It can be challenging to choose the best type of dog food for your beloved pet. You need to take quite a few factors into your choice, such as your pet’s age, their breed, their overall health and their level of activity. Older dogs and young puppies have very different nutritional needs, and these needs must be considered when choosing their food. Like humans, dogs will prosper or struggle as a result of their diets. Your job as a pet owner is to give your dog the safest, healthiest life that is possible, and providing the proper nutrition is a key step in providing that healthy life. You should always pay attention to the advice that you receive from your vet. They can analyze your pet’s health and recommend foods that will help your dog remain fit and healthy.
Dry Dog Food Versus Wet Dog Food
The first decision you will need to make, before choosing a specific brand, will be between dry or wet dog food. There are pluses and minuses to both. Dry food tends to be easier to digest and will contain more fiber. Wet food is much easier to chew, especially as the dog gets older. Wet dog food will result in looser stools, meaning that picking up after your dog is a bit more challenging.
Dry dog food is more popular among dog owners. The pieces of food, called kibble, is easier to serve and clean up. It is designed to help your pet’s teeth as well as their diet. The crunchy chewing will loosen the tartar and plaque that appears on all dog’s teeth after a while. This can help cut down on vet bills for teeth cleaning and improve your dog’s dental health.
One downside of dry dog food is that it is easier for the manufacturer to hide fillers and other unwanted ingredients in the food. Make sure that you read the labels closely. Like human food, if you can’t pronounce it, you’re dog probably shouldn’t eat it.
Reading Dog Food Labels
Pay close attention to labels that say no preservatives, artificial colors or flavors added. You don’t want any of these in your pet’s food, but sometimes manufacturers will sneak some in, calling them by different names. Avoid foods that use chemical additives for flavor, they offer no benefit to your dog. Avoid the word “natural”, it has no true meaning when it comes to dog food labeling. It sounds healthy, but any manufacturer can call any product natural, there are no laws defining the work natural when it comes to pet food.
Look for certain colors when it comes to your dog’s food. If the food is truly healthy and made with no preservatives or artificial colors, it should be darker in color, such as earth tones. If it is pale, or green, it probably has a lot of filler or artificial coloring.
Dogs are by nature carnivores and there should be meat in the ingredient list, preferably one of the first ingredients names. Chicken, lamb, beef (such as liver) are excellent sources of protein and iron. Salmon is also a good source of protein and is used quite a bit in of the premium dog foods.
What About A Raw Dog Food Diet?
Many veterinarians will recommend a raw dog food diet for your pet. These diets require more work on your part, and they are more expensive. A healthy, balanced raw food diet will contain a breakdown of 40% meat, 30% fiber and 30% starch. The benefits of this type of diet will be based on the fact that your pet is eating food that is unprocessed and contains no unnatural additives. In addition to meat the diet includes vegetables like carrots, yams and even broccoli. These are great sources of fiber and add some very good vitamins and nutrients to the diet.
Besides being more expensive, a raw diet requires more work for you as a pet owner. You can buy bags of raw food in most pet stores and larger supermarkets, but the cost is sometimes very high. If you prepare the food yourself you will need some time to chop the meats and mix with grains and vegetables. It’s nowhere near as easy as pouring dog food out of a bag into your pet’s dinner bowl.
So, which is best for your dog? Consult your vet, analyze your lifestyle and budget and then start shopping. Just keep in mind that your pet’s health is directly related to the food that you feed them.