So how do you decide what food is ‘’the best dog food’’ for your pet?
After strolling through aisles and aisles of foods claiming they’re the best, are they? And if so, what makes them the best?
It can be overwhelming the amount of dog foods out there, how do you choose? Do you go for heavily advertised brands because they’re on the TV so they must be good, recommendations from the Vets, recommendations through friends, price, picked up the first one you saw?
So what do you really need to look for?
Below, are some key points to take into consideration when choosing your dog’s food.
When doing the weekly food shop, we’re careful enough to make sure we add a few healthy options in the basket. Ensuring we have that nice balance of protein, fruits and vegetables. But do you do the same for your pet? Have you ever read the ingredients on the back of that package to see what’s actually in it?
The ingredients will be listed in order with the greatest amount being first, following in descending order by those in smaller amounts. You might be shocked when reading some of the ingredients and actually how much or how little of a particular ingredient there is within the food. I know I was!
Pictures can also be deceiving, you know that old saying, “don’t judge a book by its cover”, well in pet food, that is definitely the case. It may say ‘’Chicken flavour’’ but that’s probably all it is… dried flavouring…yum? Foods like this are the definition of ‘’A dogs dinner’’ (no pun intended)
Ideally what you want to be looking for, is for the first ingredients on the list being a named animal, this is a good start. Having a higher meat ratio takes your pet back to the ancestral diet, where for many years dogs and cats would have eaten the whole carcass of an animal; maybe just leaving the feathers/fur.
Read here for more information on the Ancestral diet:
Food Colouring and Additives
Your pet does not look at its food and think ‘I wanted the yellow and green kibble, not the red and green!’ Colours are simply added for the owners benefit.
Listen to Your Pet
Your pet will let you know if something isn’t right.
They May Go Off Food, you then start a battle of trying to find another food and mixing foods together just so they’ll eat the last of the bag you have just bought. This could be an underlying issue, for instance, your pet could be allergic/intolerant to an ingredient within the food, symptoms of an intolerance would be that they may suffer skin complaints/itching and maybe loose stools.
Taste: Some brands may use very little real meat, and there for the dog who is a carnivore, is not getting the full nutritional need from that food. The dog may also just be a little fussy and by swapping foods, or adding additional ingredients to the existing food you are encouraging them to continue this behaviour (I will hold out and not eat and see what my human adds to the food to make it more yummy!)
Poops: Higher cereal dog foods may cause your pet to have larger fibrous stools, a higher quality food will take longer to work through your pets body, and therefore generally comes out as smaller and firmer waste. This is because the pet has a more digestible food and taken in all the nutrients, as opposed to a bigger looser poops from the food with bulkers and fillers added.
Weight Gain: Obvious solution being that you’ve over fed your pet. Or, it could be the food you currently provide has a high percentage of fillers. Like with humans, we know if we were to eat fillers, such as rice, pasta, bread every breakfast, lunch and dinner, the weight would slowly start to creep up on us and it’s the same for your pet.
Take our food for example; here at Eden we pride ourselves on the products we’ve created. Our 80/20 range contains 80% meat/fish content and 20% fruit, vegetables, minerals and herbs. It may shock you to know that some of the best known foods around have an extremely low percentage of actual meat in their foods!
If you’re still unsure in regards to which food to select, or if your pet no longer eats the food you are giving, or even starts to gain weight then don’t be afraid to call the pet food company and ask them questions, ask if they do samples of foods, so you can try before you buy.
Read the company reviews left by other customers, explore the forums linked to these companies and ask the right questions.
A website that may help you further: https://www.allaboutdogfood.co.uk This company has compiled information together about all brands of dog food. Letting you know the nutritional values and ratings, the cost per day to feed your pet and other useful information and again, you may be surprised at some of the results.