How to Choose the Right Dog Food
There is a lot of talk around how we eat and what we eat. People spend a lot of time thinking about food and food is a multibillion dollar industry. In contrast, many believe that dog food is as easy as picking out a bag of kibble from the store.
Dog food is as complicated, if not more, than human food these days. As a caring dog owner, you have to spend time researching different options while understanding the needs of your particular breed and situation. Our guide to selecting dog food helps pet owners cover the bases and make the best informed choice they can.
Why is Buying Dog Food Difficult?
While there are a lot of misconceptions about food in the world along with marketing that confuses things even more, there is a lot of regulation from the government and other bodies to make sure that human food meets certain standards of quality.
Dog food does not have the same luxury in many cases and is the whole industry is prone to marketing tricks and misleading terms. For example, if a food says it has beef in it, the food must be made of 70% beef. However, if it says something like beef dinner or platter instead, the rules say that only 10% of the food must be beef. Finally, if the food says it is made “with beef” then only 3% of the food is made of beef.
The question that most owners ask is if the food isn’t made with meat, what is used instead? Meat is expensive and dog food manufacturers often use fillers like corn and grains to make up the calories. While dogs are not strict carnivores and can eat some vegetables, these types of foods are misleading and not exactly what owners want.
Learning how to read the labels and understanding the terms and ingredients is the first major step to picking out dog food.
What Do I Need to Consider About My Dog?
The next step to choosing the right dog food is knowing your pet’s needs. Like with people, dogs in different situations and phases of life have different needs. Here are some examples of the different factors to consider:
- Breed size
- Age (puppy, adult or senior)
- Kibble size for their mouths
- Couch potato vs. active breeds
- Possible allergies
All of these factors can help with your food decision. The other major factor is, understandably, money. As with human food, the higher the quality of the dog food the more it costs. While we all want to give our pets the best possible life, there are some dog food price points that are just not possible. On the other hand, going with the cheapest food at all times is not in the best interest of your dog’s health.
Things to Avoid
Though we’ve covered the marketing tricks to watch out for, there are other pitfalls to watch out for as an owner. The biggest of these is misinformation and hype. In an effort to make money and appeal to worried pet owners, some people and companies can mislead customers. One example of this is the recent trend of grain free foods. While it is important to avoid fillers as discussed, grain will not hurt healthy dogs.
The only exception is if your dog has a confirmed allergy which can be found with the help of your vet. This is a special case and doesn’t apply to every dog. If your pet is healthy and doesn’t have an allergy, you don’t have to go out of your way to get grain free food at all times. It is only important to feed your dog high quality food as much as possible.
Think about it in human terms. It isn’t a problem to eat fast food once in a while; the problem is when you eat it every day.
Where to Find the Right Food?
At Riverside Animal Center, we care about our pets and yours. We’re committed to helping you understand your dog’s specific needs and help you make the right decision when it comes to their diet. If you’re interested in our nutritional counseling services for your pet, don’t hesitate to contact us. You can find the right high quality foods in the Dublin area at Pet Valu, Petco or Pet People.
If you are unsure about your pet’s diet and want to make sure you’re starting off on the right paw, contact us today to make an appointment. Our veterinary professionals can evaluate your dog’s needs and work with you to find the best options available in the area.