Whether you’ve just added a new furry member to your family or you’ve had your canine companion for a while, you’ll have the task of finding a good variety of dog food. You’ll need to consider several factors, including your dog’s tastes and nutritional needs. With the endless makers and brands available on the market, narrowing down your choices might seem difficult. However, keeping a few guidelines in mind should help you select the best version for your faithful friend.
Food Label Basics
The American Kennel Club has published an excellent guide to finding the best food for your dog. The most common foods you’ll see are protein foods (meats, poultry or seafood) as well as glutens or grains. You’ll also see byproducts listed, but these consist of nutritious organ meats, not inedible parts such as horns, hooves and hair. Federal regulations for pet food require that ingredients be listed in order from the highest percentage of content to the lowest percentage. In other words, the higher on the list an item appears, the more of it is in the food product.
The Right Formula for Your Dog
Dog food makers such as the highly recommended Royal Canin dog food have created diversified formulas that cater to specialized nutritional needs. PetMD recommends reading the nutritional adequacy statement on each variety’s label. These statements, as described by the globally recognized Association of American Feed Control Officials, are carefully worded to help you match up a type of food to your canine’s requirements. For example, “complete and balanced for all life stages” means that the food is appropriate for all stages of a dog’s life cycle.
Your Vet May Be Able to Help
Of course, your vet has a clear picture of your dog’s overall health. Asking your veterinary provider for food recommendations is a wise idea. Keeping your dog’s special needs, allergies and other issues in mind, he or she should be able to help you narrow down your potential choices by providing some suggestions.
The first and foremost thing that dog food should do is support your canine’s health. It should promote a healthy and shiny coat, a strong immune system and a digestive tract in good working order. As you’re researching food brands, knowing what to look for on food labels is also vital. Looking at the ingredients and their order of appearance, as well as the nutritional adequacy statement, is your first step to finding the best food for your dog. Finally, don’t forget that your veterinarian is familiar enough with your dog’s health history to offer some solid suggestions.