A dog’s diet is one of the most overlooked aspects of our pet’s life. Most people take it for granted that they should just feed their dog whatever brand food they see in the store or on TV commercials. However, that should not be the case. A poor diet for our dog, just like a poor diet for us, can negatively affect their mood, behavior and longevity. Learn how to choose a healthy dog food, your dog deserves it…
We must look at the ingredients label of what we are feeding our dog. The easiest components to look for are: corn, wheat and soy. These are common allergens for most dogs. An allergic reaction can manifest itself in the form of skin irritations, anxiety and certain behavior problems. Steer away from those items to stay on the right track.
Ingredients are listed on the label in order of predominance, with ingredients used in the greatest amounts first. That means the first ingredient listed makes up most of the food, the second ingredient is the next largest component and so on. It’s not only important to look at what’s in the food, but where it falls on the label.
The first ingredient to look for on the label is the meat source. Preferably this should be chicken, but lamb or fish are also acceptable. I always look for it to say the meat source followed by the word “meal”. Chicken meal refers to the dehydrated weight of the protein. This translates into your dog getting more pure protein, not water or fluid weight. I would stay AWAY if it says chicken-by-product, as this is a very vague term that can encompass any part of the chicken. As a result, you could be feeding your dog chicken bones, beaks and other undesirable pieces – not the lean protein you were intending.
The last two factors to look for when choosing a dog food is the fat and carbohydrate source. When it comes to the fat source, I want it to clearly state that it is from the meat source that we were talking about above (i.e. Chicken Meal = Chicken Fat; Lamb = Lamb Fat). If it just says “animal fat”, that means fat from any animal, not necessarily something you want or should be feeding your pet. Dogs do not need a lot of carbohydrates, but they should be from suitable sources: oat groats and brown rice.
The basics of our dog’s diet should be the basics of our diet: less processed, junk filled ingredients, and more lean/natural sources of protein, fats and carbohydrates. I think it is safe to say that most of us want what’s best for our dog. By taking a closer look at what they are consuming twice a day, every day, we can help extend their life, improve health and even reduce “behavior problems”. You are going to feed your dog anyway, so why not feed them the best.