Choosing the right dog food can be challenging.
In a world, where we face an ever-increasing choice of options, you may have difficulty in figuring out what is right for your dog. With every dog food brand claiming to be the best, figuring out the healthy and affordable choice can be difficult.
Let’s figure out some simple ways to identify the most suitable dog food for your beloved pooch.
Nutrition for Dogs
Most dog parents feed their dogs wet food or processed kibbles.
Commercial dog foods are regulated and recommended by veterinarians as they are full of nutrients needed for dogs.
Though dogs eat meat, domestic dogs also feed on grains, vegetables and fruits as part of their diet. All the foods they eat provide valuable sources of minerals, fiber and vitamins.
Good dog food should contain an ideal mix of these ingredients to be good for their digestion and health.
Different dogs differ in the range of nutrients they need as per their breeds and sizes. Like the nutritional needs of an adult dog would be different from that of a puppy.
The recommended quantities of the dog food also differ as per their weight and age which makes your veterinarian, the best person to let you what your dog should eat.
Reading Dog Food Labels
The best way to understand any product is to read its label. Labels can be misleading in the information they give apart from being hard to read due to the tiny prints.
On a label, you should look at the product’s name, net weight, manufacturer’s name, feeding guidelines, ingredient list, intended animal and a statement of nutritional adequacy.
A product name with its labelling is enough information to understand the nutrition any product has in it. For example, if we the can mentions the term ‘chicken, it’ means at least 70% of the product is made from chicken.
The term ‘chicken dinner’ or ‘chicken entrée’ means that chicken makes up only 10% of the product.
‘With chicken’ means that only 3% of the product is made from chicken and ‘chicken flavor’ implies that less than 3% of the product has chicken in it.
It is difficult to identify the source and quality of the ingredients by simply looking at the ingredient list on the label.
Like wheat can be broken down into flaked wheat, kibbled wheat, ground wheat, whole wheat, all of which can be listed separately as ingredients.
Meat is also similarly complex if broken down into different kinds based on the level of meat processing. It is important to note that full meats have a large quantity of water weight which reduces the overall meat percentage in the food.
Meat meal instead is more nutritious as it has more percentage of meat compared to meat as it doesn’t need to be reduced for the water weight.
Food labels are also crucial for dog parents to watch out for if their dogs have special dietary needs or any food allergies. If a dog only has fiber and protein, the labelling will help to identify foods with carbohydrates to avoid them.
Complete and Balanced Statement in Dog Foods
You may have noticed this statement often on dog food package labelling- ‘complete and balanced’.
As per the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), there are specific rules as per which any pet food product is classified as complete and balanced.
Any food needs to contain the minimum specified nutrients which a dog needs before it can be labelled as complete and balanced by AAFCO.
The guaranteed analysis also lists the range of protein, fats, carbohydrates and fiber present in the dog food and lists down the minimum and maximum amounts.
Make Your Choice
Another option is to contact the dog food manufacturer if you have any questions. A professional and reputed dog food manufacturer will help you with more information than what is mentioned on the food label of the particular product.
Taking care to choose the best dog food, understanding the nutrient requirements and consulting a veterinarian can help to make sure that your beloved pooch is healthy and happy.