Before you grab a bag of that dog kibble from the supermarket shelf, be sure you know just what kind of kibble you’ll be feeding your pup! Not all commercial food is created equal. While it isn’t imperative to spend hours creating a raw, home-prepared diet for your dog, good nutrition is the cornerstone for your companion’s health and well-being. Pampered Pet Sitting wants to stress the importance of being informed about what you are putting in his bowl.
Check the Ingredients
When you grocery shop for your family, you probably check the nutrition labels on the back of prepared foods. It is crucial to do the same for your dog. The most vital thing to remember when picking out a quality dog food is that dogs eat meat. They have sharp teeth that are capable of ripping and grinding flesh and bone. Therefore, make sure that the first ingredient is meat or meat meal – but avoid meat “by-products”. “Pink Slime” isn’t just questionable for human consumption; your furry friend doesn’t want any part of it either. Vegetables are okay, but they are best enjoyed in their holistic form (processed veggies lose much of their nutritional benefits). You’ll also want to avoid preservatives and sweeteners. Mass produced food needs to have a long shelf-life, but all of those chemicals have been linked to serious health issues in pets.
Iams Pet Food has always been a trusted brand that most consumers equate with “quality”, but take a close look at the ingredients (Iams ProActive Health Adult Mini Chunks):
Chicken, Corn Meal, Ground Whole Grain Sorghum, Chicken By-Product Meal, Dried Beet Pulp, Chicken Flavor, Chicken Fat (preserved with mixed Tocopherols, a source of Vitamin E), Potassium Chloride, Dried Egg Product, Brewers Dried Yeast, Salt, Calcium Carbonate, Caramel, Flax Meal, Choline Chloride, Fructooligosaccharides, Minerals (Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Manganese Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Manganous Oxide, Potassium Iodide, Cobalt Carbonate), Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Ascorbic Acid, Vitamin A Acetate, Calcium Pantothenate, Biotin, Thiamine Mononitrate (source of vitamin B1), Vitamin B12 Supplement, Niacin, Riboflavin Supplement (source of vitamin B2), Inositol, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (source of vitamin B6), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid), L-Lysine Monohydrochloride, DL-Methionine, Rosemary Extract.
Is this the worst food you could feed your dog? No, but it’s too easy to explain why it doesn’t make the list of “most nutritionally dense”. While Iams could be worse, there is definitely room for improvement. For example, look at the ingredients from the LifeProtection (Chicken and Brown Rice) formula from Blue Buffalo:
Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Whole Ground Brown Rice, Whole Ground Barley, Oatmeal, Chicken Fat (naturally preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Rye, Tomato Pomace (natural source of Lycopene), Natural Chicken Flavor, Whole Potatoes, Peas, Whole Carrots, Whole Sweet Potatoes, Blueberries, Cranberries, Flaxseed(natural source of Omega 3 and 6 Fatty Acids), Barley Grass, Dried Parsley, Garlic, Alfalfa Meal, Dried Kelp, Yucca Schidigera Extract, L-Carnitine, L-Lysine, Glucosamine Hydrochloride, Turmeric, Sunflower Oil (natural source of Omega 6 Fatty Acids), Fish Oil (natural source of Omega 3 Fatty Acids), Dried Chicory Root, Oil of Rosemary, Beta Carotene, Vitamin A Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Niacin (Vitamin B3), d-Calcium Pantothenate (Vitamin B5), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Biotin (Vitamin B7), Folic Acid (Vitamin B9), Vitamin B12 Supplement, Calcium Ascorbate (source of Vitamin C), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Choline Chloride, Sodium Selenite, Calcium Iodate, Salt, Caramel, Potassium Chloride, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bacillus subtilis, Enterococcus faecium (fermentation product)
As you can see, the ingredients include meat and whole vegetables, as well as vitamins and minerals. There are many manufacturers that are making strides toward perfecting their formulas. Your dog may not like the first “healthy option” you bring home, but if at first you don’t find a suitable food, try, try again. Blue Buffalo is just one of many brands that make premium pet food their number one priority. Wellness, Pure Vita, Evo, Nature’s Recipe and others are all worth a look.
Quality Dog Food = Better Dog Health
How will a quality food benefit your dog? It’s simple. Good food in, good health out. You may notice that your chubby puppy is back at his fit weight after a few months of eating better food. It’s not only because of the lowered carbohydrates or increased energy output, it’s also because dogs naturally eat less if the food is meeting all of their nutritional needs. You’ll notice that your pal has a healthier coat, an enhanced immune system, a better aptitude for new training efforts, and improved overall health and vitality. Don’t settle for just pretty packaging or convenience. When it comes to the nutrition for your dog, quality is king.