Dogs are members of the family and just like with any other member of the family, you want to make sure they are eating healthy. Just like humans, dogs need a balanced diet in order to stay healthy and grow properly. In this blog post, we will discuss some tips on how to choose healthy dog food for your furry friend.
What is considered healthy dog food?
The first step in choosing healthy dog food is to understand what is considered healthy. A good diet for dogs consists of a variety of proteins, fruits, and vegetables. It is important that your dog’s diet includes plenty of protein as dogs are carnivores and need the nutrient to grow and stay healthy. Some good sources of protein for dogs include meat, fish, eggs, and poultry.
Fruits and vegetables are also important in a dog’s diet as they provide essential vitamins and minerals. Some good choices for fruits and vegetables include apples, carrots, spinach, and blueberries. It is important to vary the types of fruits and vegetables you give your dog as each one provides different nutrients.
Dog Nutritional requirements – minimums and maximums
Dogs need a minimum of 18% protein in their diet and a maximum of 30% protein. They also need at least 5% fat and a maximum of 30% fat. In terms of carbohydrates, dogs need a minimum of 25% and a maximum of 55%.
How much food should I be feeding my dog?
The amount of food you should be feeding your dog will depend on their weight and age. Adult dogs should eat about 2-3 cups of food per day, while puppies should eat about 1-2 cups of food per day. You can find more specific feeding guidelines on the dog food package or by contacting your veterinarian.
What should you avoid in dog food?
Just like with humans, you want to avoid foods that are unhealthy for dogs. Foods that you should avoid in dog food include grains, fillers, and artificial additives. Grains are not a natural part of a dog’s diet and can cause digestive problems. Fillers are used to making cheap dog food look like it contains more protein and nutrients than it really does, and they can also cause digestive problems. Artificial additives are chemicals that are used to improve the appearance, flavor, or shelf life of dog food, but they can be harmful to dogs. You should also be on the lookout for any recalls so you don’t end up feeding your dog a recalled dog food brand.
Labeling and How to read a dog food label
Once you understand what to look for in healthy dog food, the next step is reading the labels. The label is where you will find all of the information about the ingredients in a particular food. When reading a dog food label, you want to look for food that contains plenty of protein from real meat sources, fruits, and vegetables. You also want to avoid foods that contain grains, fillers, and artificial additives.
The ingredients are listed in order of weight, so the first ingredient is the most important. If a food contains a lot of grain or filler as the first ingredient, then you know that it is not a good choice for your dog. You also want to avoid foods that list “by-products” as one of the first ingredients. By-products are not a good source of protein and they can also be high in fat.
FDA requires manufacturers to provide the following info about any dog food on sale;
- Dog food brand name
- Net weight of product in ounces, pounds, or kilograms
- Ingredients in descending order by weight
- Nutritional adequacy statement
- Contact info for the company (usually a website)
- The nutritional adequacy statement is important to look for as it tells you whether the food meets the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO (American Association of Feed Control Officials). A food that meets the AAFCO standards is considered to be a complete and balanced diet for dogs.
- Feeding guidelines
- What the food is made for – what species
- Guaranteed analysis
There are strict guidelines that require manufacturers to carefully select and name their dog food brands. For example, if a brand is made of chicken, indicating that ‘chicken’ on the title means that the recipe has at least 70% chicken content. On the other hand, ‘chicken entree’ or ‘chicken plater’ requires that chicken composition be at least 10%.
The product name must include a species designation (e.g., “dog food,” “cat food,” etc.), the name of the product, and a list of all ingredients in descending order by weight. The product name cannot include any false or misleading information. For example, a product cannot be called “Beef for Dogs” if it only contains beef flavor and no real beef.
The list of ingredients must be placed in descending order by weight. That is, the component that weighs the most appears first on the list, and so on. The rule does not apply to those foods containing two or more major types of meat (e.g. turkey & chicken). While the list of ingredients will always be visible, most manufacturers do not indicate the quality or the source of the ingredients. Some manufacturers, however, separate the different types of corn or meats, for example. I usually appreciate when a label highlights if the meat is whole meat or meat meal which are quite different as they have different water content and ultimately different ‘actual’ meat content. I highly recommend going for those brands that are very detailed in their ingredients’ descriptions.
