Choosing the right food for your dog is important because it helps it stay healthy, strengthens its immune system, and maintains the well-being of its digestive system. Besides, choosing the right dog food and keeping a well-balanced diet will keep your dog’s fur coat shiny and healthy. Trying to find the perfect food for your dog can feel impossible.
This is why we set up a guide to help you find out which food is good for your dog.
KNOW YOUR DOG
The first step to finding the right dog food is getting to know your dog. Simple, right? When choosing dog food, you need to keep your dog’s age, level of activity, reproductive status, and breed in mind. You also need to assess its physical attributes and general health and behavior. These are all factors that will affect what types of food your dog should be eating.
For example, lactating dog mothers and puppies need more calories than senior dogs. Likewise, dog breeds that are generally more active need more calories than those who aren’t. Ensuring that your dog is getting the right amount and type of food is important because it helps maintain its physique and health. Some dog food brands make different types of food for different breeds, which affects kibble size and shape, allowing your dog to eat safely and at their own comfort.
KEYWORDS ON DOG FOOD LABELS
Most dog food brands will not directly state how much protein is in the food. However, according to the FDA analysis of pet food labels, the wording on food labels can convey protein levels. This applies to many countries, including the United Kingdom. Reviewers from Woof Bark Growl suggest purchasing dog food with high protein content.
For instance, a label that reads “Chicken Dog Food,” or “Beef for Dogs” signals that the food contains 95% protein without water content, and 70% protein with water added. The word “dinner” in “Salmon Dinner for Dogs” and “Chicken Stew Dinner” suggests that the food comprises 25% protein. This is also applicable for the words “formula,” “nuggets,” “entree,” and “platter.” The word “with” signals that the product only contains 3% of the following item. Lastly, the word “flavor” indicates that there is just enough of that food for its taste to be detectable.
READ THE INGREDIENTS
Choose dog food with meats as the first ingredient on the label list. This is because dog food label lists include ingredients with the highest water content at the top. Dogs need meat and shouldn’t follow a vegetarian diet unless their veterinarian suggests otherwise due to health issues. The ingredient “meat” suggests that this food contains animal parts like gristle and fat, and tissue from the esophagus, heart, or diaphragm. “Meat-by-product” signals the brain, kidneys, lungs, bones, and blood. “Meat meal” can include any product derived from animal tissues. Don’t buy dog food with vegetables, tubers, or grains as a first ingredient. This is because many manufacturers choose to use ingredients like corn. After all, they are relatively cheap. However, corn is very low in protein and has low nutritional value. It is also low in mineral and vitamin content. It will not harm your dog, but it will not be necessarily beneficial for it.
DOES YOUR DOG HAVE FOOD ALLERGIES?
If you suspect that your dog has food allergies, take them to the vet. If it turns out that it does, it may need to follow a grain-free diet. Generally speaking, grains aren’t bad for dogs unless they have allergies. If you find that your dog is licking its paws excessively, vomiting, scratching, or has diarrhea, it may have food allergies. Though, usually, most food allergies result from proteins and not grains, including gluten-free foods. Each dog is different, which is why you need to take it to the veterinarian for confirmation.
NUTRITIONAL ADEQUACY STATEMENT
You should always check for an AAFCO, or an Association of American Feed Control Officials, statement at the back of the food package. This would ensure that the food brand follows high AAFCO standards. The nutritional adequacy statement would state that it contains sufficient and balanced nutritional value for puppies/ adults/ all life stages.
Now that you’ve followed all the above steps and settled on a brand, it is time for some research. Not all brands list manufacturers and product sourcing on labels. To ensure quality control, you should look up the brand’s manufacturer and research it, and make sure that the sourcing of ingredients is appropriate.
Choosing the right food for your dog is necessary because it ensures that it remains in good health. Since the process can be overwhelming, we put together a comprehensive guide on finding good food for your dog. Keep your dog’s breed, size, and health condition in mind when choosing the food you will provide to ensure that it receives the best nutritional benefits.