Tips for Picking Healthy Dog Food
Learning how to choose a healthy dog food is imperative for the long-term fitness of your canine companion. While all dog food must meet minimum nutritional requirements in order to be sold, there’s no doubt that some foods are healthier than others.
But which brand is best? A trip down the supermarket aisle will turn up Pedigree dog food, Purina dog food, Iams dog food and many others. There are so many choices that it’s easy for the average consumer to get confused.
That’s why I’ve provided the tips below. By spending a few extra minutes to follow these suggestions, you’ll learn how to choose a healthy dog food. Your pet will love you for it, and he’ll look and feel better than ever.
Beware Of Preservatives
Preservatives have to be added to dog food in order to keep it edible for long periods of time. Be aware, however, that artificial preservatives can sometimes include ingredients which have been found to cause cancer. These include BHT, BHA and Ethoxyquin. If possible, you’ll want to select a dog food which uses Vitamin C or Vitamin E as a preservative.
It should also be noted that economy brands of dog food will often use artificial preservatives. While they’re easier on your wallet, these brands could end up shortening the life of your pet. If financially possible, always try to find a premium brand which meets your dog’s nutritional needs.
Know The Best Nutritional Ratio
For dog food, the best nutritional ratio is 10% grain or other carbs, 40% meat and 50% vegetables. While this information isn’t specifically documented on the product label, try looking at the first five or so ingredients to get a basic idea.
You want at least two of the first five ingredients to be some kind of meat. This could be lamb, turkey, chicken, beef, beef meal, turkey meal, lamb meal or chicken meal.
Avoid animal by-products (such as bones, intestines, heads, chicken beaks, feet, etc.). These are used as filler and have little or no nutritional value.
The following grains are healthy and easily digestible: brown rice, millet, barley, rolled oats and quinoa. Corn, cornmeal, wheat and soy are not easily digestible, and they can sometimes cause your dog to have an allergic reaction.
When changing your dog’s food from one brand to another, make sure that the switch occurs gradually. Sometimes a dog’s digestive system can take a while to get used to something new. Try mixing a bit of the new product with the old. As time goes by, gradually increase the new product and decrease the old. Done properly, the change should take place over the course of a month.
Check With Your Veterinarian
Before changing your dog’s diet, you might want to consider checking with your veterinarian. If your breed of dog has certain dietary requirements, the vet can clue you in.
Check Your Dog’s Stool
If you want to see how your dog’s food is agreeing with their digestive system, try looking at their stool. It should be firm and free of any mucus or blood. Otherwise, your dog is not receiving the proper nutrition.