Many dog owners pay scant attention to what they feed their dogs. Often, they base their decision solely on price, rather than taking the time to find out what the food actually contains. If they did they’d be shocked to find that these cheap dog food products often contain ingredients that are harmful to their dogs.
Not only that, but cheap dog food may not be the bargain it appears to be (more on this later).For now, let’s focus on some simple tips to help you choose a healthy kibble for your dog.
Dogs need an omnivorous diet, with both meat and vegetables at a ratio of about 50/50. What is not needed is the grain based fillers in most commercial dog chow. Want to know if your favorite dog food brand meets this requirement? Simple, just read the label.
Unfortunately, labels sometimes appear to be written in a foreign language, so here’s a short-cut to finding out what you need to know. Just look at the first five listed ingredients, and if they are meat based products, the food will probably meet your dog’s nutritional needs.
It’s not that grains are bad for your dog, just that they are better fed whole. Grains like rice, millet, oats and barley are actually a rich source of fiber, but the grains contained in dry dog food are primarily there as filler, and contain minimal nutritional value.
You should also take note of artificial colorings, flavorings and preservaties. Many of these are chemical based and may be harmful to your dog. In fact, some chemical preservatives have been shown to be a contributing factor to various cancers. Preferably, you should choose a product that uses natural preservatives, like Vitamin C and E.
All this checking of labels can be a bit of a bind after a while though, so why not just cut to the chase. Buy a premium or super premium dog food brand and you can be almost certain that it will give your dog the optimum level of nutrition he needs.
Now you’ll probably look at the price of these products and wince. They do seem very expensive but as with most things in life, quality costs more. You may recall that at the beginning of the article I suggested that buying cheap was not the way to go. Here’s why that is.
Cheap dog food brands use sub-standard ingredients that are low in nutritional value. This means you have to give your dog more food to meet his nutritional needs. Feeding more inevitably leads to obesity, obesity leads to disease, disease leads to expensive visits to the vet, and your dog living a shorter, less fulfilling life.
A premium brand which optimizes nutrition means you’ll have to feed less, the “expensive” bag of kibble will last longer, and your dog will also be healthier, which means no expensive trips to the vet. Your dog also won’t pass as much waste, so there’s less for you to pick up – a benefit all of it’s own!
Hopefully this article has illustrated why you should always feed your dog the best dog food you can afford. But quite aside from the health benefits, your dog deserves it.