How to Choose Healthy Dog Food

At All Pets Animal Hospital, with locations in Rogers and Bentonville, we love dogs. They are excellent playmates, cuddlers, and they always seem to know how to show love when you are feeling down. Dogs are companions that are easy to relate to and they are always there to comfort their humans.

As a result, you probably want to do all that you can to look out for your dog’s health. For that reason, today’s blog post will focus on how to choose healthy dog food. Keep reading to learn some tips about picking dog food, and be sure to contact All Pets Animal Hospital when you need a veterinarian in Rogers or Bentonville.

Different Dogs Require Different Diets

One of the most crucial things to realize as a dog owner is that different dogs have different dietary requirements. Perhaps you have another dog or you had a previous dog that was happy and healthy with the food you provided. While you can utilize the same process to pick food for your current dog, remember that the same dog food may not be the best choice for a new dog.

A healthy diet for your dog depends on several factors, including the breed of your dog, the dog’s size, their age, and their lifestyle. Larger dogs have different needs than smaller dogs, and certain breeds are predisposed to nutritional deficiencies that need to be addressed. Moreover, if you have a high-performance dog, they may require more protein than a dog that stays home and snoozes more often.

If you have two or more dogs, then you may need to choose different foods for them. This is especially true if they are different breeds, different ages, or different sizes. It’s wise to consult your vet to ensure your pet is receiving the optimal diet for their health.

Pay Attention to Wording on the Package

Another crucial thing to consider when choosing a healthy dog food is the wording on the packaging. Dog food is regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which means that there are regulations about the labeling dog food companies can put on packing. By understanding this wording, you can choose dog foods that use better ingredients.

For example, if the dog food has a simple name, such as “Chicken for Dogs”, then at least 95% of the dog food must be chicken, which is the named ingredient (this does not include the water added to make the food; not counting water, at least 70% of the food must be the primary ingredient). In contrast, if a dog food contains less than 95% of an ingredient but more than 25%, then the label will say something like dinner or platter on it. Similar rules apply to other types of wording used, all of which can be found on the FDA site.

Another good thing to look for on dog food is a statement regarding the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). The AAFCO has established strict requirements for dog food. If a product meets those requirements, then the label will have a statement on it indicating that the product meets these nutritional requirements. Check the packaging for this statement, and remember the guidelines surrounding how ingredients can be listed when you shop for food.

Know What Ingredients to Look For

Even label-savvy pet owners may still be confused when confronted with the controversy over grain-free and exotic ingredient pet foods. Here are two common things many people get concerned about.

First, you may have heard about gluten allergies and wondered about feeding your dog a grain-free pet food. It’s important to remember that your dog’s optimal diet will be quite different from your own diet. In fact, a study led by veterinarians at the University of California, Davis, discovered a possible link between grain-free, legume-rich dog foods and taurine-deficient dilated cardiomyopathy, a canine heart disease. Additionally, the FDA has received hundreds of reported cases of dilated cardiomyopathy linked to grain-free and exotic ingredient pet foods. The precise cause is not yet known, but it seems prudent to avoid these types of diets until more research is completed. Fortunately, dilated cardiomyopathy can sometimes be reversed when diagnosed early by a veterinarian. It is important to remember that pet foods manufactured by companies who employ veterinary nutritionists and subject their formulations to feeding trials are a more reliable source than boutique brands.

People also often worry about byproducts in pet food. Since the FDA regulates what can be used for pet food, byproducts are not typically harmful for pets. In fact, they often contain high amounts of organ meat, which plays an essential role in the diet of many dogs. Ultimately, you will want to talk with your veterinarian about the dog foods you choose to use and get their opinion on the nutritional needs of your pet.

Stop By All Pets Animal Hospital in Rogers and Bentonville

When you need to talk with a dog veterinarian, stop by All Pets Animal Hospital in Rogers or Bentonville. We’re here because we love taking care of pets and are happy to advise you on pet nutrition or other topics.