If you’re anything like me you’ve probably spent quite a bit of time trying to select what would be considered the “perfect” dog food. Finding a food that your dog enjoys, that is nutritious, AND that doesn’t break your budget is a tall order. Good food should not give your pet any G/I upset, it should keep their eyes clear and keep their coat shiny. Being affordable, if price is an issue, is also an upside. Filling all these requirements can be tricky but here are some tips to make it a little bit easier on your pet’s stomach and your wallet:
The Right Food For The Right Dog
Your dogs age, reproductive status, and size are huge factors to take into consideration when picking a feed. Puppy food is very high in calories when compared to senior dog food, as puppies have much higher caloric requirements because they are still growing. I had a friend once with a fairly obese dog and I was astonished (but not surprised) to learn that she had been feeding her 5 year old lab mix puppy chow consistently ever since she was a puppy. Your dog’s activity level is also and important factor to take into consideration when buying dog food. For example, a Basset Hound or Bull Mastiff will require less calories than a Siberian Husky or Dalmation. A good resource for learning more about selecting the right food for your dog is the Merck Veterinary Manual. It lists all the nutritional requirements for dogs based on their weight and age.
Know What The Marketing Buzzwords On The Packaging Actually Mean
This one’s weird and I don’t understand how it came to be but those marketing buzzwords on dog food packages can tell you how much protein a given food contains. Pet foods with names that simply state the protien like “Chicken for Dogs,” or “Beef Dog Food” tell you that the main protein ingredient makes up no less than 70% of the total product (not counting the water). This is obviously a good thing, but it is hard to find cheaper food that meets these standards. Dog food with names like Dinner, Entree or Platter are required to contain at least 10% of that particular protein and the word with is an indicator that that food contains no less than 3% of that ingredient. A food called “Chicken Dinner With Salmon”, for instance can tell you that food contains no less than 25% chicken protein and no less than 3% salmon. Isn’t marketing wonderful?
Read The Actual Ingredients
You’re going to want to read the actual ingredient list on the back of the bag or can. Just so you know, the definition of “meat” in animal food (as well as human food) is containing skeletal ot heart muscle from the specified animal. “Meat byproducts” are made from that same animal but are from the internal organs while “meat meal” is rendered from any part of that animal animal other than hooves, beaks, Try pick a food with meat as the first listed ingredient and avoid to foods that contain a large amount of soy or corn.
Consider Grain Free Dog Food
Grain free dog food has gained considerable popularity in recent years. It is also considerably more expensive than dog food made with grain. Grains are not necessarily bad for dogs unless they have grain allergies (consult your vet if you suspect this might be the case), but it’s probably safe to assume that dogs would not be consuming processed grains in nature. With the popularity that gluten-free has seen in the past decade it’s no surprise that people who don’t eat gluten also don’t want their families to eat gluten and that extends of course, to our pets. Before buying wholesale into the hype, take some time to consider the individual needs of your dog.
Do A Bit Of Research On Your Brand Of Choice
One you have decided on a brand it’s gonna be up to you to do a little bit of research into the manufacturer. You may want to check into their quality control and figure out where they source all of their animal material. Manufacturers are not legally required to disclose these things on the packaging so it’s up to you to check up them a little if you want that additional peace of mind. If you have any questions not answered by the packaging, you can contact a representative from that company. If they do in fact make a quality product, they should be more than eager to answer any questions you may have.
Here’s a list of dog food brands we like a lot…