Basic Dog Nutrition – which food is best for my dog?0
We are often asked which food is best for dogs; the answer is simple – there is no single ‘best’ food that is optimal for all. Just like humans, each dog is an individual. A food that one dog thrives on may stir up allergies or other adverse reactions for another. So how do we know what the best choice is for our furry pals? It is a process of trial and error.
So where do I start?
- Step 1 is to start with a high quality food. Here are some basic canine nutrition guidelines to help you decide:
- First and Foremost – Read the labels!
Quality of ingredients
As with humans, dogs need a balanced, quality diet for optimal health. The guidelines for quality are mainly common sense:
- Human-grade cuts of meat are best (vs. by-products)
- Avoid “Animal Fat” or “Meat Meal” that does not identify the animal source. (Would you put unidentified mixed meat in your bowl?)
- Fresh vegetables and whole grains
- Stick to all natural – avoid artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners and preservatives
Quantity of ingredients
When it comes to quantity of ingredients, the more is NOT the merrier. The more ingredients a commercial food contains (aside from added vitamins and minerals), the less it contains of each ingredient. Ingredients are listed by weight, so ideally you will see one or two meat proteins within the first few ingredients. It is important to note that whole meat (beef, chicken, lamb etc.) contains a lot of water weight, so you would want to see a few meats or meat-meals listed at the top to ensure a high level of protein.
If the food you are feeding your dog agrees with their system, you should see the following:
- A glossy coat
- Itch-free skin
- Bright, clear eyes
- Clear ears
- Happy, alert demeanor
If you note any adverse reactions, discontinue the food and try another with varied ingredients. As always, it is best to consult your veterinarian for any health matters concerning your family pets.
Happy food hunting!
[AUTHOR: Susan Vasquez, Dioji K-9 Resort & Athletic Club]