How to Buy Dry Dog Food
Good dry dog food can be a source for a healthier life. Dog food is regulated by the FDA and AAFCO but if you take the time to inform yourself on the best ingredients you will certainly improve the health of your pets.
Since there are so many options on the market, the best approach is to look for products which are responsibly sourced. This means it has to have good ingredients from actual food sources which are as natural as possible. Because dogs need quality ingredients the same way humans do.
The key nutrition facts
If you want to find the best balance the dry dog food you will need to look for some general guidelines. You can start with AAFCO guidelines which recommend:
- A minimum of 18% protein
- 5% fat
- Vitamins and Minerals
As you can see the building block of dry dog food comes with protein. But protein can come from all types of sources and this means you will have to look for meat sources to get the most return on investment. If the main stated ingredient is a meat source such as poultry, beef or fish, you can consider the food as a quality alternative. This is especially true when you compare the ingredients to vegetable sources such as soy protein which is much cheaper to grow. Of course, protein variation can have a huge impact on the overall health of dogs which usually need a balanced nutrition with plenty of protein to fuel their bodies.
Fat is also essential for a healthy body. Good fats can be consumed in moderate amounts and can represent 5% from dry dog foods. It plays an essential role in the body`s immune system. This is why dogs in cold areas of the world are usually fed higher quantities of fatty foods.
Fiber is again essential for the overall health of your pet. Since you may not even consider at as being essential, you have to realize that it plays an important role in the development and maintenance of a good digestive system. Since dry food can represent the main source of food for your pet, you need to look for ingredients which clearly state fiber sources. Good fiber sources can come from vegetable or even fruit, so you might consider some dry foods which contain at least some fiber to aid digestion.
Vitamins and minerals are essential, especially while the pet is healthy. Many dog owners only consider vitamins while the dog has a health issue. This is why you need to naturally build up vitamins and minerals in the dog by ensuring the foods come with some of these nutrients. Of course, there are many types of vitamins and minerals. Generally speaking, dogs will need similar vitamins to a human. This is why you can look for foods which offer balanced vitamins and minerals instead of specifically focusing on a single vitamin. Since some foods advertise a certain vitamin, it doesn`t mean that the food is not good, but on the long-term, the pet would benefit more from having a balanced meal every day.
Carbohydrates are also essential for dogs. Unlike cats, dogs can actually digest carbohydrates due to the enzymes in their stomach. So what are some good carbs sources? In general, you should be looking for complex carbohydrates such as grains. This is why some professionals recommend grains together with meats as the second ingredient to aid with digestion.
What to avoid
This is where things might start to get complicated. Just as humans, dogs can be subject to many diseases and conditions such as obesity. This is why you need to be careful with ingredients such as sugar and potassium as you want your dog to live a long and healthy life.
Sugar is highly avoidable in all foods. If you want to look for the best foods you should not consider those alternatives which come with sugar in the ingredients list. Make sure your dogs are obesity-free by limiting the sugar intake as much as possible. It will also benefit the teeth in the long term if you keep sugar away as much as possible.
Potassium intake can also have a detrimental effect on the overall health of the pets. Since potassium can retain water it is not a good idea to feed the dogs such ingredients. They might come with some sauces which are have added potassium and sugar to improve taste. This is why you will have to look for these ingredients and try to avoid them as much as possible.
How to change a dog`s food intake
Any dog owner will know the struggle of changing the diet for their pets. Some pets might quickly accept the new types of food and in this case you will have no problems to worry about. But if your dog does not like the types of foods you give them, you will have to slowly insert them into their daily nutrition. You can do this in time and it can even take a few months for them to fully accept the new food sources.
If you`re unsure about why your pet is not accepting the new dry food source you may need to talk to a veterinarian. In some cases, some foods can also come with some side effects and this is why you need to monitor the reactions of the pet while you first change the diet.
In the end, it is important to consider that not all dry dog food is created equal. Every company has its own recipe and guidelines and this is why you will need to read the label and the ingredients of a new product when you first purchase it. Even if you shop online, you should still be able to access the full list of ingredients for each product. Nothing is more important than the health and vitality of your dog and this is primarily influenced by food options.