How to Pick the Appropriate Food for Your Dog?
As we always quote, “A healthy dog is a happy dog!” And, as a pet parent, feeding your dog a well-balanced diet is one of the most crucial responsibilities. Although cost is a concern to many pet parents, most of them quickly discover that, in the longer term, purchasing better quality food reduces costs.
Cheaper diets cost little because, in most scenarios, dog food manufacturers use inexpensive, poorer-quality ingredients. Picking quality dog food ensures that you are getting high-quality ingredients for your dog that can lead to good wellbeing. It usually suggests that you are going to make fewer visits with your pet to the veterinarian.
Here are some key factors you should keep in mind while selecting an appropriate food:
1. Consider your dog’s age, breed, and lifestyle:
Your dog’s physical features, attitude, and general wellness are highly significant when selecting suitable dog food. Puppies and nursing dogs require higher calories each day, while senior dogs need a less calorie intake.
Also, extremely energetic breeds often require high-calorie intake compared to the breeds which spend time indoors.
Every dog is unique. The dietary and nutritional needs of a German Shepherd are different from a Pomeranian. Keep that in mind before making a purchase.
2. Read the ingredients:
As a pet parent, you must read the dog food ingredients, to know what you are going to feed your dog. When selecting the best dog food in India, look for the below composition in their label.
Keep in mind that the label lists ingredients based on weight, and meats or meat meals take the first spot because they contain a high water content. Choose food with a meat or meat meal as the first ingredient.
Here are a few key things you have to look for:
Animal Protein Source like meat, chicken, fish, duck, quail, etc (not by-products)
Complex Carbs (Whole grain like Oats, Barley, Brown rice which isn’t processed food)
Fruits and Vegetables (Cranberries, Carrot, Papaya, Mango, etc.) to provide antioxidants, vitamins, enzymes & fibers)
Fatty acids are crucial for your dogs & their healthy coats. (Omega 3 & 6)
Minerals (such as zinc and iron)
Supplement Vitamins (such as vitamin D, A, and E)
Do some research on the food you want to feed your fur companions. If you can’t find information about the food, switch to a brand that is more transparent in listing its ingredients.
3. Grain vs Grain-free - know your dog allergies:
When searching on the internet for commercially available dog foods, you must have seen some of the brands proudly labeling “Grain-free” on their product.
Let us understand the basics.
Grain-free products are generally more expensive than their grain counterparts. because they include more meat, vegetables, and fruits rather than bulk grain.
It is also true that these grain-free products contain more crude protein. Dogs with grain allergies must use these products.
But, is your dog suffering from grain allergy? Does he require that extra protein?
Dogs suffering from grain allergies carry symptoms like skin infection & hair loss, red paw pads, inflammation, etc.
Extra protein is required for dogs that are more sporty and are getting good exercise daily or are lactating due to newborn puppies.
Is that the condition with your furry friend? If “Yes”, we suggest that you go Grain-free! Avoiding grains for those dogs that are allergic to them is a valid choice. Don’t know if your dog has a food allergy or intolerance? Excessive licking of the paws, scratching, vomiting, or diarrhea can be some signs, and a vet will help you find the answer. If you’re unsure, our vets at Pupkitt are a click away from a consultation. Book an online consultation with us.
Do I need to go gluten-free for my dog?
Gluten allergies are common in humans and many pet parents choose gluten-free food for their dog believing that the same is true for the canine species too.
However, gluten allergies are very rare in dogs. We recommend that you take the advice of your vet before going gluten-free for your fur friend.
4. Ask for opinions & recommendations:
Once you have done your research and decided on a general food category, ask others for their opinions about specific brands or recipes. Your veterinarian is a great place to start.
Ask your veterinarian to perform a body condition evaluation for your dog. This way, you can monitor your dog’s well-being and overall health condition. It’s the best way to make sure your dog’s weight is on track. It’s even better than the scale.
You can also talk to dog breeders, trainers, and groomers for more opinions. Your local pet supply store may also be of assistance, especially if it is a smaller, independent shop that carries top-quality diets.
Educated pet professionals can give you their recommendations, but remember that not all experts agree when it comes to canine nutrition.
The same goes for talking to other pet parents.
5. Know what to avoid:
The final aspect of understanding how to choose dog food is by learning which ingredients to stay away from.
A lot of cheap commercial dog food use ingredients which are simply fillers. Many of those fillers are often used as the top ingredient - Beware!
Also ensure that the first ingredient is not a grain, tuber, or vegetable, such as ground corn. Just because corn (when ground) is digestible, does not mean it has high nutritional value. Corn has low protein and unimpressive vitamin and mineral content, and the only reason manufacturers boast about this carbohydrate is because it’s inexpensive. By no means is corn “bad” for dogs, just don’t fall for advertising that advocates its nutritional benefits.
Any sort of artificial colorings, sugars, and artificial sweeteners are big-no!
The Final Say:
Keep in mind that different dogs can react differently to the same food.
Many experts recommend rotating diets every 2-6 months if you are feeding commercial dog food.
Usually located with the rest of the nutritional information on a bag or can, the adequacy statement might say, “provides complete and balanced nutrition for maintenance of adult dogs,” or for “all life stages,” or “puppies. Look for a nutritional adequacy statement on the box. You’ll fairly get an idea.