5 Tips For Finding the Best Dog Food For Your Furry Friend
Choosing the best dog food for your pet can be a daunting experience, and a higher price doesn’t always mean doing what’s best for your dog. Some brands tell us that our dogs should eat like wolves and others insist they are royalty, eating out of little crystal dishes while wearing their favorite outfit.
If you want to know how to give your dog healthy nutrition, check out this list of 5 tips for finding the best dog food:
Check the Ingredients
The ingredients in dog food brands vary, so check the label. Some brands may contain artificial sweeteners, flavors and colors or preservatives. These additives will be disguised with names like BHT, BHA, ethoxyquin and propyl gallate, which should be avoided. Choose foods free of soy products, wheat or other grains.
The main ingredient in a good dog food is always meat. Dogs are carnivores and need the protein supplied by animal products to remain healthy and strong. A small percentage of vegetables and fruits are okay, as long as the main ingredient is chicken, lamb, beef or turkey. Stay away from vague descriptions, like “meat by-products,” which includes everything deemed not healthy for human consumption at meat processing plants. By-products have little nutritional value for your pet and shouldn’t be in their food.
Nutritional Adequacy Statement
The dog food label should include a statement describing the age or breed it is formulated for. This may say, “This food is complete and balanced for adult maintenance” or “For a puppies first year of growth.” Making sure you have the right food for your dog’s stage of life is one more way to ensure you’re selecting proper nourishment for your canine companion.
Feeding Trial Information
Kibble that has undergone feeding trials are preferred. Labels will include a statement that will explain which methods were used to determine how nutritional adequacy was determined. The statement will say something like, “Testing was completed, finding that Awesome Kibble provides complete and balanced nutrition for all dogs.”
The guaranteed analysis breaks the ingredients down in to percentages of minimum protein and fat as well as the maximum fiber and moisture.
Protein is the key here. For puppies, a minimum of 28% protein is recommended, with 18% for an adult dog and 25% (or more) for high performance dogs.
The word fiber is used for complex carbohydrates that are usually found in plants and grains. If your dog were in the wild, eating prey, they would consume carbohydrates naturally, from the digestive contents of the animals they have eaten. 2-4% fiber is optimal for healthy dog food.
Ask your Veterinarian
When in doubt, ask your veterinarian. Allow him or her to give you the benefit of their knowledge and experience to help you choose the right dog food for your pooch.
In light of recent safety recalls of popular pet foods, it would be beneficial to educate yourself on how the food is made, including the pet food processing equipment used, where the product was made and what country it came from. Safety concerns have called for an increase in pet food safety regulations, but this is not the case in some foreign countries. Use the internet and do your research.
We all want the best of our pets, they’re a part of our family. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to give your furry friend wholesome, nutritious food. Educate yourself about pet food labels, paying close attention to the ingredient list and the guaranteed analysis. Lean about the latest food safety regulations and the food processing equipment used to process the product. Your dog will love you for it.
Guest Author Bio:
Kara Masterson is a freelance writer from West Jordan, Utah. She graduated from the University of Utah and enjoys writing and spending time with her dog, Max.
Other Articles by Kara Masterson:
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