When it comes to unconditional love from a dog, nothing compares. With that said, dogs are dependent on humans on everything from when to be taken to the vet to how and what they are fed. This in turn, keeps a bond between the animal and the owner that is unprecedented. Therefore, it is natural that an owner would want the healthiest and best dog food for their canine friend.
With a plethora of options, picking the best dog food for your dog can be an overwhelming experience. For example, alone searching for dog food at Petco results in over 1,200 choices. With that said, which is the best, why is it the best, and how do you decide? Let’s walk you through how to decide the best dog food for your dog.
7 Ways to Pick the Best Dog Food
The Label Is Key
In this modern day and age, reading the label of your many favorite foods and snacks has become secondary nature. There is a wide variety of consumer information when it comes to nutrition, therefore, it is extremely important to be informed as to which foods are the best for you. The same goes for your dog, and since your dog can’t read (although it would be a cool trick), it is vital that you read the packaging label. In the United States, products must meet the nutritional guidelines that dictate the percentage of macronutrients (fats, proteins, and carbohydrates) in a general serving of food. The good thing is that dog food makers must contain the “guaranteed analysis” according to the American Association of Feed Control Officials.
Many companies will take the extra measure of guaranteeing that their food is complete and has a full nutritional serving by conducting “feed tests” with actual dogs. With this, you gain an extra boost of confidence that the food you are buying is the best.
Notice Your Dogs Reactions
Of course, your dog’s opinion is the most important when picking out dog food. Therefore, have your dog try numerous different dog foods and see how your furry friend reacts. Chose a dog food that your dog enjoys, that also has the best nutritional benefits. Keep in mind, the cheaper the dog food the less nutrients and organic the dog food will be.
Check The Ingredients
Now that you are aware to check for macronutrients, it is important to ensure your dog is receiving the daily dose of vitamins and minerals for healthy living. Like we said before, the less expensive the food, the lower-quality ingredients it will have. It makes sence, a yummy filet mignon is more expensive than a Big Mac! With that said, always check that the ingredient list has as many “whole” ingredients as possible.
However, one of the hardest ingredients for a dog manufacturer to include in their dry food is omega-3 fatty acids. Therefore, to ensure your dog is receiving the needed dose of Omega-3, you can give it to your dog in the form of oil capsules or liquid as a healthy supplement in any dog’s diet.
When it comes to research, the internet is you friend. Therefore, if you are planning on buying a specific food for your dog, conduct proper research on the company and check their reviews. It is extremely important to get to know your dog’s food manufacturer. The reason for this is because less-than-perfect manufacturing processes have been used by almost every company in the past and it has resulted in pet food recalls. Don’t be alarmed, however, research is your best friend in the case. Read the reviews and check for the answers to these key questions about pet food companies.
- Did they ever have a food recall?
- Do they use organic products?
- Are they manufactured by companies overseas?
- Are they sourced by companies overseas?
- How did they respond when they were going through their pet food recall?
- Did they communicate it openly to consumers and veterinary professionals?
You can see a list of all pet food recalls here – provided by the American Veterinary Medical Association.
Treats Do Not Count
This may be obvious, however many dog owners will confuse treats for actual food. Treats do not have the complete and balanced proportions of nutrients and macronutrients that animals require. Therefore, it is important to give your animal more food than treats!
Is Raw Food Okay?
The movement towards giving your dog raw meat has gained significant movement in the past couple of years. Although it is not recommended due to the possibility of bacterial contamination for both the dog and the human preparing the food, many owners have sworn that they have noticed significant benefits for their dog. With this said, you can now buy prepared raw meat for your dog, if you prefer to use a more “secure” route.
NOTE: Boiling chicken has also been a great alternative to conventional dog food.
Is Grain-Free Healthier?
The recent trend of “going” grain-free has sparked a debate as to whether or not it is equally healthy for an animal. Dog food companies have responded to the recent “gluten-free” trend by giving dog owners the option of having their furry friend go gluten-free as well. With this said, many humans have reported benefits of less bloating, more energy, etc. when it comes to a grain-free diet. With this in mind, the same may go for your dog. If your dog is experiencing certain sensitivities after a grain-filled meal, flatulence, nausea, or any other symptoms, it may be time to consider a more digestible diet that contains no or few grains.
Your Dog’s Health Is In Your Hands
Ultimately your furry friend is dependent on you to pick the best dog food. Therefore, it is vital that you conduct proper research and get to know your dogs likes and dislikes. It is important to get to know the brand, ingredient list, and manufacturing process. With that, you are soon on the road to a healthy, happy, and loving dog that loves the food you put in front of him or her. Your dog is your best friend, and the way to your best friends heart is through food. So, pick the best dog food for your dog!