Doggy Dinner: Choosing A Quality Dog Food
With slick advertising, colorful bags, and multiple aisles of different brands, choosing the right food for your dog can be a confusing and daunting task. However, a number of key factors that contribute to making the right decision can be found right on the dog food label!
The first thing to remember when selecting a food for your dog is to completely ignore the bright and colorful pictures on the fronts of the bags! Many dog food bags are designed to attract the attention of the humans seeking them out and use adorable pictures of dogs and appealing colors to give the impression that the contents of the bag are as wonderful as the outside design. In many cases, however, this is not the case and, in fact, this is usually an indication of the exact opposite! Although people are often fooled by cute pictures, clever slogans, and perfectly shaped and colored nuggets of food, the reality is that the most important aspect of any dog food is its nutritional content and not the clever packaging design or delicious-looking nuggets.
One of the best indicators of the quality of a particular brand of dog food is the list of ingredients and, by far, the most important ingredient to look at is the very first one that appears on the list! Generally, the first ingredient comprises between 70% and 80% of the total content of the food and the first three ingredients combined make up 90% to 95% of the food! Dogs are naturally carnivores and, as such, they require their main staple to be some kind of meat in order to achieve optimum health. Therefore, it is always best to choose a food that uses some type of meat as the first ingredient. The best foods will list meats as all three of the first ingredients and others will list one or more ?fillers?, or digestible content that adds little or no nutritional value to the food. Nearly all dog food manufacturers use some kind of filler in their food, such as corn or wheat and the general rule is that the highest quality foods will have the least amount of fillers.
Dog foods can basically be broken down into three separate categories based on nutritional content and quality of ingredients used: Super Premium, Premium, and Generic. Super Premium foods are often manufactured by smaller sized companies and are usually only available in specialized pet stores. They use the highest quality ingredients and have an outstanding nutritional balance that can possibly add years to a dog?s life! Some Super Premium brands include, Royal Canin, Blue Buffalo, and Artemis. Premium foods use good quality ingredients and generally have a proper nutritional balance. Some Premium brands include, Iams, Science Diet, and Nutro. With the exception of Iams, Premium brands can usually only be pound in pet stores. Generic foods are usually the least expensive and the easiest to find (these are the one found in grocery stores, Walmarts, etc). They use the least expensive ingredients and some brands change ingredients frequently, based on meat market prices (this can be very detrimental to a dog?s digestive system, especially in sensitive breeds). Some Generic brands include Pedigree, Alpo, and Beneful.
When choosing a food for your dog, it is important to understand what each brand offers nutrition and quality-wise. With a quick glance at the ingredient label, you can often make a fairly accurate assessment of the quality of any given brand and make the right choice for you and your dog!
About the Author: Learn all about Dogs and Puppies on Don Krnel's site http://www.dogsandpuppies.info