Learn how to find the best dog food for your dog. For the purposes of this article we are referring to dry dog food.
Dog owners often ask “What is the best brand of dog food for my dog?”. This is a nearly impossible question to answer for the following reasons, which also impact readers to this article:
- Dog food brands can be different all over the world, many people do not say where they love
- Manufacturers of pet food often change their formula, a brand that is good one year could be bad the next.
- You never know if the person is basing their answer on facts or guess work.
As such it is always better for a dog owner to become educated about ingredients so that they may choose a good pet food for their dog at anytime, in any place, rather than having to rely on asking another person for advice on the best dog food.
When your dog eats a better quality food it gets more nutrition with less food, so it will eat less, and poop less too.
The only way you are going to know if a dog food is really good for your dog is by looking at the ingredient list. All dog foods market themselves as being complete nutrition, but many use cheap filler or ingredients that have been linked to causing health problems. Some countries (including the United States) have fairly low standards in regards to the minimum level of nutrition a dog's food must contain.
Pay attention to the order of ingredients not percentages. A food can say it contains a certain percentage of protein, but if the protein comes from a harder to digest source, or if you have to feed more food to equal the dog's requirement for protein, the percentage is of no help to determine quality. For an extreme example of this read about a theoretical dog food that was made out of old boots.
Below are listed some bad ingredients often used in dog food, those of low quality, or that are cheap filler, some have been linked to health problems in dogs:
- BHT, BHA, cheap preservatives linked to causing health problems.
- Ethoxyquin, a chemical pesticide often not mentioned on the ingredient list because it is hidden in the by-products. Ethoxyquin has been linked to causing health problems and is banned in many parts of the world.
- Another problem with by-products is that they are cheap fillers, they can be any non-meat item, beaks, feet, some feathers, even cancerous tumors and collars.
- Meatmeal, not so much “bad” but it can be an allergy concern since meatmeal can be any slaughtered animal it is not a consistent meat source from bag to bag.
- Beef, Wheat, Corn, Soy, and Pork, are known to be common allergens, often causing hot spots on some dogs.
- Corn Gluten Meal, cheap filler, a waste product.
- Brewers Rice, a cheap filler, a waste product of the brewing industry.
- Food Colorings, this usually indicates poor quality food, the artifical food colorings and dyes are added to pet food to please the consumer and offer no value to the food, additionally some dogs have behavior issues as the result of a reaction to consuming these food coloring dyes (which are often made from tar). You will note that dogs are color blind to red.
If you can find a food that does not contain the above ingredients you are on track to finding a good dog food, to make it the “best” dog food look for indications on the label that the food uses “human grade ingredients”.
It can be hard to find good pet foods but they are out there, some supermarkets are starting to make their own brand name quality pet foods (read the ingredient list for yourself) but generally speaking you have to go to a pet supply store to find better pet foods.
Note as well that large breed puppies and large breed dogs do need food that is formulated for their needs, slowing down their growth as pups, and having ingredients to promote joint health.
Puppies, pregnant, and nursing dogs, should have puppy food, but some food companies make such excellent adult food that these foods work well for pups too.
If you do decide to switch to a different dog food you should do so slowly over a period of 1 to 2 weeks, noting by the feeding guidelines on the side of the bad that with better food you typically feed less. Some dogs are so conditioned to eating unhealthy (junk) dog food that they may be unwilling to eat healthy dog food.
In addition to feeding less food you should have fewer health problems with your dog, and less waste in the back yard.