There are a million and one articles out there packed with information on how to pick a good dog food brand. Unfortunately, the more information they provide, the more overwhelming these articles can be, and pet owners quickly get confused. This only makes choosing truly good dog food brands a more complicated process.
The complex process of choosing dog foods…
When it comes to your dog’s health, it’s better to be proactive than reactive. The best way to keep your dog in tip top health is to feed him a diet that is completely balanced and meets all of his unique nutritional needs. But, with so much misinformation, fake claims and controversies surround the pet food industry, shopping for good dog food brands can be tricky and will turn into a frustrating task if you don’t do the proper research.
To begin your research for the top dog food brand, your veterinarian is the best resource. But, there are also other ways to evaluate a brand’s quality and whether it is appropriate for your pooch. You need to keep in mind that this isn’t going to be a one-time thing. It’s something that you will need to do many times over the course of your pet’s life.
Studies show how you need to feed your dog based on his life stage. Puppies, senior dogs, active dogs, overweight/obese dogs and dogs with certain health conditions all have unique nutritional needs. There are other variables that come into play in determining the type of food you should feed your pet as well. For example, as your dog grows and develops, his nutritional requirements will need to change too.
Not all dog foods have the same quality, and even good dog food brands may not be what your Fido needs due to health concerns, his activity level, age or size. Every dog food company will do their best to make their meals sound healthy and nutritious, which is why it is so important for consumers to educate themselves and understand dog food labels properly.
Whenever you decide to switch your dog’s diet, discuss the change with your veterinarian. They can evaluate your dog and help you choose good dog food brands that will meet your pet’s needs and fit your budget.
28 Rules for Picking Good Dog Food Brands
1. Evaluate your dog
Construct a profile of your dog with their age, health, activity level, and allergies.This profile will help you to narrow down good dog food brands to find one that suits your dog’s individual needs.
2. Look for meat or meat meal as the first ingredient
Ingredients are listed according to weight and weight is affected by the water content. Meat or meat meal should always be the first listed ingredient in a good quality food.
3. Avoid animal by-products
Animal by-products are any parts of an animal that are not considered meat and have not been rendered. Although the AAFCO has strict governing standards over non-rendered animal by-products, any food containing by-products is being made with sub-par ingredients and should be avoided.
4. Grain-free or not grain-free?
Not all dogs require or thrive on a grain-free diet. If your dog has shown no history of grain sensitivities, don’t shy away from grain containing foods. Different types of grains offer fiber content and health benefits that may be missing from grain-free foods.
5. Pay attention to the types of grains in grain-containing foods
If you are buying a food that isn’t grain-free, look for grains that offer better nutrition and longer lasting levels of energy. This is simply a matter of complex carbohydrates vs simple carbohydrates. For example, whole grains, oatmeal, brown rice, wild rice, fruits, and vegetables are all complex carbohydrates and beneficial as a dog food ingredient.
6. Double check the AAFCO statement on the food packaging
All dog foods must be labeled according to AAFCO standards. This label tells you what nutrition profiles the food is suited for. For example, a food approved for maintenance is fine for the average adult dog, however, a growing puppy would not receive adequate nutrition from this food. A puppy would require a food approved for all life stages including growth.
7. Research good dog food brands
With worrisome recalls always at the back of our minds, familiarize yourself with every one of the good dog food brands you are considering. Keep an eye on brands with recalls, and lean towards brands that have not had any. Some questions to consider include:
- Have they been a part of any recent recalls?
- Have they been part of a single recall or do they have a long history of recalls?
Don’t forget to take the lifespan of the company into consideration when considering their recall history.
8. Choose foods made in America or Canada
Choose a food that is made in America or Canada to ensure better quality control than foods made in other, less regulated, countries. Beware that there are fake “Made in USA” dog food labels, and research the company for sourcing of ingredients.
9. Look for ingredients sourced in reputable countries
Foods that are made in America or Canada are not necessarily made with ingredients sourced from those countries. Look for foods that have ingredients sourced in countries with a reputation for quality products. For example, lamb sourced from New Zealand. Ingredients sourced from disreputable countries may be tainted or of poorer quality.
10. Shop small breed foods for small dogs
Small breed dogs have different nutritional requirements and a prevalence towards different health conditions than…