Moist red sores, also known as hot spots, are common occurrences found on dogs. Such irritations can become painful and infected. Feeding your dog a balanced and healthy diet is one of the ways to avoid these pesky lesions. A well-balanced diet can decrease skin problems such as hot spots. The food your dog digests not only benefits their internal organs, but their skin and coat as well.
Knowing what type of kibble to feed your canine friend can be overwhelming! There is no shortage of dog food choices that stores have to offer. Understanding what to look for, however, is the first step in providing your dog with a proper diet. The right dog food will keep your pup’s coat healthy and void him of any skin irritations.
Regulating Adequate Nutrition
The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) is an association of local, state and federal agencies that regulates the sale and distribution of food and drugs for animals. AAFCO was developed to promote animal health and safety, consumer protection and equal business for those producing animal feed. Although they do not test or approve your pet’s food, the AAFCO establishes the standards that companies should meet in order to produce a well-balanced meal. The responsibility to uphold the standards placed by AAFCO lies in the hands of the pet food companies.
The Meaning Of A Product’s Name
“[Meat] Dog Food” – The name of the food will indicate what amount of meat ingredients it contains. If the name of a product begins with a meat, then a minimum of 95% must contain that ingredient. For example, if the name of your dog food is “Chicken Dog Food” it is required to have at least 95% of chicken in it”
“[Meat] Dog Food Formula” – Labels containing words such as “dinner” or “formula” need only 25% or more of that product. So the “Chicken Dog Food Formula” you just purchased for your pet can have anywhere from 25% to 95% of chicken in it.
“[Meat 1] and [Meat 2] Formula” – with two listing ingredients, such as a “Chicken and Fish Formula,” the two meats must equal 25% when combined. When there are two meats listed like this, there must be a higher amount within the food of the one listed first. Therefore, there would be more chicken than fish in the “Chicken and Fish Formula.”
“Dog Food with [Meat]” – When a dog food name contains “with” as opposed to “and”, the ingredient amount is further reduced. A product with the words “Dog Food with Chicken” is required to have as little as 3% of that ingredient.
“[Meat] Flavored Dog Food” – “Flavored” food has the least amount of meat, and it is required to simply contain any amount that is detectable. This is accomplished by using very little meat and additional chicken broth in a product with a name like “Chicken Flavored Dog Food.” As long as the product smells and tastes like the meat, a “flavored” product meets the requirements.
Understanding Nutritional Facts
Always read the nutritional label on your pet’s food; what is the first ingredient? This information is vital because the ingredients are listed in order of the amount contained in the food. So, when a label lists “beef” as the first ingredient and “corn gluten meal” as the second, this means that by weight, there is more beef than corn gluten meal found within the food.
Meat-based items such as chicken, beef, lamb or fish are crucial items that should be the first ingredients listed on the food label to keep your dog healthy. If corn is listed first, toss the bag and upgrade to a higher quality, meat-based product.
By-products found in food are normally not a cause for concern, as they are high in nutritional value. They are portions of an animal not intended to be consumed by humans such as the lungs, kidneys, brain, blood, etc. While by-products are commonly fine in your dog’s food, the nutritional value of fillers is up for debate. They take the place of ingredients with higher nutritional value and can lead to weight and health issues.
Some experts believe that not all fillers are bad and, if given the appropriate amount, can complete your dog’s well-balanced diet. Healthy fillers can include ingredients like rice and corn whereas MSG and corn syrup are not good for dogs to consume. Fillers should be listed at the bottom of the ingredients list to ensure that your pet is receiving an adequate portion.
To further prevent hot spots on dogs, as well as other skin and health problems, it is wise to give your pet a dietary supplement of omega fatty acids. This will give your dog a healthy coat while avoiding further issues with hot spots.
Finding The Right Food
Although there are many ways to prevent hot spots on dogs, feeding them a complete and well-balanced diet is the best way to ensure that they are healthy both inside and out. By reading the labels and understanding the facts, you will surely be able to find the right food for your canine friend.