Every dog owner wants to buy the perfect dog food. This is a given. Unfortunately, there are so many options on the market that making a bad choice is much more common than it should be. It can easily seem impossible to find high quality, genuine dog food at an affordable price tag.
Fortunately, this does not mean it is impossible. Always think about the following to buy food that is very good for the health of your dog.
Take Into Account The Important Factors
When you buy dog food, you have to consider the dog’s age, breed, reproductive status, and activity. The physical characteristics, overall health, and behavior are vital considerations.
For instance, lactating mothers and puppies need more calories than the low-activity breeds. You need to make sure that you feed the dog the right quantity every day to avoid unwanted health problems, like obesity.
There are many brands that formulate foods based on dog breed. However, most just distinguish between large breeds and small breeds. In such a case, usually, just kibble size varies. This is definitely not enough.
Educate Yourself On Buzz Words Used
When you read dog food descriptions, you need to understand what you read. For instance, when you read a guide to Butcher’s dog food, if you do not understand the terms used, you cannot be sure that you make a good choice or not.
The wording used on packaging tells you how much protein is included. Very simple names (for instance, “chicken dog food”) usually indicate that the protein listed is around 95% of the product, without taking water content into account. When water is added, you end up with around 70%, which is how much is often required.
Another word to be aware of is “dinner”. Usually, this means that the food just includes 25% of the listed protein. Learn about terms like “with cheese”, “formula”, “nuggets”, and more so that you can make informed decisions.
Dog food labels list the ingredients based on weight. Meat meals appear first because of the high content of water. Due to this, you need to always choose dog food with meat or a meat meal listed as the very first ingredient. Remember that dogs are omnivores and should never be fed a diet that is vegetarian.
What is particularly important is to avoid dog foods with a vegetable, tuber, or grain listed as the very first ingredient. Such food has a very low overall nutritional value.
Educate Yourself On The Brand
Almost always, the different dog food products from a brand are similar in terms of quality. This is why it makes sense to learn all that you can about the brand and its values. The internet can help you to learn a lot about the manufacturer. You get to see how quality control is ensured and how ingredients are sourced. Obviously, these are not things that need to be listed on food labels but this is data that can easily help you to make a very good choice.
Should You Consider Grain-Free Dog Food?
There are many dog owners that make the switch to the popular grain-free diet because of a suspicion of food allergy. It is completely true that dogs can get food allergies but only the veterinarian can tell you if this is the case. You should never just blindly think that an allergy exists.
What you need to know is that grains are not necessarily bad for the dog. However, if there is a severe allergy present, it is better to avoid grains. If the allergy does not exist, it is just better to avoid the really high price tag associated with grain-free dog food formulas.
If you do not know if the dog has a food intolerance or allergy, look for signs that this is the case. The most common signs are excessive paw licking, vomiting, diarrhea, and scratching.
However, these should only be seen as signs and the vet is the one that should confirm the allergy. Keep in mind that in many cases with allergies, the culprit is actually a main protein, like beef or chicken, not grains. Also, take the exact same approach when you think about gluten-free dog food.
Choose Dog Food The Dog Actually Likes
It is a surprise to see how many dog owners do not think about this aspect. It does not really matter what research you did. If the dog does not like the food you choose, you should not buy it. All the factors that you take into account when you choose dog food need to be balanced while taking into account the pet’s personal tastes.
Wet Dog Food Or Dry Dog Food?
The truth is there are advantages and disadvantages for both wet dog food and dry dog food. You can buy wet food in cans or pouches. They are particularly great for the picky eaters and there is a really high possibility that the dog will love it.
The problem is that you need to buy much more wet dog food to get the same nutritional benefits associated with dry dog food. This is due to the fact that wet food is mostly made out of water. Also, it costs more.
With dry dog food, more nutrition value is available at a lower price tag. Also, this type of food is better to keep the teeth of your pooch cleaner. You should choose the wet option when the dog is a really picky eater.
A Special Food?
Last but not least, the specific dog foods have formulas that are specifically tailored for specific sizes and development stages. As an example, when you see puppy dog food, it is completely different than food that is designed for elderly dogs. The puppies usually have a specific formula that is designed for the first year.
This includes more fat, protein, and phosphorous to make the puppy healthier.
An adult mix reduces the levels of mentioned ingredients in puppy foods. The older dogs also need lower calories in food in order to prevent the possibility to develop obesity.
The trick with special food is to discuss it with your vet. He/she will tell you about whether or not some special foods are needed for your dog.