Pets

How to pick the best dog food – and what to avoid!

best dog food

Image via: Pexels

This guide outlines how to choose the best dog food for your best furry friend, and what you should avoid buying!

What you feed your dog throughout their life will impact their health, energy level, longevity, and happiness. As a dedicated pet owner, you need to know how to choose the right dog food for your furry friend. Should you choose big-name brands or holistic puppy food, or is a raw diet better?

How to choose the best dog food

While choosing the best dog food can seem confusing, keep reading for some tips and guidance to help you choose the right food for your dog.

Avoid Kibble

You should never serve an important member of your family highly processed, dried kibble. Even ”premium” kibble products include numerous indigestible ingredients, chemicals, and preservatives. 

Do Plenty of Research

The internet is full of helpful information about finding quality, healthy dog food. Just be sure the information is based on a credible source. Reputable dog food companies will belong to organizations such as the Association of Food Control Officials. You can go to this website to find the ingredients in most dog foods to see what to consider and what to avoid when you want to pick the best dog food.

Ensure All Ingredients Are USDA Certified

Avoid foods labeled “human quality” or “human grade.” These are simply marketing labels and don’t have any type of legal meaning. Instead, to select the best dog food, it’s best to choose foods that are made from high-quality meats and fresh produce that is certified and approved by the USDA.

Look for Foods With Minimal Ingredients

Bigger isn’t always better when it comes to ingredients. If it’s virtually impossible to determine what is in your pet’s food, it may be time to find one that isn’t heavily processed and is highly recommended as one of the respected choice for the best dog food.

Choosing a simple diet for your pet offers a lot of advantages. There are fewer ingredients to break down, and it’s also easier on their digestive system and less likely to trigger an immune response, which may cause inflammation. 

If a pet has a prolonged immune system response, it can cause cases of chronic inflammation. Over time, this is extremely damaging to their body and may even become life-threatening.  

Avoid Foods With Fillers and Preservatives

Labels on popular dog food brands are often misleading, and some ingredients in dog food can be extremely harmful to your dog. For example, there’s a chance that peanut shells may show up on the dog food labels as a vegetable fiber. Unfortunately, they don’t add very much nutritional value.

Know the Signs You Should Switch Foods

Pet allergies may occur when you have been feeding your dog the same food for years and never had an issue. However, some studies show that if a dog eats the same type of meal (with the same protein source) for long periods of time, they may develop a sensitivity or not be able to digest the protein any longer. This may show up as gastrointestinal distress, rashes, or itchy skin.

If you notice these issues, it’s a good idea to try an elimination diet, which will help you find the source of the problem. For suspected sensitivities or allergies, try feeding by exclusion. This means you remove specific ingredients to determine which one triggers the immune reaction..

Consider Your Dog’s Special Dietary Needs  

While the above guidelines are important, you also need to consider your dog’s dietary needs in selecting the best dog food specifically for them. For example, do they have a health issue that requires special food? Some of the most common issues you can address with the right food include:

Food Allergies

Consider hypoallergenic dog food recipes made without the irritating ingredient for dogs with allergies. Choosing foods with minimal ingredients is a wise decision.

Kidney Failure

Modern dog foods are made for almost any health concern your dog may have, including kidney failure. If you aren’t sure what is the best dog food to support this health concern, talk to your vet.

Weight Control

Too many dogs of all ages become overweight because they are fed the wrong types or amounts of food. You can avoid this by using a weight control formula. Just make sure to follow the guidelines above when choosing it. Be sure to consider your pet’s digestive system when choosing their food. 

Age

Puppies, adult dogs, and senior dogs all have unique dietary needs. It’s best to choose a specially formulated dog food to ensure the dog’s health needs are considered, based on their age. 

Talk to Your Dog’s Vet

The food you choose will impact their health, happiness, and quality of life. If you aren’t sure what formula or type of food to use, consider talking to your dog’s vet. They can provide expert advice about the best food for your dog’s unique needs. 

Keeping your dog healthy and happy

There are more than a few things to consider when choosing the best dog food for your dog’s need. When you follow these tips, you can feel confident that you will have quality food for your pet that will help them live their best life.