With so many brands of dog food on the market today, how do you choose the best one for your dog or puppy? Here’s what to look for when buying dog food.
There are a huge number of dog food brands for sale these days, and many more seem to be coming onto the market. Many of them are backed by extensive advertising campaigns, telling you that they are ‘complete nutrition’ and have all sorts of wonderful ingredients that your dog will love. Often the packaging isn’t much help, either. Again, they all seem to say that theirs is the best, and have pictures of happy dogs to prove it.
There is of course also a huge range of prices and many dog owners use price as a guide for the quality of the food. After all, the more expensive the dog or puppy food the better it must be, right? Well actually, not necessarily.
Some people decide which food to feed their dog based on whether their dog likes it or not. This is not necessarily a good idea. After all, if you asked a child what food they liked the most they would very likely say ice cream, french fries or some other fast food. But would it be in their best interests to give them a diet only of those foods? It is the same with dogs – the food they like may not be the best for them. Not only that, but most dogs will eat virtually anything if their owner goes about things the right way with them.
Ultimately, the only two things you can use to select the best dog food are the ingredients of the food and how well the dog does on it.
As far as ingredients go, unfortunately labels can be very confusing. Find the ingredients list on the package (which can be hard to find, or may be listed in a number of different languages). Avoid anything artificial such as flavorings, colorings, preservatives or other additives. Over time these can definitely be harmful to your dog. Also make sure the the first listed ingredient is a meat, preferably chicken, lamb or poultry. Avoid those which have the first ingredient as a cereal or grain as these are just fillers. Also avoid by-products; these are all the parts of the animal that are not the meat and can contain all sorts of things that do your dog or puppy no good whatsoever.
Once you have selected a dog or puppy food with quality ingredients, try it out with your pet for a few days or weeks. Notice the condition of its coat and see if it gets better or worse. Also look out for signs of scratching or skin irritations which may suggest an allergy to the food.
It is very confusing trying to find the best food for your dog or puppy and there is very little in the way of independent advice available. Every company will of course say that theirs is the best! The above guidelines will go a long way to making sure you have the food that suits your pet the best.