For a lot of busy individuals preparing home cooked meals for their dogs is not really an option. Without going into the kibble vs home cooked meal debate (freshly cooked meals are always better), we reveal the best ways to find a quality dog food for your pet.
The mastery of picking up a pack of good dog food from a gallery of bad ones demands some practice and is not for people who are gullible. If you are someone who decides to pick a dog food based on what’s printed on the front of the bag, then you have a long way to go.
The thing is there are no laws that keep pet food manufacturers from making tall claims. They are free to use labels such as “gourmet” or “natural” on the front as long as the ingredients are listed on the back of the bags. Much like buying any other high-quality vet supplies for dogs, you need to read reviews and do a bit of research. To help you get started, the following 5 tips by veteran dog parents for picking the best dry dog food products.
Pick Products that Have Whole Food Ingredients
Pet food manufacturers are guilty of utilizing ambiguous words and phrases to sneak in poor quality ingredients. For example, a “chicken meal” can contain high percentages of bones and not enough meat. If a dog food has “chicken” “turkey”, “beef” or other whole food protein sources listed as the first ingredient, then it’s a good start. Avoid packages that contain undefined protein sources such as “animal protein”.
Avoid Products Containing Sugar or Artificial Sweeteners
Dogs love sugar as much as we do. However, that doesn’t mean they are good for them. Avoid any food that contains any amount of sugar or artificial sweeteners. The negatives of sugar and the controversy of artificial sweeteners have been well advertised. You want a dog food that’s tasty because it contains quality high-protein ingredients.
Choose Natural Preservatives Over Artificial Ones
Artificial preservatives make dog food products last longer than ones that use natural preservatives. Therefore, a good way to spot a dog food that uses artificial preservatives is by reading the sell-by date. Also, you can check the label to find out the types of preservatives used and then research them separately.
Don’t Overspend Trying to Buy a Grain-Free Dog Food
The notion that grains are nothing but useless fillers is a complete myth. According to AKC, dogs can actually extract vital nutrients from grains. While you don’t want grains to be the primary ingredient, there is no real point buying an expensive grain-free dog food just for the heck of it. Grain-free dog food products are ideal for pets with grain allergies and not something that’s recommended for all dogs. Malnourished or skinny dogs can actually benefit from a slightly higher carbohydrate content. Therefore, speak to a vet before breaking your budget buying a grain-free dog food product.
Be Brand Conscious
There are a lot of things that are not mentioned on the label. One of those things is manufacturing and storage standards. Good brands have stricter quality control standards and thus better products. Research brands by browsing customer reviews and find out which dog food brands deserve your trust.