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We know you love your dogs. One of the ways we show that love is finding the best dog food for our pets. It can seem like a daunting task to find a food that has the best quality ingredients, a food that your dog will enjoy, and also one that fits your budget! Purchasing good dog food doesn’t have to be expensive. If you follow our steps below, we’ll show you what to consider to find the best dog food.
Keep Your Dog’s Breed, Activity, Age in Mind
Knowing the physical aspects of your dog, his health, and temperament are key in order to ensure that your dog eats the right food. With new mothers and puppies, their calorie intake must be increased, while older dogs need a lot less food. Dog breeds that are a lot more active also need to have an increased amount of calories. This also applies to those of you that love to take your dog on long walks for training or leisure purposes. Giving your dog the right amount of food is paramount. This will allow your dog to maintain their health as they get older.
Read the Label Before Choosing the Best Dog Food
Before you choose the best food for your dog, make sure you understand what the packaging says. Don’t just read the list of ingredients, make sure you understand what those ingredients are. Just because a package says “beef” or “chicken” doesn’t mean there’s 100% of that meat included. If you add in the amount of added water, then you may only have about 70% of meat content.
Words like dinner, formula, nuggets, entree, and platter are things you need to look for on the packaging. They are known to have a protein content of up to 25%. Also, if multiple ingredients are present, the total amount must be at a 25% minimum for the product. If a package includes the word “with”, for example “with salmon” or “with cheese” then only 3% of those ingredients are necessary. For example, if a label lists both chicken and cheese, then it could contain just 25% of chicken and 3% of the cheese.
You also need to be aware that if your dog’s food says that it contains the “flavor” of chicken or beef, it only needs to have a trace of these flavors in order to be noticed by your dog.
Dog Food Ingredients
Every packaging contains a label that has ingredients listed by their weight. You’ll notice that the “meat” products are almost always listed first and the reason is that their weight contains a lot of water. This is why you should choose the “meat” type if it is listed first. That’s because dogs are omnivores and they should typically be fed a meat diet first unless a veterinarian says to feed them an alternate diet.
With meat products, these can easily involve animal muscle and other pieces like esophagus tissue, diaphragm tissue, and heart tissue. They can also have both gristle and fat similar to a human diet. By-products of an animal can also be added that come from bone, blood, brain, kidneys, or even the lungs. When a by-product is used it has to exclude hooves, teeth, horns, and hair because any and all by-products must come from the actual tissues of an animal.
Also, make sure that a vegetable, tuber, or grain is not the first listed ingredient. The reason is because of its low nutritional value as compared to meat ingredients. The high amount of vegetables also has a low amount of protein and its content of mineral and vitamins is substantially lower. When you see a manufacturer giving this type of ingredient praises it is usually because it didn’t cost them a lot of money to combine it into dog food. This doesn’t mean that corn or any other vegetable is bad, it’s just the advertising could be misleading you about the benefits of the nutrition.
See Your Vet if a Diet Change is Necessary
Deciding on a good diet for your dog can be difficult if food allergies are involved. You should always talk to your veterinarian when making decisions about your dog’s food and health. Of course, grains are good for a dog, but if your pooch has an allergy towards it, then you will be able to save some money associated with these as you change to an alternate formula.
If you are unsure of any food allergies, you can keep an eye out for a few symptoms like diarrhea, vomiting, scratching, or constantly licking their paws. A vet will be able to take samples to be for certain. Although an allergy may be confirmed, it is highly likely caused by a meat protein instead of a grain. This is why it is important to consider your dog’s needs prior to any food change.
Be Familiar with the Adequacy Statement
The adequacy statement can be found among the other listed nutrition on the package. You’ll notice it when you see something like the nutrition is balanced with the right nutrients and complete for dog maintenance or for all stages of life. Also, look for the statement from AAFCO. Membership is not required. However, it does ensure that high nutrition standards are in place. Once you have all of the ingredients figured out and you have researched the brand you’ll feel confident feeding your furry friend the best dog food.