What to Look For When Choosing a Dog Food
Deciding what kind of food you are going to feed your canine companion is an important decision that can sometimes be challenging. There are many marketing schemes for dog food just as there are for human food that can give you false pretenses. We owe it to our dogs to be responsible owners and to take the time to do the research and find out the truth about what we are feeding our dogs. Our pets deserve to have a healthy and balanced diet, not a fast-food quality kibble.
There are three main things that you want to be sure to avoid when purchasing a dog food:
- Meat by-products. Animal by-products are what are left on a slaughtered animal after the edible parts have been removed. They include the waste of meat processing not intended for human consumption. For example this can be feet, backs, heads, brains, spleens, intestines, stomachs, etc. These will be labeled in the ingredient panel as chicken by-product meal, turkey by-product meal, etc. Even worse than named by-product meals are generic by-product meals that will be named as “meat meal” or “meat by-product meal.” These generic meats can also contain road kill, dead zoo animals, dead on arrival poultry, and/or diseased and dying livestock.
- Corn, corn meal, or corn gluten meal should all also be avoided. Unfortunately, corn is present in many dog foods. Corn has been contributed to many of the diseases linked to high carbohydrate diets, including obesity, chronic inflammation, diabetes and cancer. Often very low-quality corn is used as well which often contains toxins including mycotoxins and mold which cause damage to a pet’s liver and kidneys.
- Chemical preservatives: BHA, BHT, Proply Gallate, Ethoxyquin, Sodium Nitrate/Nitrate, and TBHQ. Most of these chemical preservatives have been found to cause cancer and other major health issues and have been banned from use in human foods, but unfortunately our pets do not receive the same protection.
Modern day dogs evolved from wolves and even though our dogs may look quite different than wolves now after centuries of selective breeding, they still have an almost identical genetic makeup. Consequently, our dogs are still carnivores and to be healthy require a diet that consists of mostly meat. Grain-free diets are typically considered higher quality foods for our dogs because don’t naturally eat grains. To keep it simple though, good quality dog foods will typically have meat listed as the first two ingredients and will be free of any by-products, unnamed meat meals, and any corn products. Or you can check out your dogs current or future dog food ratings at www.dogfoodadvisor.com for some honest straight up reviews.