Texans love their dogs.
We treat our pets like family members, and try to provide as great a life for them as we would our own children, because in a way, that’s what they are. And one way we take care of our family is by making sure they eat well. Feeding your dog high-quality food may be one of the best things you can do to keep your canine healthy and fit. In fact, the best dog foods can strengthen your pet’s immune and digestive system, keep their skin and hair coat looking shiny, and help maintain an active lifestyle. Unfortunately for owners, choosing the healthiest kibble or wet food can be a challenge.
Dogs have different nutritional needs than humans, and without the same regulatory oversight or label requirements, understanding what each product or brand is offering can be difficult without research. Below, we will discuss the basics of how to pick the best dog food on the market. We’ll also suggest you check out this helpful resource to find a top-rated brand for your pet.
Knowing What’s In the Best Dog Food Products
One thing that confuses most consumers trying to buy good quality food is labeling. Vague terms like “organic,” “holistic,” and “natural” aren’t clearly defined. Brands can use these terminologies in any way they want, often as an excuse to charge higher prices. Similarly, most owners will have noticed phrases like “dinner,” “platter,” “entrée,” “with beef,” and “flavors.” In the pet food industry, each of these has a different meaning. Decipher them here:
• If a food says it contains a single ingredient, it must be composed of at least 95% of that ingredient, excluding water.
• “Beef,” “chicken” or “fish” indicates at least 70% composition.
• Terms like dinner, platter and entrée denote at least 25% of the ingredient.
• Using the word “with” a specific ingredient (e.g. “with chicken”) means only 3% of the named ingredients are required.
• “Flavor” (such as “salmon flavor”) signifies just enough of the product to flavor it, usually less than 3%.
Moreover, if your pet has a sensitive stomach or skin allergies, you’ll want to pay attention to specific types of grains mentioned. Most vets agree that whole grains are acceptable, but corn, wheat and soy are common allergens and fillers that should be avoided.
Nutritional Adequacy Statement
This statement on your dog’s food packaging will usually indicate that the product is complete and balanced for a particular life stage. Because a puppy has different nutritional needs than an older dog, the statement can tell you whether the food is ideal for growth, reproduction, adult maintenance, etc. Choosing the right product for your dog’s life stage is crucial to providing him the proper diet.
Review the Guaranteed Analysis
Almost all dog foods in the United States print a “Guaranteed Analysis” on the label. This analysis lists the minimum amount of protein and fat, by percentage, as well as the maximum amount of crude fiber and moisture. Because moisture can skew the comparison between different products or between dry and wet food, look for a list converted to a dry matter basis. Beware that, while a guaranteed analysis gives a measure of nutrient breakdown, it cannot measure the quality of the sources.
A Dog Food Guide To Help
If this seems like too much to remember when shopping online or at the pet store, it can be handy to refer to a checklist to refresh your memory. We’re pet health enthusiasts at Dog Food Genius, and have put together this comprehensive best dog food guide. In it, you will find interesting facts on how much Americans spend on their dogs, statistics on canine weight and obesity, a breakdown of what nutrients dogs need, a list of bad ingredients to watch for, and more!