Giving your dog the best quality dog food will keep her healthy and her coat nice and shiny.
Whether you buy high end specialty dog food with organic or natural ingredients, or make your own pet food from dog food recipes, your dog’s health will reflect your efforts–good or bad.
So how can you make sure that your dog is getting the very best diet that you can give her?
Many veterinarians advise that, if you buy pet food with good ingredients and a label that says that it is “100% complete and balanced”, you will be pretty safe.
However, not everyone agrees…
The best quality dog food
will keep your dog in tip top shape!
Dog Food Ingredients
I think we can all say that the best quality dog food will use high quality ingredients. But that can be tricky.
Dog food companies have been very clever at listing lower quality dog food ingredients used in their formulas. Some ingredients are not familiar to most of us. Others are disguised by big words that don’t sound anything like the true ingredients used.
For example, here are some of the tricky ways that dog treat ingredients may be presented on a dog food package:
Meat or Poultry By-products
These have some nutritional value, but certainly lower than meat or meat meal, which are handled more carefully and are more expensive.
This includes animal body parts that people don’t eat. You dog’s body can’t digest these. When you see this on a label, it includes body parts like feathers, hair, hooves and beaks.
This is just another name for sawdust, and it is not a good source of fiber for your dog. Much better sources include wheat or oat bran or even whole grains.
The Best Quality Dog Food uses Better Ingredients
There is a lot more to giving your dog the best quality dog food than just healthy ingredients. The ingredients must also be combined to form a balanced formula.
However, using good ingredients is a healthy start. Here is a list of healthy dog food ingredients that you should find on the package of the best quality dog food:
Meat or Fish Protein
Look for whole fresh meats or meat meal from a specific source. For example, chicken meal is better than poultry meal. Meat should be the first item listed on the label.
Eggs and cheese are also high quality protein.
Raw Dog Food
You may be familiar with the BARF diet, which is a dog diet with raw meats and other foods. Many people have found that their dogs are quite healthy on a raw food diet. You can get high quality dog foods that are either dehydrated or freeze dried, locking in their raw food nutrients.
Whole Unprocessed Grains
Soy is almost always a GMO crop (genetically modified), and, as such, GMO foods are not healthy for your dog. Organically grown soy is a different story.
Healthy vegetables for dogs include potatoes, peas, green beans, carrots, sweet potatoes, and squash.
The source of the fat should be listed. It should say chicken fat or beef protein instead of a mystery fat that could be anything.
Of course, if a dog food manufacturer uses organic dog food ingredients, all the better.
Special Needs Pets
If your dog has a medical condition or has special dietary needs, or if you have chosen to put your dog on a vegetarian dog food diet, there are cook books available that will help you with making sure that you are giving your dog a balanced diet.
If you are planning to cook for your dog on a regular basis, make sure that you learn about dog nutrition and the requirements for a healthy dog diet.