Anyone who has been on a diet knows just how important it is to watch what you are consuming. Whether that is by limiting certain foods or cutting them out completely and replacing them with healthier alternatives, it really plays a big part in your overall health.
It is exactly the same with dogs. When choosing dry kibble, you should be just as scrutinous as you are with your morning cereal. Certain ingredients in dog food can make them gassy, constipated, lethargic, and much more.
Below is a list of the top ingredients you should be scanning for in your best friend’s food!
Dogs are carnivores by nature, and it could be argued that they are omnivores. However, we all know that our dogs never turn down a juicy table scrap when it is offered. Although dry kibble is crunchy and it may seem like there is no meat, that should be one of (if not) the first ingredient.
Beef, bison, kangaroo, and rabbit are all rich sources of red meat that are great for dogs. These meats are especially great if you have an active dog who needs the extra boost in protein. Chicken, turkey, pheasant, and fish are all other important sources of good carbohydrates and fats.
If you can find food that has both kinds of meat, excellent! If not however, try rotating types of meat or meat sources in your dog’s food. If you can’t rotate, add some fish oil to a red-meat based food to give a little more support in Omega-3’s and DHA, which are both essential vitamins for a dog’s diet.
Most pet owners find themselves throwing away bags of food after they find out their dog has an intolerance for grains or an allergy to gluten. This is because dogs do not need grains in their diet. Once again, dogs are carnivores; they don’t have the biological need for grains!
The only grain that should be considered is rice; no wheat of any kind.
High Moisture Content
All living things are made of water. This would of course include the prey that a wolf would eat. Therefore, a dog’s food should have a high moisture content. What does this mean? A dry kibble should at least contain 20% of dry matter; meaning the other part is water, or the moisture content. Wet dog food will obviously have more moisture content, because the food is not solid. The lower the percentage of dry matter, the lower the protein level. Twenty percent dry is a high-quality dog food. If your food has less than that, you could try combining wet food with the dry food to give your dog that extra boost of protein.
Vegetables and Fruits
Wait, I thought you said dogs are carnivores? Yes, they are for the most part. Remember what I said about it could be argued they are omnivores? That’s where this comes into play. Fruits and vegetables are okay for dogs in small amounts. In the wild, wolves would mainly get their sources of vegetation from the stomachs of their prey.
You want to avoid starchy vegetables in high qualities, such as white potatoes. The healthiest choices are peas, spinach, apples, pumpkin, blueberries, carrots, and sweet potatoes. All of these are rich in vitamins that will keep your dog’s digestive tract running smoothly, that help with a shiny coat, and give an extra health boost.
Other ingredients that are acceptable to be in food are meat meals; this is just an added protein of meat and water blend. Eggs are also great to have in dog food, but it is not that common for dry kibble.
Ingredients you should always avoid are meat byproducts, wheat, soy, corn, preservatives, and sweeteners.
It can all be a bit confusing, but my rule of thumb is this: If you can’t pronounce it, don’t buy it! I also like to think that if I wouldn’t eat it, maybe my dog shouldn’t either. I know this can’t always be the case but it is kind of interesting to think about. The right kind of food can do wonders for your dog! It can give them good energy, a shiny coat, healthy gums, and a perfectly working system.
Do your best friend a favor and invest in some high-quality dog food today!