Every good dog owner wants to do everything they can to keep their pet healthy. After all, quality health leads to a happy lifestyle for your pup and you. One of the best ways to support health is through diet. But many owners have no idea what to look for when buying dogs food.
A balanced diet fuels your dog giving them the energy they need to lead their fullest life. The food you choose to feed your dog is the main factor in achieving that healthy diet.
- What to Look for before Buying dogs food
- 1. Your Dog is An Omnivore
- 2. Cut Through The Jargon
- 3. Look For Approval Labels
- 4. If You Wouldn’t Eat it, Don’t Feed it to Your Dog
- 5. Know Which Brand Truly Supports Weight Loss
- 6. Look for Gently Cooked Food
- 7. You Dog is Unique, Their Diet Should Be Too
What to Look for before Buying dogs food
As you shop for dog foods, you may quickly become overwhelmed. You’ll find there are a plethora of options available to you.
Each one comes with bright-colored labels and positive claims. They often also have a long complicated list of ingredients.
Discerning between the best dog foods becomes a significant challenge. Some dog foods offer your dog all of the nutrition they need.
Others are meant to support weight loss. And some, offer little to no benefits at all.
In this article, you’ll find all you need to know to pick the best food for your dog. Remember these seven important tips next time you are in the store buying dog food and to know which dog food is best.
1. Your Dog is An Omnivore
Unlike cats, dogs are not carnivores. Meat is a healthy source of protein and vitamins that contributes to your dog’s health. But it is not the only ingredient your dog needs.
When you are buying dog food, make sure that you are choosing one with a balance of nutritional elements.
Along with meat, dogs need to eat grains so that they can get the following nutrients:
Those nutrients can come from any of the following sources:
While vegetables can provide these benefits but they are not necessary. Instead, dogs can get these nutrients from grains like rice or corn.
These ingredients also provide your dog with plenty of energy in the form of carbohydrates. So make sure the food you buy has both meat and healthy grains.
2. Cut Through The Jargon
One of the most challenging aspects of buying dog food is to understand what benefits each one is advertising.
As with any product, dog food companies use plenty of buzz-words to give the appearance of quality.
For example, as you shop you can expect to see the following jargon terms on many dog food labels:
While each of these terms implies something positive, they can be deceptive. It is important to know what these terms mean.
For instance, the term organic is a reference to how the ingredients in dog food are grown. It does not necessarily mean that the ingredients are of a higher quality.
Likewise, the word natural means that a dog food has no artificial ingredients. It also means that the ingredients have gone through minimal processing.
However, natural does not automatically mean that a food is organic as well.
Words like holistic are even less helpful. This is an example of a term that has little to no true meaning.
There is no standard regulation that would determine what is and isn’t holistic. The word is simply an empty way to stand out when advertising a dog food.
This is a frustrating aspect of buying any food. The makers of both human and dog foods seem willing to add any word to their label if it means more sales.
They seem less concerned with adding true value to their products.
When buying dog food, you have to decipher the true meaning of the words on the package. Recognizing useless jargon terms is a good place to start.
3. Look For Approval Labels
If you are struggling to find which dog food is best, there is support for you. There is no need to become an expert in dog nutrition because the experts already exist.
The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) is responsible for monitoring the ingredients in animal feed and pet food products.
This group allows the following entities to collaborate on all matters related to pet food ingredients:
- State agencies
- Federal agencies
- Volunteer groups
- Industry leaders
These groups are constantly collaborating to evaluate ingredients. They hope to improve the quality of pet foods so that you can buy them with confidence.
This only adds to your confidence that you are doing what is best for your dog.
When you are buying dog food, only choose brands that come with an AAFCO label. This label confirms that the ingredients in the food contribute to a healthy diet.
They also indicate that certain foods are better for dogs of different ages.
4. If You Wouldn’t Eat it, Don’t Feed it to Your Dog
We don’t expect that you will be eating any dog food. But you should ensure that your dog’s food is something that you could survive ingesting.
After all, the first step in buying dog food that is healthy is making sure it is at least edible.
This is a basic level of quality that you should look for in dog foods. Fortunately, there are strict guidelines surrounding this.
Every dog food must be tested to see if it is something that a human could eat.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) sets the standards for pet foods. They determine if a food is fit for human consumption.
If it is, you should see a USDA label on the packaging indicating this. Look for this label when buying dog food. It ensures a base level of quality for your dog’s diet.
5. Know Which Brand Truly Supports Weight Loss
Much like humans, dogs can have weight issues. As an owner, you must take responsibility for your dog’s weight and overall fitness.
One of the best ways to avoid dog obesity is to know how much to feed your dog. But it is also important to know when dog foods will help with weight loss.
Again, there is a dizzying amount of terms to sift through as you are buying dog food. Some of those related to weight loss are:
- Weight control
- Weight management
- Low fat
But these terms don’t have any standards backing them. Any dog food company can add those words to their label. But that doesn’t mean that these foods have a real benefit.
Instead, look for these terms when buying dog food for weight loss:
These terms are backed by regulations that give them meaning. If you want dog food with a good weight loss formula, make sure one of those words is on the package.
6. Look for Gently Cooked Food
When it comes to buying dog food, there is an important spectrum to be aware of. On one end is the highly processed dry foods that have dominated the market for decades.
On the other end is a newer trend of feeding dogs raw foods.
This debate rages on to this day. But the best option might be somewhere in the middle.
As you shop for dog food, consider buying one that is gently cooked. Gently cooked dog foods are made with raw ingredients that are then lightly heated.
Why is this beneficial?
Gently cooked dog food best of both ends of that dog food spectrum. These foods have the nutrients of the raw diets but without the harmful pathogens.
Gently cooked dog foods have a high level of nutrients. But you won’t need to worry about the bacteria’s that can harm your dog when eating raw food.
7. You Dog is Unique, Their Diet Should Be Too
As a final tip, remember that dog foods don’t have any one-size-fits-all options. Instead, you need to find the dog food that is right for your dog.
As you spend time with your dog, it is clear that they are an individual. Despite overarching characteristics and individual needs, every dog is unique.
The food you buy should be specifically tailored based on the following traits of your dog:
- Activity level
- General health
These factors all influence the food your dog should eat. Dogs with weight issues or low activity levels need fewer calories.
Also, puppies have very different nutritional needs than adult dogs.
Make sure that you do all you can to figure out what your dog needs. With the many dog food options out there, there is bound to be one that fits you and your pet’s needs.
Choosing the best food for your dog is a challenge. The shelves in the pets stores are filled with more options than you should be expected to comprehend.
But still, as an owner, you need to make a good faith effort to find the best dog food for your pet. This will ensure that they can remain active and healthy.
When in doubt, use the tips in this article to guide you through your dog food shopping experience. Doing so will help you know what to look for next time you are buying dog food.