There are so many options out there today that it may become quite confusing for a dog owner to find a product that has all the necessary ingredients. However, if you love your dog, you should take the time to read the ingredients mentioned on the box carefully before buying. Just in case you are not sure what you should be looking for in dog food, the following list should help you.
As dogs are carnivores, their primary source of protein is animal protein. While most dog foods will have animal protein in them, you will need to see if they have mentioned the kind of animal meat from which the protein has been derived. For example, a good quality dog food product will mention something specific like chicken, fish or beef right at the top, instead of just printing the word “meat.”
There should also be a small amount of grains like rice, soy, oats, wheat, barley, beans, and corn in the dog food to help your pup with digestion and add some carbohydrate induced energy. One point to be noted is that you need to avoid any product that contains grains if your dog has a history of allergies to them. If it’s the first time that you are feeding your dog a product with grains in it, watch out for signs of allergies and only continue with the product if no adverse effects are seen.
Fats are essential dietary nutrients which dogs need for energy and vitamin absorption. It also makes their skin and coats shine with health. Look for healthy sources of fat like safflower oil, vegetable oil, fish oil, soybean oil, cottonseed oil and even a bit of pork fat on the ingredients list. As long as the total percentage of fat doesn’t exceed 10-15%, you need not worry about your canine friend becoming overweight.
Just like human beings, dogs also need their daily dose of vitamins to lead a healthy life. Vitamin E boosts canine immunity and vitamin A keeps the skin and fur shiny.
Minerals and Trace Minerals
You will see a long list of essential mineral nutrients mentioned behind the box of a good quality dog food and they are usually as follows.
In Small Amounts
This one is not an ingredient, but rather a guideline designed to give you a clear idea regarding whether or not it’s suitable for your dog. Adequacy statements read something like this, “This product is suitable for all life stages” or “This product is balanced and suitable for adult maintenance.” Similarly, food products designed especially for puppies will have an appropriate adequacy statement on the box as well. Be aware of them and buy the right product according to the age of your dog.
Now that you know what to look for, the next step is to find a trusted dog food brand with the help of this knowledge and stick to it. You can change up the flavor every once in a while, but when it comes to the brand, the phrase “If it ain't broke, don't fix it” holds very much true.