What you put into your body is important. It helps your body maintain itself, gives it energy, and helps cells grow and repair while assisting you with just about everything you do. The same is true with your dog. A dog's diet is not as complex as yours. By nature, dogs are scavengers in the wild, but you can provide them with a healthy way to obtain all the important nutrients while ensuring they receive quality energy from their food. Not all dog foods are created equal, so you need to keep in mind a few specifics when selecting and buying food for your furry little friend.
Why Dog Food?
Just because food is safe for human consumption does not mean it is safe for your pet. Dog food is made with your dog in mind and provides nutrients that your dog will need. Your dog grows more hair and, as they are on four legs throughout their life, will need improved nutrients to support joints. They also age faster, which means their diets change over time, in a similar way to that of humans as the human body ages.
However, not all dog food is the same. There are quality foods out there while others use inferior products to increase profits. You need to know what to look for when selecting the right dog food. Some dog food will be cheaper. The lesser brands will often cost half as much as that of a top tier dog food brand. However, if you think about it, this is only $10 or $20 more a month, and the improved dog food may improve the quality of your dog's life while also extending it, which means you can have several more years with your friend.
While dogs are scavengers, they do not have the evolved stomach to deal with many of the processed foods humans eat (although in reality, processed foods are not good for the human diet, either). There are some foods that can prove especially dangerous to dogs, and while it is possible to create dog food at home, this is expensive and must be done every few days to prevent the dog food from going bad. That is why going with the right dog food is so important for not only your dog, but yourself.
5 Things You Should Consider When Buying Foods for your Dog
There are several things you need to consider when buying dog food. This way, you will give your dog the best tasting food that is also the best for them. It might take some experimenting with your dog. However, you'll eventually settle on the right dog food for their personal needs.
Dogs, just like humans, have allergies. Some dogs will be allergic to certain foods. You will see skin rashes on their bodies and on their ears. They might also scratch at their ears, which causes the back end of the ears to lose hair. They may act lethargic or parts of their face might swell. You can have an allergy test performed at your vet, although this may still leave you up to some experimenting. Thankfully, you can pick up the smaller four or six-pound bags of food to see how your dog reacts.
There are a number of things dogs are more likely to be allergic to. This includes grains, corn and soy, and some do have allergies to chicken and other meats, although this is less likely. It can also depend on the brand of food you're buying and where the ingredients come from.
Cheap Usually Means Filler
When you go to the store, you might see jumbo 30-lb. bags of dog food for $10. It sounds like an incredible deal. After all, you can feed your dog for a long time on that 30 lbs. The problem is that most of this is filler. This means that instead of giving your dog healthy nutrients and protein for energy, it is packed with fillers. Common dog fillers are grains, soy, corn and other items that don't provide much in the way of nutrition. It would be like if your dinner consisted of a loaf of bread or a steak and salad. One will fill you up and give you energy for an extended time, while another might fill you up for a few minutes, but you'll be hungry again, soon.
If you can, select items that do not have fillers. You will see right on the packaging that the food “doesn't use filler,” which means none of the grains, soy or corn. It also likely won't have rice, either. Plus, by ditching the filler, you'll likely be cutting out many of the items your dog might be allergic to.
Be Mindful of Recalls
There are pet food recalls all the time. These recalls are usually with inferior brand products (we won't say specific brands, but typically these dog foods are on the less expensive side). This is because the ingredients used are less than desirable. Lower-end dog foods use the very last bits of animals that are not used for humans. The scraps are more likely to go bad, which can lead to contamination. So, keep an eye out for product recalls and avoid buying these products. This is just another reason why it's generally better to purchase a better quality dog food that costs a few dollars more.
Age of Your Dog
You should always consider the age of your dog. What your dog needs to eat will depend on a number of factors, including their age. As your dog ages, they need different kinds of nutrients. An older dog needs nutrients to help fortify their joints. Many dog breeds are susceptible to arthritis, and it can be difficult to watch your friend begin to age right in front of your eyes and struggle to get up or walk. You can always purchase joint supplements (in fact, this is a good idea), but you should also buy dog food that is age specific when they are a puppy or when they hit the age of seven.
Monitor Your Dog
You really can see a difference in the quality of your dog's life when you buy them better food. So, when you change their diet to something of higher quality, make sure to monitor them. This includes not only how they act, but also the sheen of their coat. Is their hair thicker, and does it look brighter? You will also notice they have more energy even if they are at an older age. Again, quality dog food will contain more protein and less filler, which will give them the calories for energy and to live a happy life. It doesn't cost a ton to invest back into your dog and to give them the kind of healthy lifestyle they deserve.
When it comes to shopping around for dog food, it can be difficult to know what to get. After all, you go to a store like Walmart and Target, and there are dozens of brands and you may not know what to look for. It doesn't need to be that difficult, though, to select the right dog food for your pup. Here are a few tips to keep in mind.
Go to a Pet Food Store
In reality, the best way to get dog food is to go to a pet food store. These locations will have more options, and it is easier to get a better food for your dog. This includes not only grain and filler-free foods, but organic foods, as well. Lower tier dog foods come in contact with a surprisingly high amount of pesticides and other ingredients. Because your dog will be eating this for every meal and on every day, you don't want to go with something inferior. At a pet food store you'll find better products, and the people here will be more knowledgeable of the best dog foods. At a chain grocery store, you're on your own.
Dry is Easier
Dry dog food is generally easier to feed and often healthier, as well. That's not to say wet dog food is bad, as you can still find quality wet dog foods (and your dog probably loves the wet food). However, dry dog food is less expensive, easier to maintain, creates less trash, and can deliver on all the nutrients your dog needs. In general, its best to only go with a wet dog food if your vet tells you to.
Watch Your Dog
Always watch your dog. Yes, they might act like they enjoy their food, but they also will not know what is causing their nose to itch, eyes to water or ears to burn. You will need to watch your dog to see if there is a change in how they act, and then adjust what you feed them accordingly.
There are plenty of dog food options available on the market. By keeping a few specifics in mind and watching how your dog reacts to the foods, you shouldn't have any issue finding the right food for their needs.