Paw parents have many questions when it comes to feeding their dogs. Even if they’ve had other dogs for a while, they still look into dog food advice and feeding tips.
This is because each dog is different. Just like how each person has unique nutritional needs, the same is true with dogs. Dog parents tend to doubt if they’re feeding their dogs the right kind of dog food or if they’re feeding them the right way.
1 – Ask Your Veterinarian
Talk to your vet. They can give you expert suggestions when it comes to choosing the right dog food for your pet.
This is especially helpful if your dog has a health condition or food restrictions.
2 – Meat Ingredients Must Come First
Look at the ingredients list and check if animal meat is one of the first three mentioned.
The ingredients are listed in order of their weight. So if “meat” or “meat meal” is at the top of the ingredients, you know a big percentage of the product is meat protein, which your dog should have a lot of.
3 – Look for Whole Vegetable Ingredients
Just like our food, the more whole, the better. Likewise, the more broken down and processed food is, the more nutrients are lost.
In this case, you wouldn’t want them to be among a dog food’s first ingredients since it means there are other ingredients mixed with it (like fats, sodium, or sweeteners). In other words, the integrity of the vegetables has already been compromised.
4 – Look for the Nutritional Adequacy Statement
Next, check the dog food packaging for any of these statements:
- “formulated to meet all life stages”
- “formulated to meet growth and reproduction”
- “intermittent and supplemental feeding . . .”
- “provides complete and balanced nutrition for . . .”
Nutritional adequacy or AAFCO (the Association of American Feed Control Officials) statements will tell you the essential things you need to know about a product.
This statement also tells you for which age the dog food is appropriate and if it contains all the necessary nutrients your pet needs.
5 – Avoid These Ingredients
Steer clear from dog food products that contain these ingredients:
- Added sweeteners
- Artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives
- Animal fat or generic fat sources
- Meat by-products
6 – Check How Well Your Dog Digests It
Observe your dog’s poop as well as their feeding schedule. Their poop can tell you how well their bodies are taking the dog food you give them.
Generally, a healthy dog stool is moist, firm, and can keep its form when you scoop it up. If your dog’s poop isn’t like this, don’t worry too soon, especially if you’ve just changed their dog food.
But if it’s consistently too dry, wet, or looks (and smells) unusual, it’s time to get in touch with your vet.
7 – Good-Quality Dog Food Comes with a Price
An expensive price tag is not a guarantee that a brand is the best dog food in the market. But good-quality dog food doesn’t come cheap either. After all, they come from fresh and well-chosen ingredients.
Bottom line: Don’t go broke buying your dog good food. Just get the best dog food you can find that’s still within your budget range.