5 Quick Tips To Help You Choose The Best Dog Food
You love your dog, and you want them to be as happy and healthy as possible. Well, one of the most important choices you have to make as their owner is what kind of food you’re going to feed them.
Choosing a dog food is important because unlike humans (who eat something different for every meal), most dogs eat the same food day after day after day. And that means that if you choose an inferior type of food, any problems with that food will become more and more pronounced over time.
Here at Miracle Vet, we sell a super premium dog food that is, we believe, the healthiest dog food ever created. But whether you choose to use our dog food or not, we still wanted to help give you some tips on some things to be on the lookout for to help you choose the best dog food for your dog.
Tip #1: Make Sure The Food Is Appropriate For Your Dog’s Age & Breed
Dogs have different nutritional needs at different times in their life. A puppy, for example, has different needs from an adolescent dog, which has different needs from an older dog. And some dog foods are not nutritionally complete enough to be appropriate for all dogs, all the time.
Think of it this way: you wouldn’t feed baby food to a teenager, just like you wouldn’t feed steak to an infant. And it’s the same way with dogs. You have to feed them food that is appropriate to their age.
Now, there are some highly nutritious dog food formulas that you can feed dogs of any age. The only way to tell if a dog food meets these qualifications is to look for this statement:
All life stages formula. Formulated for puppies & adults.
An “all life stages formula” means that this dog food is very nutritionally sound and will be a good choice for puppies and adults alike.
If the food does NOT contain that statement, then you’ll want to do a little more digging to make sure it’s a good choice for your dog. And keep in mind, even if that food is appropriate now, you may not be able to feed your dog that food for the rest of their life.
Tip #2: Ignore The Marketing And Read The Ingredients Label
Walking down the dog food aisle at a Petsmart can be a confusing and exasperating experience. Just about every single bag on the shelf has a picture of a happy dog on it, and promises health benefits and delicious flavors.
Could all dog foods really be that wonderful?
The answer, unfortunately, is no. They’re not. But you wouldn’t know that by looking at the packaging. Just about everything you see or read on that packing is some form of marketing that’s created to make you want to buy that dog food.
It can also be extremely misleading.
For example, if you see the phrase “with salmon” on the package, how much salmon do you think is included in that food? Legally, the food only has to have 3% salmon in order to include that phrase. So you might end up buying a dog food thinking that it’s full of healthy salmon...and the truth is, it has almost no salmon at all.
It’s frustrating. I know.
Luckily, there’s something else you can do—something much better than trying to make sense of all the marketing on the package. And that is to simply read the ingredients list.
The ingredients list doesn’t lie. It tells you all the ingredients present in that dog food, listed in order of weight. So the #1 ingredient in the list is present in the highest quantities, and the last ingredient in the list is present in a very tiny quantities.
Tip #3: Look For A Real Named Meat Or Meat Meal
Now that you know to ignore the marketing and look at the ingredients, let’s talk about the #1 most important thing to look for on that ingredients label:
A real, named meat or meat meal as the #1 ingredient.
Dogs are primarily carnivorous, which means they will be happiest and healthiest when eating a primarily meat-based diet. So meat should always be the #1 ingredient on the label.
Keep in mind, some low-quality dog foods may skimp on the meat because it’s more expensive. But is that really the kind of food you want to feed your precious dog?
Another thing you want to look for is a named meat. In other words, the label should specify what animal the meat came from. Is it chicken? Steak? Salmon?
If the label doesn’t say, then it’s likely that the food is full of low-quality meat from a variety of sources. That’s not what you want.
Also keep in mind that if you’re feeding your dog a dry kibble (as opposed to wet canned food), you should look for a meat meal. So instead of “chicken” as the first ingredient, you want the label to say “chicken meal.” The word meal simply means that the water has been removed from the meat, leaving it much more concentrated.
A dry food that is not based on meat meal runs the risk of not having enough protein for your dog.
Tip #4: Avoid These Red-Flag Ingredients
Now that we’ve mentioned what you want to see at the top of the ingredients label, let’s talk about a few of the things you DON’T want to see on there:
- Meat by-products. It’s almost impossible to know what is actually included in these “by-products.” It could include bones, feet, or any other part of the animal. Yuck.
- A generic fat source like “animal fat.” Once again, this could be just about anything. It could even be recycled grease from restaurants. A named fat source, like “beef fat,” would be better than a generic source.
- Artificial colors. Your dog doesn’t care what color his or her food is, so why put these chemicals in their body?
- Artificial flavors. Think about it this way: why would a company they have to add artificial meat flavor to their food…unless it didn’t contain enough real meat?
- Artificial preservatives. Ideally, your dog food will be preserved with something natural like ascorbic acid (vitamin C) or tocopherols (vitamin E). The artificial kind, like BHT, BHA, or ethoxyquin, are much worse for your dog. (Keep in mind, however, that the natural preservatives don’t last as long. So you’ll need to make note of the expiration date.)
Tip #5: Research The Company Manufacturing The Food
Finally, it can’t hurt to learn a little more about the company behind the dog food—because often, what you learn about the company can go a long way in telling you about the quality of the food itself.
Do you want to give your money to a huge faceless company that only cares about profits? Or would you rather support a smaller, dedicated company that is passionate about improving the health of our pets?
Here are a few things that we believe are important to look for in any dog food manufacturer:
- Vet-approved formulas. This shows that the company has taken the time to consult with a veterinarian to make sure their formulas are healthy.
- Made in the USA. Not only does this mean you are supporting local businesses, but American companies also face stricter quality guidelines than many other countries.
- Made in an FDA & GMP registered facility. These stamps of approval show that the company is up-to-date with all the latest good manufacturing processes.
A Dog Food You Can’t Go Wrong With
I hope these tips have helped you in your dog food selection! Now if your head is still swimming at all the many things to think about when choosing a dog food, let me recommend one dog food you can always feel great about:
This food represents the highest-quality ingredients and the absolute best nutrition available for your dog, anywhere. Every serving is full of delicious whitefish & duck and over a dozen nutritious vegetables. We even include joint support right in the food, and best of all—everything is cooked at low temperatures using proteination-chelation, which means all the nutrients are 36% more easily absorbed than other dog foods.
So what are you waiting for? Give our super premium dog food a try!