They Deserve the Best
The proverb “we are what we eat” works for dogs, too. The right diet is key to a healthy and happy dog. It’s up to the owner to make this happen. Most dogs are not picky; they’ll eat whatever you give them. Unfortunately, an unbalanced diet may not be good for their health.
You can ask a veterinarian about the type of dog treats to give your pet, but will hear general recommendations. The variety of dog food is mind-boggling. How do you choose the right one for your pet? Let’s take a look.
Act Smart and Read the Label
Reading the label can save you from purchasing a low-quality dog food with additives. Do you know that Chicken Dinner and Chicken Dog Food are two completely different things? Meanwhile, Chicken-Flavored Dog Food may not contain chicken at all? The percentage of the actual ingredient you see on the label is regulated.
The 95% Rule
If you want to make sure you are getting at least 95% of chicken in your dog food, the label should be simple. It should read “Chicken Dog Food” or “Chicken for Dogs.” Any words other than “chicken,” “dog,” and “food” most likely mean that you are getting something else.
If you see a combination label, such as “Beef And Chicken Dog Food,” it means that beef and chicken should comprise 95% of the can. To find out how much of each you are getting, look at the ingredient that is listed first. In our last example, the beef is listed first, so the package contains more beef than chicken.
The 25% Rule
If the label includes the word “dinner” along with a type of meat, it means the can contains at least 25% of the chicken, beef, liver, etc. The rest could be water, vegetables, grains or whatever else the manufacturer comes up with. The same goes for “entrée,” “formula,” “platter,” and so on.
When you see these words on the label, make sure to check the ingredient list. “Tasty Chicken Dinner” may contain more grains than chicken.
The 3% Rule
If you see another ingredient added to the name, such as Tasty Chicken Dinner “with” Veggies, it means that the package must contain at least 3% of the veggies. Don’t become a victim of marketing tricks. “Chicken Dog Food” is very different from “Dog Food With Chicken”.
In order to add flavor to the food, the manufacturer needs a very small amount of the actual ingredient, so “Chicken-Flavored Dog Food” can contain less than 1% of chicken.
The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) ensures that the dog food you are getting is of a high quality. However, not all manufacturers become members of the association since it’s voluntary. If you see an AAFCO statement on the back of the can, you are buying high-quality dog food.
If a product is missing an AAFCO statement it doesn’t mean you are getting bad dog food, but there is no guarantee either.
The package usually states what type of dogs the food is suitable for. It will either read “adult,” “puppy,” “senior” or “all life stages.” Even though “all life stages” food is suitable for adult dogs, it would be smart not to use it for puppies. Puppies usually need a different type of food than adult dogs.
If you want to make sure your dog isn’t being experimented on, read about the trials on the back of the package. If the label says that the product underwent animal feeding tests, it means real dogs ate this food and felt fine afterward.
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When you read the label and see the following ingredients, consider avoiding the product, as it could be dangerous for your dog to eat:
- Meat by-products (blood, feathers, head, feet): These parts don’t contain useful nutritional value for a dog.
- Beef tallow or animal fat: These are pure triglycerides without any nutritional value.
- Food fragments (cereal, millrun, potato products): These are leftovers from other food manufacturing.
- Artificial coloring: This is an unnecessary additive since your dog doesn’t care which color the food is.
- Hydrochloric acid: This is an unnecessary ingredient without any value.
Pay Close Attention to the Price
If you want to buy high-quality dog food, get ready to spend some money. If you choose the cheapest option, it will definitely contain a variety of unnecessary ingredients and a very small amount of nutrition. This food may be tasty, but eventually you’ll notice health problems.
If you want your dog to eat meat, grains, and veggies, be ready to pay for food that costs more. Anything cheaper may mean you are paying for fats, feathers, and artificial coloring.
Homemade Dog Treats vs Store-Bought Food
For your dog, homemade food is better than the cans you buy at the store. Why?
- You know exactly what goes into it.
- It’s always fresh.
- You can often offer dogs the same food you are eating (if it’s cooked in a healthy way).
However, store-bought food is better for the owner. Why?
- You don’t have to spend time cooking a balanced meal (a balanced diet is vital for your dog. Feeding it meat all day doesn’t cut it).
- You don’t have to worry about buying a variety of ingredients.
- You aren’t disappointed every time the dog refuses to eat your cooking.
Thankfully, high-quality dog food contains all the necessary nutrition your pet should be getting. So if you don’t have time to cook at home, you can safely feed your dog canned or packaged food. However, you must be very careful about the quality, and don’t forget to read the label carefully.