How To Find Healthy Dog Food For Your Pup
30 May, 2012
Dogs are inherently good eaters. Unlike cats, they are not as finicky and will usually eat whatever food is put in front of them. However, similar to people, the healthier the food that we feed our dogs, the longer our dogs will live and thrive. Yet, with so many different labels and types of food on the market, the choices can be overwhelming.
Below are some basics to help you choose the right food for your dog.
The Basic Dog Food Pyramid
An average dog should have a diet that is fifty percent vegetable, forty percent meat and ten percent grain. Grown dogs need a minimum of eighteen percent protein on a dry matter basis, whereas puppies require at least twenty two percent. All dogs also require some fat, amount dependent on their level of activity. Dogs also need approximately four percent of their diets to be fiber. These are all, again, on average. In doing a dog food comparison, it is best to start with the labels.
Reading the dog food labels
A good way to determine the quality of a food is the ingredient list. With a little practice, you can find a food that does not have unwanted products and is highly digestible. The ingredients are listed in order by weight.
The following must be included on dog food labels: Minimum crude protein, minimum crude fat, maximum crude fiber and maximum moisture.
I want to eat healthy!
One trick some manufacturers use is to break an ingredient into several different smaller ingredients and list them separately. For example, the ingredients might include chicken (first), ground corn, corn gluten, and corn bran (further down). You might think chicken is the main ingredient but, grouping the corn ingredients together, they would likely greatly outweigh the amount of chicken.
Some other things to look for in the dog food
Look for the first source of fat named on the label in order to determine the main ingredients. For example, if chicken fat is listed seventh, the ingredients prior to that are the major ingredients. Those after are secondary.
Clearly, calculating the real amount of each guaranteed analysis can tricky and take time. Manufacturers sometimes list high quality ingredients that contain a lot of water and therefore save them money. For more information on calculations, visit the FDA Site.
So Many choices, so little time
Luckily, healthy dog food choices are easy to find today. You really can’t go too wrong as long as you have all the required ingredients. Try to look for all the basics listed above and don’t always fall for the ‘natural’ brands. Your veterinarian can always give you a good recommendation based on your dog’s weight, size and breed.
I hope these tips help and your dog lives a long, thriving happy life!