We always try to provide the best quality foods to our beloved dogs to maintain their health and vitality. Getting the most selling or costliest food is never enough for your dog, and it ultimately boils down to the components used and quality measures adhered to. Dogs require diet according to their breed, physical conditions, activities, and deficiencies. While there are varieties of dog foods flooding the market with eye-catching ads and unrealistic promises, it isn’t easy to know which one will suit your dog the most. In this article, we discuss five critical aspects that you must take note of before purchasing your dog food.
1. Whether the food has a balanced mixture of all essential nutrients:
A well-balanced dog food means that which contains a proper portion of vital nutrients such as carbohydrates, protein, vitamins, fats, and minerals. Carbohydrates and fibres are essential to provide energy to the body and keep your dogs going throughout the day. Besides packaged dog food, all kinds of grains, as well as oats, beans, barley, soy, and rice, are rich sources of carbs.
The most vital food element after carbohydrates is protein. Protein is responsible for building muscles and affects the overall growth of your dog. Your dog food must contain animal proteins that are sourced from meat, sea fishes, eggs, etc.
Fats are also necessary to take care of your dog’s cardiovascular health. Not all fats make your dog overweight, and she will need good fats like omega-3s and omega- 6s to keep herself in good shape.
For vitamins and minerals, your dog food must contain vegetable sources like carrots, broccoli, potatoes, leafy greens, etc. Dog Food that includes all these vital elements will make your dog fit and immune in no time.
2. The breed of your dog:
There are innumerable numbers of dog strains, some of which are yet to be identified medically. Every breed of dog has different growth rates and energy requirements. Dogs of small breeds have more active metabolic rates and need more fatty substances in their diet. Medium breed puppies have lesser rates of the metabolic process than small pups and need a regular supply of proteins, vitamins, and essential minerals. It is better to provide medium breed dogs nutrients that are less in starches and fibre, as she has less body mass to absorb too much of these.
Large breed dogs will need a right mix of all the necessary nutrients like vitamins, proteins, minerals, more so the carbs and fibres, as she has a higher amount of body mass and needs a lot more to satiate and energize herself. Make sure that you don’t serve too much fat to large breed dogs as they are more predisposed to bloating, heart diseases, and diabetes.
3. The age of your dog:
Age is an influential factor in deciding your dog food. There are stark variations in the nutrition needs of puppies, adults, and senior dogs. A growing puppy’s metabolism rate is considerably higher than a newborn or an old dog. You need to be extra cautious with the meals you give to your puppies, as it will affect her immune system for times to come. Dogs moving towards adulthood need a high protein intake and an overall high calorie-count to maintain their development. Hence, for such dogs who are below the age of 12 months, you will need a growth-oriented dog food that holds high levels of iron, calcium, amino acids, fatty acids, folate, vitamin A, besides protein and carbs.
When your dog enters adult age, the ideal dog food should contain lesser portions of calories and proteins and more amounts of calcium, minerals, and vitamins. Adult dogs, if given excessively large portions of protein and calories regularly, may become overweight. It is also crucial to note that you have to measure the lean weight of your developed dog and feed her accordingly, as a grown-up dog is prone to heart diseases and diabetes if she is over-fed a lot.
4. The elements used in dog food:
Going through the ingredients label before you select your dog food is very crucial. After you know the variety and age of the dog you are buying the food for, you should check if the dog food comprises all the desired components. One of the things you should ensure is that if the dog food has only the necessary ingredients, and has higher water absorption and better processing abilities. Some expected ingredients in your dog’s food are sourced from fish, meat, corn, soy, brown rice, and so on.
Your dog food should possess all the required compliance certificates to prove its safety. If the list of constituents is long, you should be patient and read till the end as companies tend to put the undesirable components towards the end to avoid scrutiny. Some of these questionable ingredients could be colourings, unnatural flavours, and harmful preservatives. Remember that natural preservatives such as ascorbic acid or tocopherols are rich sources of vitamin C, and help the dog food remain fresh and edible for a long time. Besides the ingredients label, don’t forget to check the expiry date and the storage instructions.
5. Choosing between dry and canned dog food:
Deciding whether to buy canned food or a dry one may depend on your dog’s appetite. Although in general, dry foods tend to be a lot tastier (due to flavourings), in some instances, you should prefer canned food. Canned food is generally wet and will become an additional hydration source in your dog’s diet if she does not drink enough water on her own. Dry foods also feel heavier and can satiate your dog’s hunger without providing excessive calories. However, canned foods have a shorter expiration date and may even lose the vital nutrients if stored for long. The nutritional value of canned dog food, due to its almost raw nature and mutability, can be hard to validate. It may contain high levels of BPA and is also susceptible to bacterial infections. On the other hand, dry food is exceptionally convenient, time-saving, and will stay intact for longer.
Hence, it would help if you remembered your dog’s preference when deciding between the two, as both have their pros and cons.
Buying the right dog food is crucial to improve the immune and digestive systems of your dogs and enhance their overall health condition. With the help of these factors, you can choose the most suitable food for your dog and save yourself a lot of trouble. For some first-hand knowledge, you may contact other pet owners who have been buying dog food for a long time. In case of any complications, it is better to consult a veterinarian or pet groomer.