The Best Dog Food – Learn How to Choose the Best Food for your Dog
When looking for the best dog food there are many variables to consider. No matter what breed of dog you have, there are hundreds of dog food options available. This can provide a significant amount of difficulty when trying to choose the best dog food to meet your standards. There are some simple steps that you can take to help choose a high quality dog food that will best help maintain your dog’s good health.
BEWARE OF PRESERVATIVES
Due to the process involved in creating commercial dog food, some dog food companies will add different preservatives to increase shelf life. However, some of these preservatives can be very harmful to your dog’s well-being, and may cause serious health conditions. Examples of dangerous preservatives for Labrador Retrievers include: Potassium Sorbate, Ethoxyquin, BHA, and BHT. Ethoxyquin in particular has been a subject of debate, with some veterinary studies linking it to potentially serious liver damage. Natural preservatives that are not harmful to your dog’s health include Vitamin C and Vitamin E, though these natural preservatives give your dog food a much shorter shelf life.
PROPER NUTRITIONAL RATIO
A generally applied ratio for your dog’s nutritional needs is a formula that contains 50% vegetables, 40% meat/protein, and 10% (or less) carbohydrates (sugars, grains, starches, etc). However, this guideline has been modified by some dog nutritional specialists, instead suggesting that a dog food contain 70% meat, 30% vegetables, and no carbohydrate ingredients. This is the nutritional philosophy behind dog food companies such as Orijen Dog Food, who have developed their formula using absolutely no grains or starches. If your dog consumes a diet that is high in carbohydrates, this can cause diabetes, as well as obesity. Because your dog’s digestive system is not fully equipped to handle a high-carbohydrate diet, use caution when choosing a dog food that has a high carbohydrate content.
AVOID “FILLER” INGREDIENTS
A filler is something that has been added to your dog’s food to help him feel “full” but contains little to no nutritional value.
Examples of filler ingredients include:
- Citrus pulp
- Corn and wheat
- Seed Hulls
- Animal Digest
Some fillers can actually irritate your dog’s digestive system. So, if you have an older dog or an animal with health problems, feeding a food without fillers may improve his or her health.
To avoid fillers, look at the ingredients on your pet food. While some companies may list real meat as their number one ingredient, they may actually have more fillers, which reduces the ratio of quality ingredients to useless ones.
Just like humans, dogs will respond well to a small amount of variation in their diet. Some veterinary experts recommend that you switch between two or three different dog food brands about once every two months. You should maintain a quality standard for all of your chosen foods, and be sure that each dog food is compatible with your dog’s digestive system (i.e. no regurgitated food!).
There you have it. I hope that these tips have been helpful. Are you familiar with the ingredients in your dog’s food?