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Last Updated:
9/18/2013 7:32 PM


7 tips for choosing an appropriate QUALITY dog food


Feeding quality food means many things but most important of all, it means keeping your dog as healthy as possible.  A dog on a quality food will have a healthy coat; he will be shinier, produce less dander, have less odor, and be neither oily or dry.  He will digest more of his food and therefore produce less waste, meaning less cleanup.  Energy levels will be appropriate and you will find that your dog keeps a good weight when eating quality food.


Generally, you get what you pay for


You’ll see the term “grocery store food” here and in doing research on food online.  What exactly does that mean?  It is the low-quality, economy pet food you find in supermarkets and dept. stores.  This food sits on the lowest rung of the ladder.  No matter what the package looks like or what your veterinarian tells you, this is not good food!  Looking at the list of ingredients is key but not the only factor.  Price is a good reflection of the cost and quality of the ingredients that make up your food.  You can be feeding roadkill, diseased animals, euthanized animals (some sources say shelter pets are included in this), and meat that has spoiled and fermented- and all of the packaging.  It takes too much time for these economy foods to unwrap and discard garbage bags, Styrofoam packages, and whatever else is included with the animals.  Cheap foods are almost all fillers- corn especially, it’s the least expensive.  This doesn’t mean that all expensive brands are great, but generally speaking, increase of quality comes with increase of price.


By-products, digest, fat


No quality food will use by-products, period.  This is not the same as meat and not a source of protein and/or nutrition.  This can be any part of the animal deemed not fit for human consumption (except some things like hair and feathers- that would be listed as “fiber”).  Animal digest is tissue from animals that has been broken down with chemicals.  Fat from animals listed high on the ingredients list should be avoided- this is not contained in the kibble but rather sprayed on it to make it more palatable.  This wouldn’t be necessary if there was enough meat in the food.


Fillers, carbs


AVOID CORN!!  Aside from being one of the most common allergens for pets, the corn in their food has absolutely zero nutritional value.  Corn (corn meal, gluten, or other forms) is not readily digested by dogs and is passed as waste.  You can’t avoid a majority of filler in kibble- a dry food is going to have it, period.  But you can make an educated decision by choosing foods with less-common, healthier fillers.  Some pet foods only use vegetables for this.  Others use hypoallergenic ingredients like oatmeal.  Rice is better than corn or wheat but barley, oatmeal, or sweet potatoes/potatoes would be much better!  Ingredients on dog food are listed as they are on the food you and I eat- by order of volume.  Please avoid a food that has a filler in 2 of the top three spots on the ingredients list.  If a food lists several fillers all together, you can be sure that the sum of those parts is much greater than that of the protein (meat) listed, even if the protein source comes first.  Sugar and other carbohydrates should be avoided.  Stick with complex carbs as found in whole grains.  Dogs eating foods with lots of sugar and fillers often have trouble staying lean.


Meat proteins


First of all, if the words “meat” or “animal” are used ANYWHERE in the ingredients list, DO NOT BUY THIS FOOD!  When the company can’t be specific about what’s in the food, beware.  Meat comes in different forms in foods: by products, meal (rendered prior to processing), and just plain meat.  Meat proteins should be listed in two of the top three spaces in the ingredients list.  Try to find a food that lists its meat as being human food grade, FDA approved, and organic.


Artificial colors and chemical preservatives


BHA, BHT, and ethoxyquin are chemical preservatives that have been linked to health issues like liver and kidney disease.  Food coloring serves no purpose- it’s there to make YOU think the food looks better- and some have shown to be harmful for your pets.


Protein levels


Avoid foods with super high protein levels- up to 26% is normal but much over that is getting dangerous.  Unlike a raw diet, this high protein kibble is not diluted properly with moisture and saps water from organ like the liver, eventually causing liver disease.  Do not feed high protein foods to elderly pets.


The ideal canine diet: raw!


Feeding a biologically appropriate diet- designed after the kind your carnivorous companions would eat in the wild- is the best option.  For more information on this diet, please contact us or look into research online.  Coming soon- links for raw feeding!


© 2005 Crystal Collins