Feeding your dog a nutritionally-balanced diet is one of the best ways to protect their health. With so many different brands and styles of pet food available, however, it can be hard to know which options are best. Below, you can find helpful advice on choosing dog food for your pet that will help them stay healthy and strong for life.
1. Understand the caloric and nutritional needs of your pet.
Every dog is different in terms of the number of calories that they require and the type of nutrition that they need. A senior dog who spends most of his time laying around on the couch doesn’t need nearly as many calories as an active young pup who is not only still growing but also spends most of his time running, jumping, and playing.
Certain health conditions can also affect the nutritional requirements of your pet. For instance, if your dog has diabetes, they may need to eat specific types of food to provide better control over their blood sugar levels.
The best way to know exactly what your pet needs is to talk to your vet. Based on your dog’s age, activity level, breed, and health, your vet can help you come up with a diet that is perfectly suited to their needs. Once you know how many calories your dog needs to eat and what types of food are best, you can then begin comparing different brands to find out which one he prefers.
2. Learn how to read pet food labels.
Along with reading the ingredient list, you should also learn more about how pet food is labeled. For instance, there is a difference between dog foods that are labeled as chicken, chicken dinner, and chicken flavor.
When a single word like “chicken” is used in the name of the food, it means that 95% of the food (apart from the water content) has to be made up of that ingredient. If the name includes extra words like “dinner”, only 25% of the food has to be made up of that protein source. If the name of the food includes the word “flavor”, it probably only contains a very slight trace of that ingredient. Based on this, it is best to go with foods that have a single ingredient in their name since they generally have fewer fillers.
3. Look for food that is primarily made of meat.
When choosing a dog food, read the label carefully to make sure that meat is the first ingredient. From a nutritional standpoint, meat is a far superior protein source when compared to grains like corn. That is not to say that corn is necessarily bad for dogs. However, it shouldn’t be the first ingredient on the list. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that grains are bad. Most dogs don’t require grain-free foods unless they have allergies to specific ingredients.
Choosing dog food can be quite complicated. There are a lot of different brands and styles on the market. The key is to look for high-quality food that is not only appropriate for your dog’s age and activity level but also provides them with all of the nutrition that they need.