What is the best food for your dog? That is quite a question. In most instances it depends on the dog. If the dog is healthy and doesn’t have thyroid, kidney, heart, diabetes or other illnesses it may be a bit easier to answer. Over the years commercial dog food has changed drastically. What once was labeled as a balanced and nutritional diet is now considered a bad choice in some instances.
Dog food has two different starting formulas. They will be either grain based or meat based. Usually the grain based diets use corn as the main ingredient. This is easy to see when you look at the label. The label on dog food is similar to labels on human foods. The first ingredient is the one that is prevalent in the recipe. If corn is first, there is more corn than anything else. If meat is first, the same applies.
Don’t get meat confused with meat by-products. By products in chicken based diets can be feet, bones or other parts that you wouldn’t normally feed your dog. You want meat up front. Again, this is for healthy dogs.
Recipes have changed as pets have increased in popularity in the home and people look to them as another child. Due to that popularity, the breeding of popular breeds can be done for greed rather than the quality of the dog. Reputable breeders have healthy pups and they grow into healthy dogs. There may be an occasional problem, but nothing compared to the puppy mill type dog you will find in most commercial pet shops and at your local flea market.
When you read the label on your dog food, you will see the term “Guaranteed Analysis”. This will list protein, fat, moisture are listed. The general opinion is that protein should be at least 25-30% or higher. The fat should be in the 15-18% range and preservatives should be natural substances such as vitamin E or C. also check the label for the essential omega fatty acids that are so healthy for both pets and humans.
It may take a little research for you to find the right dog food for your healthy dog. If your dog is of proper weight with a good coat and no skin conditions, the chances are you are doing fine. If your dog is overweight, has thick wiry coat and dry, flaky skin, there may be something missing in their diet.
As you travel down the pet food aisle of your grocery store or pet store, read the labels. Check the per pound prices. You will find that the lower priced dog foods are primarily grain based. They are also lower in nutritional value than the higher priced foods. You will have a difficult time finding a grain based dog good with the desired amount of protein or fat. You may also have to feed your dog more of the food to maintain a better nutritional level. This can possibly cause obesity in your dog.
Look for meat to be up front on the ingredient list. You will see an improvement in your dogs coat and skin with the proper nutrition. Saving money and having to feed more food, cancel each other out. It is better to get a quality food and feed your dog well.
Resources: dogaware.com, dr. Jennifer Peebles DVM