If the world is perfect, all kibble will probably be made equal. Unfortunately, the world isn’t perfect, and dog owners are faced with a plethora of choices which all claim to be the best type of dog food on the market. Most of the time, it can be very frustrating to wade through all these options in the hopes of finding a brand that is affordable, appealing, and healthy for your puppy and will support dog health. To make the quest easier for you, here are some important pieces of advice you can keep in mind.
How Do You Define a Good Dog Food For Puppies?
Many owners feed their puppies with wet food or processed kibble. You might not find processed foods appealing but these contain nutrients your pooch needs to stay healthy. Majority of quality commercial foods are extremely regulated and went through rigorous testing with the help of veterinary specialists. What exactly are found in these foods?
Unlike cats, dogs aren’t strict carnivores. Even though meat makes up most of their diet, a domestic dog can also derive nutrients from vegetables, fruits, and grains. Non-meat foods are not just fillers. These serve as sources of valuable minerals, fiber, and vitamins. Good dog food contains meat, fruits, grains, and vegetables. The best ones contain high quality versions of all these ingredients which suit the digestive system of your pet.
The best food for your dog is one that meets all of his nutritional requirements. While many brands of dog food are specifically made with the minimum nutritional needs for canines, it is a must to keep in mind that not all dogs share the same nutritional requirements.
Dogs need an extensive array of nutrients in varied quantities throughout their lives. A puppy’s nutritional needs are completely different from those of an adult dog. This is why it is recommended to feed an all life stages food or puppy formula to a young dog.
How to Read Labels on Dog Food
One of the best ways to identify the best type of food for dog from a not so good one is to read its label. This might be a bit easier said than done because aside from being hard to read with their small print not to mention the awkwardness of trying to handle food bags in the store, labels also tend to be misleading. There are 8 key pieces of information that you should find in the label. These include the name of the product, the product’s net weight, manufacturer’s name and address, guaranteed analysis, the ingredients list, feeding guidelines, statement of nutritional adequacy, and intended animal species, whether cat or dog.
Name of the Product
The product name will tell you lots of things about the specific product. The word beef means that about 70% of the product must be made up of beef. The words beef platter, beef entrée, or beef dinner means that beef is only expected to make up around 10% of the product. When you find the phrase with beef, it means that 3% of the product is made of beef, while beef flavor means that the product has enough beef to flavor it which is below 3%.
The label’s list of ingredients will not just let you know about the ingredients’ quality and where these come from. There are also manufacturers who split up ingredients to balance the distribution. For example, different kinds of corn, like kibbled corn, ground corn, or flaked corn could be listed separately. It bumps down corn on the ingredient list even if the corn’s actual content in the food is high.
Another tricky dog food ingredient is meat. Whole meats have high water weight percentage. It means that meat’s overall percentage after processing is much lower than what it seems. On the other hand, meat meal might less appealing to you but it contains much more meat compared to whole meats. This is because it doesn’t have water weight which can affect the calculation.
Although the list of ingredient doesn’t tell you the ingredients’ quality, it tells you what the food contains. It is specifically essential for canines with allergies or special dietary needs. This is also helpful for owners who want to feed their pet specific sources of carbohydrates, protein, and fiber.
What Does a Complete and Balanced Dog Food Mean?
Among the first things you have to check on the food label is the phrase complete and balanced. It is not merely a form of advertising. Authorities have stringent requirements to ensure that a product is really balanced and complete. Diets that are balanced and complete should contain minimum amount of every nutrient essential for canines, which is indicated in guaranteed analysis. The analysis provides the least amount of crude fat and protein together with maximum amounts of crude fiber and water. However, this analysis doesn’t provide exact amount of such components. It means that there is adequate room for a considerable variation. The average nutrient profile of a manufacturer is usually a better tool to evaluate a product.
You could directly get in touch with a dog food company to know more about their product. A reliable company who is concerned about dog health is more than willing to answer your queries. Most of the time, they will also provide you details not available on the product label or website.
Shopping for the Best Type of Food for Puppy
At the end of the day, the best type of food for dog health is for you to decide. Being the owner, you get to see and observe your pet every day. If your dog is fit and active, produces healthy and firm stool, and has healthy appetite, it means that your chosen dog food works just fine.
Your pet will be your most valuable resource throughout this process. This professional knows more about dog health and pet nutrition than any average owner. They also got access to resources and researchers that you don’t have. Your veterinarian will help you narrow down your choices and will be happy to answer your questions about the best food for your dog.