What Should I Feed My Dog?

This has to be one of the most commonly asked, and important questions from all dog owners.  Usually, we first ask it when we first get our dogs, and then ask it again during several time periods and events in our dog’s lives.  Just like in humans, dog health truly begins with their diet, the best food will lead to a healthy dog!

Healthy Diet Makes For A Healthy Dog

Feeding My DogThe first thing to realize about a dog’s diet is that just like with humans, every dog demands a slightly different diet that will be good for them.  If your dog has any allergies or pre-existing medical conditions, you should consult with your vet to best determine the most appropriate diet for your dog’s needs.  There are, however, some general tips you can follow to feed your pet.   First off, don’t take dog food labels at their word, as sadly the regulation and honesty of that industry is dubious at best.  Unfortunately, many of the outrageous claims given on dog food labeling are blatantly false.  So how should you choose a dog food?  What to look for?  The first thing to look out for is corn, which is really not that nutritious or beneficial to a dogs diet, it is really just a filler.  Dogs are carnivores, they need meat, and therefore, the best food products will contain primary meat sources, like beef or lamb.  Make sure you check the actual ingredients list, as sometimes a label will say “contains chicken!” and there will be an almost negligible amount in the product itself.

Give Your Dog A Well-balanced Diet

It is important for your dog to eat a balanced diet, though, and not just exclusively steaks all day.  Meat should be the primary thing, though, with grains being secondary. A grain based diet for your dog will simply not give them as much nutrition as their body needs.  Unfortunately, many dog food companies are focused on maximizing profits, and adding more meat to your product does not make it more profitable.  Many of these companies are not researching how to keep a dog healthy, but how to keep a dog alive on the cheapest product possible.  It really is horrifying.  When you go to pick out a dog food, make sure you check the actual ingredients list, if corn is the first ingredient get something else (really, you should if it is even in the top three).  Another important distinction is the difference between an actual meat and “meat meal”.  If the chicken in your dog food is listed as “chicken meal”  it is not really chicken.  The term “meal” essentially designates the leftover byproducts of the chicken, after all the usable meat has been taken off it (like the fat and the bones).  Although it is better than straight corn, this is not real meat and does not provide the same proper nutrition that real chicken will.  If a specific meat is not specified, that is probably because you would be horrified to learn what it actually is, and unless you want your dog eating horse tails and cow hooves avoid “meat meal” at all costs.

So how to choose a dog food?  Do some careful inspection of the ingredients, and make sure that they are all real and not trying to hide anything in their wording.  Inspect the actual nutritional values and make sure that it is a primarily meat, and protein based diet.  If you have any hesitations, look that product up online and gather some reviews and analysis on the product.  Shoot for around a 30% protein content, with a lot of vitamins as well.  If you look at these things you should be able to determine the good foods from the bad pretty easily.