Nutritional adequacy statement:
The nutritional adequacy statement is a guarantee that the food will provide all the nutrients needed for a dog to live a full, healthy life. The statement is issued by an independent body, such as the AAFCO, and it must appear on the label of any food that is marketed as complete and balanced. It should also be noted that the statement doesn’t mean that the food is perfect, or that it will meet the needs of every dog. It only means that the food meets the minimum nutritional requirements set by the AAFCO.
The guaranteed analysis is a list of the nutrients in a food, as well as their minimum and maximum levels. The information is usually presented in percentages, and it can be helpful to compare the levels of different nutrients in different foods. However, the guaranteed analysis doesn’t always tell the whole story. For example, it might list the protein level as 25%, but it’s not clear how much of that protein is from animal sources, and how much is from plant sources.
The feeding guidelines are a set of suggested serving sizes for a food. They’re not always accurate, and you might need to experiment a bit to find what works best for your dog. But they can be a helpful starting point, and they can give you an idea of how much food your dog should be eating.
When choosing a dog food, it is important to read ALL the labels.
How do you know if dog food is Balanced and healthy?
There are a few things to look for when determining whether dog food is healthy. First, you want to make sure that the food is made with high-quality ingredients. The ingredients should be listed in order of weight, and you should avoid foods that contain a lot of grain or filler. You also want to make sure that the food meets the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO.
Another thing to look for is the feeding guidelines on the bag. A food that is meant for adult dogs should not be fed to puppies, and vice versa. You should also make sure that the food is appropriate for the species of dog. For example, a food that is labeled as being for “all life stages” can be fed to both puppies and adults.
Finally, you want to make sure that the food is affordable. You don’t want to break the bank just to feed your dog healthy food.
Balanced or Complete vs Incomplete Dog Food
Food that is complete and balanced has met the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO. These foods are appropriate for both puppies and adult dogs.
Food that is incomplete does not meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO. These foods are only appropriate for puppies, and should not be fed to adult dogs.
Grain-Free Dog Food:
Many people choose to feed their dogs grain-free food because they believe that it is healthier. However, there is no scientific evidence to support this claim. Grain-free food is more expensive than food that contains grains, so you should consider your budget before making a decision.
Raw Dog Food:
There is a growing trend of people choosing to feed their dog’s raw food. Advocates of raw dog food believe that it is more natural and therefore healthier. However, there is no scientific evidence to support this claim. Raw dog food can be expensive and can be difficult to prepare.
If you’re looking for healthy dog food, there are a few things you should look for. The food should be made with high-quality ingredients, it should meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO, and it should be affordable. You also want to make sure that the food is appropriate for the species of dog. There are a variety of different types of dog food on the market, so you should be able to find something that meets all of these criteria.
What is the best dog food?
The best dog food is a food that contains plenty of healthy, natural ingredients and that is free from grains, fillers, and artificial additives. Some good choices for healthy dog food include brands like Wellness, Merrick, and Honest Kitchen. These foods can be a bit more expensive than other brands, but they are worth the investment as they will keep your dog healthy and happy.
When it comes to choosing the best food for your dog, the most important thing is to read the labels and to avoid foods that contain unhealthy ingredients. There are plenty of healthy, natural dog foods on the market today, so you are sure to find one that your dog will love. Thanks for reading!
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Hi there! My name is Ben Domb, an owner of two pets and I am one of the co-founders of OurPets HQ. I have several years of experience as a pet care professional in the New England region having spent time in various roles including a stint at a veterinary hospital in Upstate New York, Syracuse area. I am a certified pet care professional and mostly spend my time researching pet nutrition and sharing my thoughts in various blogs and columns. With quarantine and COVID restrictions, I have been spending a lot of time a lot with my dogs and cat and loving it! I also run a small consulting business providing advice to parents on pet nutrition, and especially safe homemade options to try. You can reach me at email@example.com