine animals. However, gluten allergies are infrequent in dogs.
Research more about by-products.
Pet foods called by-products are highly digestible and healthy tissues, such as the liver and lungs. They don't have stuff like feathers, horns, or hooves, as promotional gimmicks may have made you think. It is a fallacy that by-products are "unfit" for human consumption, although it is accurate that they are less common additives for human food in the United States. Much of the meat we consume comes from skeletal muscle rather than organic meat and other by-products.
Reputable dog food suppliers select premium by-products with their food to choose a brand you can trust.
Ask people about food for dogs.
When you've done your homework and settled on a generic food group, ask others about their feedback on particular products or recipes. Your veterinarian is a perfect place to get started. It would help if you also spoke to dog breeders, coaches, and groomers for more thoughts. Your local pet store can also be of assistance, mainly if it is a smaller, independent store with top-quality diets. Educated pet practitioners will give you their advice, but note that not all experts agree on canine feeding. The same goes for relating to other owners of dogs. Be prepared to receive contradictory advice, so take the details and study it on your own. Bear in mind that different dogs can respond differently to the same food. Using the knowledge you obtain to limit your options further, note that thoughts are not evidence.
6 Easy Steps in Choosing Dog Food
Dogs are not strict carnivores, unlike cats. Though meat is the bulk of their diet, domestic dogs may also extract nutrients from nuts, fruits, and vegetables. These non-meat foods are not only fillers but can be a good source of essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Healthy dog food can contain beef, vegetables, grains, and fruit. The right dog food includes high-quality variants of these foods that are suitable for your dog's digestive system.
Consider the age, activity, breed, and reproductive state of your dog.
Your dog's physical features, temperament, and general health are highly critical when selecting the best dog food. Puppies and lactating moms need more calories a day, while older pets need less. Similarly, highly active dogs require more calories than couch potato breeds – the quality and quantity of food adequately eaten can help your dog prevent health complications due to obesity.
Few brands make breed-based foods, but most can only differentiate between small breed formulas and large breed formulas. The variations here primarily refer to the kibble size, but your dog must be able to eat quickly and safely.
Know the "buzz words" for product packaging.
Will you assume that the box's accurate wording is a HOW MUCH code for any protein present in the food? Simple names like "Beef for Dogs" or "Chicken Dog Food" suggest that the protein in question is 95% of the overall commodity, not counting the water content. With the inclusion of water, the results are 70 percent needed.
The key term "dinner" is another good indicator; foods branded as "Chicken Stew Dinner" and "Salmon Dinner for Dogs" contain just 25% of the protein. The same law extends to words such as 'platter,' 'entree,' 'nuggets' and 'formula.' Where there are multiple products on the bottle, ingredients must add all of them to make up 25% of the overall effect.
When you see the terms "with cheese," "with salmon," or "with" something, the food must contain just 3% of the ingredient. For example, if the dry dog food label says "Chicken Dinner for Dogs" and adds "with cheese," it includes 25% chicken and 3% cheese.
Finally, if the product says that it is "beef taste" or "chicken taste," it only needs trace quantities of beef or chicken – only enough for a dog to detect the scent.
Learn how to read the ingredients.
Bear in mind that the package lists ingredients depending on weight and that beef or meat meals first, so they have high water content. Choose a beef or meat meal as the first ingredient. Dogs are omnivores and can be served vegetarian meals only in severe conditions.
"Meat" can include the skeletal muscle of the animal as well as the tissue of the heart, diaphragm, and esophagus, among other items. It may also contain fat and gristle, just as meat meant for human consumption may be. "Meat by-product," on the other hand, is a non-rendered component of an animal without meat, which can contain lungs, kidneys, intestine, blood, bone, and more. By-products tested by stringent AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officers) do NOT have feathers, horns, teeth, or hooves. "Meat meal" describes any food manufactured from animal tissues.
Often, make sure that the first ingredient is not a food, tuber, or vegetable, such as ground corn. Only because corn (when ground) is digestible does not mean that it has an excellent nutritional value. Corn has an insufficient protein and unimpressive vitamin and mineral content, and the only reason that marketers boast about this carbohydrate is that it is cheap. Corn is by no definition "bad" for dogs – don't fall for ads that emphasize its nutritional benefits.
Determine whether the grain-free food is suitable for your dog.
If you find you ought to turn to a grain-free diet or believe the Fido has a food allergy, seeing the doctor is an excellent idea. Grains are not dangerous for dogs because they have a severe allergy, and sometimes you will avoid higher price tags that follow these formulations.
Don't you wonder whether the dog has food allergies or intolerance? Excessive licking of your hands, itching, vomiting, or diarrhea can be symptoms, and a vet can help you find the solution. And with a reported allergy, it is always the main protein of the diet (such as chicken or beef) that induces it, not the carbohydrates. Before buying into the hysteria – which involves gluten-free dog food, too – remember your dog's needs as a person.
Confirm the declaration of nutritional adequacy.
Usually, but with the majority of the dietary details on a bag or can, the declaration of adequacy might mean, "provides complete and balanced nutrition for the maintenance of adult dogs," or "all life stages" or "puppies." You get the picture. Often search for the AAFCO statement on the back; membership is voluntary by organizations, but the quality requirements of AAFCO mean that there is a nutritional benefit.
Do your homework on your preferred item.
After all the nit-picking, you've now selected a food brand that you think your dog would enjoy. It is just as critical now that you do some homework on the producer to ensure quality management and a sufficient supply of materials. You don't have to mention this stuff on the box, so it's up to you to give yourself some peace of mind.
Buying better dog food ensures that you're usually buying better ingredients for your dog, and that will lead to better health. It generally means that you're going to make fewer visits with your dog to the vet. While some excellent foods cost less, some pricey foods don't live up to their costs. You need to think about the ingredients and what to look for before recognizing certain foods.