Buying Premium Dog Food 101
So you are wondering if the dog food you are feeding is really good for your canine. Maybe you heard that your particular brand of dog food is bad for your dog.
Here I will try to explain what to look for as well as the ingredients and how they measure up to what you are currently feeding. Please keep in mind dog food is essential to their health as for most it is their main source of nutrition.
Some easy tips are:
Do not buy dog food that contains BHT or BHA, they are chemical preservatives and could be harmful. Do not buy food that has by-products in it; these are often left over from is given to the human market. That means by-products could be feet, intestines, necks etc.
Grains that are often difficult to digest like corn, wheat, gluten and soy, are often used as a protein source instead of meat. This is not healthy and in addition can cause allergies.
Now we get into the fun part!
The first 5 ingredients play a significant role in the overall nutritional make up of a dog food
What are the protein sources? I believe the primary source should come from quality animal protein, not vegetable protein or grain. Foods that list 2 or more grains in the first 5 ingredients may have more vegetable protein than animal protein.
What about grains? Two or more grains listed in the first 5 ingredients means your food may have more vegetable protein than animal protein. Grains such as soy, corn, corn gluten and wheat gluten can be difficult to digest, which means less nutrition and more clean up.
Are there by-products? Some manufacturers consider by-products inferior sources of protein and, depending on the source, they can be difficult to digest.
What are the fat sources? Some fats are better than others. We believe the primary fat source in dog food should be animal based because animal fats contain a profile of fatty acids that are easily metabolized and thus are generally more available to the body.
Look for an identifiable animal protein such as “chicken meal” rather a generic term; such as, “poultry meal,” which can contain any fowl (turkey, chicken, geese, etc.).
Some manufacturers use chicken in their pet foods; however, look for Chicken “Meal” Why? Because chicken meat contains a certain amount of moisture in the flesh; however, chicken “meal” is a concentrated source of chicken protein because most of the water has been removed. Therefore, it only stands to reason that you get a greater “protein content” in 1 pound of chicken meal versus 1 pound of chicken.
Make sure your dog food has bacteria cultures (acidophilus) for easy digestion. Look for vegetables and fiber for anti-oxidants protection, vitamins and minerals.