Six steps to choosing the best dog food
Step 1: When Choosing The Best Dog Food, Ask Yourself The Following Questions:
- What breed is he/ she?
- How old are they?
- How active are they?
- And what is their reproductive status?
Once you answer these questions you should come up with a better knowledge as to the number of calories needed. For example, an active dog will require more calories than a couch potato. A puppy more than an older dog and a lactating mother will require much more than a non-lactating dog. Some muscular breeds will naturally burn off more calories than other breeds.
2. Know The Industry Jargon.
Pay close attention to the wording on packaging for instance:
- Beef For Dogs and Chicken For Dogs consists of 95% of that type (Beef or Chicken) for protein not including the water. With water is has to be at least 70% protein.
- Dinner is a common word used on labels, Beef Dinner, Chicken Dinner, Salmon Dinner all are only required to consist of 25% of the protein. The same goes for “Platter” “Entre”, “Nugget” and “Formula” If there is more than one ingredient listed on the label the combined ingredient must be 25% of the total
- If the label says “Beef Flavor”, “Chicken Flavor”, “Salmon Flavor” or any other main ingredient followed by the word Flavor, then it contains just enough of that product to allow your pet to taste it. in other words, it is only the “Flavor” of that ingredient and contains just trace amounts of that product. They should just call it “Beef Smell ” or “Chicken Smell”
Learn To Read List of Ingredients
The ingredients are listed according to weight, because meat and meat by-products are fairly heavy because of it water content is it usually listed first. “Meat” include the skeletal muscle, fat, grizzle, heart, diaphram and esophagal tissue among some other parts. Meat by-products are made from other organs like kidney, lungs, brain, bone and blood.
Meat by-products tested by the AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) standards should NOT include hair, horns, teeth, or hooves. “Meat meal” describes any rendered product from animal tissues.
The first ingredients should not consists of any vegetables, tubers or grains. Corn and corn products are often added as a cheap filler to bulk the food. Unless your dog has allergies or other health issues it should not be given a vegetarian diet. Dogs are carnivores but also have the ability to digest some grains.
Step 4: Know If Your Dog Should Have Gluten or Grain Free Food
First off, there is a difference between grain free and gluten free. If a food is grain free it is exactly that, it does not contain grains. Gluten-free does not contain gluten but may still contain grains as not all grains contain gluten.
Some people feel that dogs should not eat grains as their ancestors did not eat grains. Through the evolutionary process dog have obtained genes making it possible for them to consume grains. But just like humans, they can develop an intolerance and allergies to certain grains. Surprisingly, if your dog has an allergy it is most likely to be allergic to Beef, milk, or corn.
Whatever Food You Choose For Your pet Be Sure To Give Them A Good Supplement To Help Prevent Arthritis.
Here are some symptoms of allergies in dogs:
- Excessive hair loss
- Bald patches
- Inflamed skin
- Sore and scabs
- “Hot spots” on joints
It is best if you consult your veterinarian if you suspect that your dog has food allergies as they can do an allergy test or you can try an elimination diet where you remove all the grains from their diet for a few weeks and see if their condition clears up, you re-introduce the grains one at a time several weeks apart and if the conditions return you know what grain is causing the allergic reaction.
Since many people have gone gluten-free, the pet food industry has followed suit, after all, they know that you want what’s best for your dog and they also know that many people will mirror their own diets when it comes to their dog’s diets. Most of this is hype from marketing, most dogs do not need a gluten-free diet.
It is very unlikely that your dog has a gluten intolerance. Most people who have a gluten intolerance have what is called celiac disease, this condition is very rare in dogs. The only dogs who have been recorded as to have a real gluten intolerance is the Irish Setter, and mostly in the United Kingdom. If you feel that your dog may have an intolerance to gluten discuss it with your vet or you could try to eliminate gluten from their diet for a while.
Step 5: Check the nutritional adequacy statement.
usually located within or alongside the nutritional information on the can or bag the statement will say something like ” Provides a complete and balanced nutritional diet for large adult dogs, or midsized, small etc, ” For all life stages” or “For puppies” or “Senior Dogs” Buy the appropriate one for your dog’s size and life stage of course.
Always look for the AAFCO statement on the package, it is completely voluntary
but because of their strict standards, your can rest assured that the food you are purchasing is of high nutritional value.
Step 6: Research The Brands of Choice.
Now that you know that there is some difference in the foods that you can get for your dog and not to necessarily but the hype by marketing companies.
You need to choose a food that matches your dog’s calorie and nutritional requirements.
Always look and the ingredient list, make sure that there is nothing there that you don’t want your dog to eat. If your favorite brand does not have an ingredient and nutritional list you can contact them through email or telephone. Most reputable companies will be more than happy to give you the information if they don’t then it may be time to find one that will.
Here is a short list of foods that have a great rating.