How to Choose Dog Food

How to Choose Dog Food

What to feed my dog This is a common fear when buying a first dog, but it also necessitates some flexibility.

A dog’s food should be balanced and nutritious, as a bad diet can lead to health problems and behaviour concerns.

There is evidence that providing youngsters too much sugary meals and drinks can harm their teeth and health. I recall feeling tremendously hyper as a child after drinking a sugary drink, and our dogs are no exception.

Also, diets containing inferior meat, dyes, and sweeteners may cause unpleasant behaviour in your dog, so be mindful of what you feed them. A better diet may mean fewer vet visits, a longer life for your dog, and less financial stress.

There are so many options for dog food that it’s hard to pick. Big brand names advertised on TV, unique ones only heard about through friends and family, those on sale at your local pet store, and vet recommendations.

You should buy food for your dog’s growth (puppy), adult maintenance, pregnancy/lactation, and senior stages (older dogs). Some foods can be used for your dog’s entire life, but always read labels carefully. Last but not least, consider your pet’s lifestyle, medical issues, and environment.

‘Should I feed dry or wet food?’ However, there are some basic concepts that we should all be aware of when choosing food for our best friend, as they can also directly effect health and behaviour.

Now, let me state that I am not a dog care expert or a nutrition specialist. Only by caring for my own dog Lucy, Lucy, have I had to address concerns about her food consumption and how particular foods affected her behaviour.

Lucy and I met at the Evesham Greyhound and Lurcher Rescue. I was able to adopt her after several visits. I don’t know how long she’s been homeless, but I do know she’s a scavenger. Having to fend for herself for a while certainly influenced her behaviour.

Lucy is a foodie who is also a picky eater. So what else have you got for me?” I’ve often carefully prepared food, set it down, and watched her pick her way around it before walking away and sitting at the kitchen door with that expression.

Leave the food for 5 minutes, then take it away if she hasn’t eaten it. I’d always end up throwing it out. This used to annoy me because the food was good and only £12 per bag!

I’ve always been good to Lucy, never giving her table scraps or any ‘human’ food, but her impatience to wait for something else always got the better of her. I’ve finally found a dish she like and finishes in 30 seconds!

Dogs used to be fed wet food, which is food in a tin or packet. Nowadays, dry kibble or a mix of dry and wet food is the norm. Some individuals feed their dogs a BARF (Biologically Appropriate Raw Food) diet. Basically raw bones, raw flesh, raw vegetables, etc.

I cannot stress enough the importance of reading the contents label on the back of the packet when buying your dog food.

Ingredients are listed by amount. So, if the first component is wheat, you know the food contains mostly wheat. I don’t think dogs should eat wheat because it might cause allergies, and when would a dog prefer a dish of wheat over a steak?

The first ingredient should be pure meat like lamb, chicken, cattle, white fish or salmon. AVOID MEAT MEAL AND BY-PRODU

Ingredient lists frequently begin with meat meal or meat by-products. Now meat or animal by-products are primarily non-meat portions of slain animals. For example, lungs, intestines, brains, blood, and spleen are all ‘human-grade’ and not suited for human eating. Meat and bone meal is also a dubious food source. It is also fed to animals and was originally blamed for BSE spread!

Make sure the food you provide your dog is free of sugar. Sugar is not needed in dog food. Sugar is added to make the food more appealing, but it does nothing for your dog except perhaps make them energetic, overweight, and possibly cause difficulties later in life. No to additives and preservatives.

Some businesses try to colour their food to make it more enticing, but this does nothing but make the dog hyperactive and perhaps carcinogenic.

If we directly compare two different dog food brands, we can see how much they differ. I won’t name the brands, but it illustrates my points. Keeping in mind that the initial few elements are crucial to the final product.

For example, cereal (above) against deboned chicken (below); meat and animal derivatives versus dehydrated chicken and deboned salmon. The food at the top has additional sugars and EC additives, but the food at the bottom has none. Which one would I rather feed my dog?

Brands of Dog Food

Various carbohydrates; minerals; veggies (minimum 4 percent vegetables in the green and yellow kernels). Antioxidants, colourants, and preservatives from EC.

Top Dog Food Brands

Deboned chicken (25%) dehydrated chicken (17%) deboned salmon (10%) dehydrated turkey (7%) dehydrated herring (7%) russet potato; pea; sweet potato; deboned turkey (3%) whole eggs (3%) chicken liver (2%) deboned lake whitefish (2%) deboned walleye (2%) alfalfa; pea fibre; chicken fat (2%) organic kelp

For example, if your dog exhibits excessive activity or has any other behavioural difficulties, it may be worth looking at the ingredients in their food.

Just as we people should scrutinise our diet, so should our dogs.

It’s typically best to give your dog six to eight weeks to adjust to a new food. Look for a beautiful coat and a healthy pet. If the dog has huge faeces or diarrhoea, he may have digestive issues. Try another food if your dog has skin, ear, joint, or other issues.

Wheat, sugars, colourants, and additives are clearly unhealthy elements. I’ve just scraped the surface here, but I hope I’ve given you something to think about, or at least made you think about the food you’re feeding.


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