What Ingredients and Phrases to Look for When Selecting a New Dog Food
Passionate pet owners care about the health of their dog. Your dog is a life companion that loves you unconditionally. It doesn’t matter what you did wrong; your dog will forgive you every time without question.
It’s important for owners to look out for their dogs. Dogs trust you completely, and they can’t speak, so they rely on you for everything in their life.
Feeding your dog high-quality food packed with nutrition is an essential step in maintaining the health of your four-legged friend. Skip the commercial dog food brands at the local supermarket; they’re inferior quality foods that don’t belong in your dog’s dinner bowl.
Here are some tips you can use to choose the best nutrition for your dog and avoid poor-quality foods that feature inferior ingredients but have excellent marketing strategies.
LEARN TO READ INGREDIENT LABELS
Whenever you read an ingredient label, it’s important to note that the list includes ingredients with the highest concentrations first. Select a product with meat listed as the first ingredient, and you know you’re purchasing a high-quality food.
Our dogs are naturally carnivorous. This term means that they need to eat meat to retain optimal digestive health. Only under extreme circumstances should you feed a dog a vegetarian diet. This type of protocol should occur if your dog suffers from severe food allergies. Even in this type of case, it would be better to feed them a raw diet that includes meat. If you are worried about your dog eating too much meat, there are many healthy low-protein options available.
Look for the phrase “Meat by-product” on the label. This kind of meat isn’t only the cutoffs of fat and gristle. It includes the kidneys, lungs, blood, brain, and bone of the animal. Ensure that your product follows the AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) standards. These standards stipulate that the ingredients will not include horns, hair, teeth, or hooves.
“Meat meal” is the best option and includes meat that comes from animal tissues only. While you’re reviewing the label, make sure that grain or tubers do not feature as the first ingredient on the list. These food products have little nutritional value and a high-calorie count; this is a recipe for obesity in your dog. You can even find products that are completely grain-free.
UNDERSTAND MARKETING TERMINOLOGY ON PACKAGING
Marketers use clever tactics to disguise the contents of dog food products. For instance; the wording on the packaging is usually a code for how much protein the product contains.
FDA analysis of pet food labels drew some surprising results. Names like “chicken dog food,” or “beef dog food,” indicate that the contents of the product contain 95-percent meat, without the water content.
“Dinner” is another indicator to be wary of on your search for quality dog food. You may notice labels that include phrases such as “chicken stew dinner” and “salmon dog dinner.” These products feature 25-percent of the protein source, with the rest made up of grain. The same rule applies to labels that include the words “entree,” “platter,” “formula,” and “nuggets.” If there is more than one ingredient listed on the label, then the total amount of all the protein sources must only add up to 25-percent.
If you come across a label that states, “with salmon,” then you can expect the total amount of that protein to add up to a mere 3-percent of the total food. For example; if you pick up a can of food and the label reads, “Beef stew dinner for dogs with vegetables,” then the product contains 25-percent beef and 3-percent vegetables.
Finally, if the label reads “beef flavored,” then the product only needs a trace amount of the protein to achieve this wording.
REVIEW THE NUTRITIONAL ADEQUACY STATEMENT
Typically found on the nutrition label, the adequacy statement stipulates something along the lines of “This food is balanced and complete nutritional maintenance for adult dogs,” or “for puppies,” or “all life stages.”
Always search for the AAFCO statement on the label; membership to this organization is voluntary, but top pet food companies are all members. AAFCO’s excellent standards ensure optimal nutrition for your dog.
RESEARCH YOUR POTENTIAL BRAND OF CHOICE
When you settle on the product you think is best for you dog, go online and research the manufacturer. If they have a customer service line, send them an email and ask where they source their ingredients. Inquire about their safety standards and quality control as well. This is a good way to determine whether the brand is one you want to feed to your pet.