Dogs are special creatures. Most people consider them to be members of the family. In fact, it would be hard to imagine life without your four-legged friends. After all, they provide comfort, companionship, and unconditional love.
That’s why you try to give your dog everything they need to be happy and healthy. Are you feeding your dog the best food possible? If you’re not sure, then you’ve come to the right place for answers.
This article takes a look at the best types of dog food in order to make sure that they live long and healthy lives. Keep reading to discover all the facts about choosing a dog food.
1. Talk to Your Vet
The first thing you should do is visit your veterinarian. This will give them a chance to provide a nutritional assessment for your dog so that they can identify any special needs that your dog might have.
After all, if you go to your vet for regular checkups, they will know your dog better than anyone, giving them the most informed insight into any dietary concerns that will help keep your dog feeling as healthy and happy as possible.
2. Consider Your Dog’s Age
When it comes to diet, your dog’s age is a very important aspect of choosing the type of food to buy.
Because as your dog ages, their body will have certain calorie requirements that you need to be mindful of. And they cannot have the same portions that they could when they were younger. This is because weight gain is bad for their health.
Your vet can provide guidance for selecting dog foods that are rich in important nutrients, low in fat, high in protein, and yet will offer lean ingredients that will be heart-healthy.
This is important for making sure that your dog receives high-quality calories so that they will have plenty of energy without gaining weight which would slow them down.
3. Breed Is Irrelevant
There are plenty of dog food brands on the market that advertise specific products for every different breed of dog. Believe it or not, this is mostly a marketing trick.
The truth is that size is far more relevant to diet than the breed of the dog. Big dogs have different dietary needs than smaller dogs, but the particular breed of the animal really has little or nothing to do with the type of food they need to remain happy and healthy.
If you have concerns about buying a specific brand of food for your dog based on breed, this is another type that would be worth discussing with your vet. Just keep in mind that the nutrients on the label are the most important aspect of whether or not it’s the right type of food for your furry friend.
4. Protein Is the Most Important Ingredient
When it comes to studying the ingredient’s on the bag or can of food, the key ingredient to pay attention to is protein.
Look for keywords such as kitchen, lamb or beef. Remember, the meat in dog food should always be identified as coming from a specific animal rather than being simply listed as random organs.
Examples of organs to watch out for would be heart, liver, or tripe. This is an indication that the food contained low-quality ingredients, and thus you’d be best to avoid that brand in favor of food containing quality protein.
5. Avoid By-Products
Another thing to remember when reading labels on dog food at your local pet store is to keep an eye out for by-products. Your dog needs quality meats, grain, and vegetables in order to get proper nutrients. And yet many dog foods feature by-products as the main ingredients. But by-products should be avoided whenever possible.
Keep in mind that many quality dog foods do contain by-products or modified protein sources, but these shouldn’t be the main ingredients. Just make it a policy to choose foods that keep by-product continent to a minimum.
6. Complex, Whole Grains Are Great
You’ll also want to look specifically for food labels that list complex, whole grains such as brown rice and wild rice. These are far better for your dog than white rice. You should also avoid corn starch and wheat gluten.
As with humans, including whole grains in your dog’s diet will provide them with a more healthy meal and help them to sustain a more active lifestyle.
7. Avoid Artificial Sweeteners
Just as humans love foods that taste sweet and yummy, dogs love the taste of artificial sweeteners such as corn syrup. Unfortunately, just as with humans, corn syrup is unhealthy and should be avoided.
Artificial sweeteners contain nothing but empty calories, so try to select foods that contain molasses instead. It will still taste great and will be far better for your dog’s overall wellbeing.
8. Dogs with Special Dietary Needs
Many dogs have special dietary needs. This can be especially true as they get older but isn’t necessarily always strictly due to age.
Again, this is where your vet can be very helpful. When your vet identifies specific health concerns in your pet, always be sure to feed them foods that will best support any special dietary needs.
This nutrition guide from Jemelli can help learn even more about what to feed your pet.
9. Check for the AAFCO Label
The AAFCO or Association of American Feed Control Officials is an organization that creates regulations for states and various feed control officials. Food labels that contain the AAFCO stamp of approval can be trusted as containing the highest quality of ingredients available.
10. Variety Is Good for Your Dog
Lastly, don’t be afraid to provide to feed your dog both kibble and canned food. In fact, the variety is good for them as long as you’re providing a balanced diet filled with quality nutrients.
A Guide to the Types of Dog Food to Buy Your Pet
You love your dog. That’s why feeding them the best food possible is so important. Fortunately, this guide to the types of dog food to buy your pet can make your next shopping trip a bit less confusing.
Keep scrolling to view more great pet care tips and advice.