How picky are you when choosing your dog food? Do you spend as much time thinking about their nutritional needs as you do your own? If not, you could be making a big mistake and your dog may not be getting the nutrition they need to remain healthy.
Feeding your dog a high quality food will have multiple benefits:
- Their coat will be healthy and shiny.
- His immune system will remain strong.
- Her digestive system will remain healthy.
The options available when shopping for dog food are endless. Between wet, dry, all natural, organic, whole food, and any other number of options it can be overwhelming. Below are 7 things to look for when buying dog food.
Know your dog’s allergies or sensitivities to certain ingredients.
This can be difficult to do, but chances are you’ve given them dog food in the past that didn’t sit well in their tummy. What were the main few ingredients in that food? Chances are it was one of those ingredients. If you don’t know what your dog is sensitive to, just keep an eye on the food your feeding them and see if they have any issues.
Read the ingredient label on the dog food.
Ingredients are listed in order by weight. You want high quality ingredients and very few if any fillers. Treat this like any you treat your food at home. If you can’t pronounce the ingredient, chances are it’s not great for your dog. Here’s an example of a high quality dog food with a clean ingredient list. You will notice a lot of vitamins and minerals along with some healthy bacteria for their digestive system.
To grain or not to grain, that is the question.
Many dog foods contain grain, which also means gluten. Some dogs do not do well with grain, so keep this in mind. Gluten intolerance in dogs is pretty rare, so don’t fall for the marketing trap that gluten free food is best for your dog. It goes back to point one about knowing your dog’s sensitivities. Keep in mind grain is much cheaper than meat, and often used as a filler without providing much nutrition.
Know your by-products
A lot of dog food companies advertise that by-products are bad for your dog. The reality is the majority of by-products are things such as organ meat which is perfectly fine for dogs and humans alike. It’s fine to keep these out of your dog’s diet, but don’t fall into the trap that they are automatically bad for your pup.
Get the right food for your dog’s age
Just like people dogs have different nutritional needs at different stages of their life. Make sure you get a dog food that’s appropriate for the stage of life of your dog. If you have a puppy, something like this may be a good choice. If you’re dog’s a senior, try out a formula like this.
Do it the old fashioned way and ask your vet for advice
Don’t hesitate to ask your vet during the next visit what kind of dog food they recommend. Just keep in mind he may recommend brands that he sells at the clinic. Ask specific questions about why that food is best for your dog. Most vets won’t risk their reputations to make a few bucks selling dog food, but some may. Just like the dog food companies who are marketing to you, your vet may be doing the same thing.
Know your brand
Do some homework on the different brands of dog food that meet your requirements and get to know what they are all about. See if their values align with yours. If not, maybe you choose a different brand. Think of this as you think of your own food. Your pet deserves the best dog food you can afford to give them. So don’t take the decision lightly. If you pay attention to these seven things you’ll be off to a great start giving your dog the nutrition they need. It’s never a bad to supplement with vitamins either. If you’re going to use vitamins I’d recommend a liquid vitamin, like this one.