How to Select A Great Dog Food
Imagine you’re browsing the dog food section at your local grocery or pet store, passing countless bright, shiny packages of dog food, most with attractive pictures of happy pets chomping down on their seemingly delicious meals. Except for the differences in packaging, all of them seem the same. They all seem to offer all of the nutrients a dog needs to thrive, along with various other claims, so you simply settle on one of the first, and one of the least expensive, dog food packages.
Dogs, Our Carnivorous Pets
They have a mouth full of pointed teeth, designed to hold onto objects and tear at meat, much different than human teeth meant to grind our food. Each one of their senses- scent, vision, and hearing- evolved over tens, even hundreds of thousands of years to finely augment their tracking and hunting abilities. Their bodies are designed to thrive off a specific diet both rich in certain essential amino acids found abundantly in animal meat, and almost no carbs (sugars) at all. Even their instincts are suited to hunting.
Believe it or not, both a wolve’s and wild dog’s natural diet consisted of almost no lants (corn, wheat, peas, potatoes) at all, and almost entirely animal meat. They have no use for the extra carbs found in these plant products; a dog’s body doesn’t use carbohydrates for energy like a human’s. In some cases, too many carbs can actually cause harm.
Sadly, the largest and most popular pet food brands out there are produce some of the cheapest pet foods, using the cheapest ingredients. Many of them love to create plant based products loaded with cheaply grown fillers like corn or wheat, offering little actual nutritional value.
Before purchasing dog food, check the nutritional label on the back of your container. This is easier than it sounds! Simply take a look at the first three ingredients.
Feed your dog a meat based dog food.
Check the first three ingredients on your dog food nutritional label, ensuring the first (if not two or three) is a source of animal meat, not plants.
Essential Amino Acids
Though most dog food brands love to boast high protein contents on the front of their packaging, they don’t always provide the ‘right kind’ of protein. It isn’t just protein a dog needs, it’s the amino acids proteins are broken down to that their bodies use.
Proteins can be enormous compounds, containing any combination of amino acids. In our bodies (and a dog’s) these proteins are broken down to those amino acid building blocks. Some amino acids can be naturally created in our bodies, but others must be found in our diets. If we (our dogs) don’t find enough of these ‘essential amino acids’ in the proteins from our foods, we will become deficient and unhealthy.
The essential amino acids a dog’s body needs are both readily and easily found in animal proteins (animal meat), but correct amounts are very hard to find in plants. This becomes a problem when you are feeding your pet a dog food made mostly from plants; the dog must eat more to gain the proper nutrition.
Over 50% of domestic pets (dogs/cats) are considered clinically overweight or obese, amounting to several million on each side!
Low Quality Dog Food Ingredients
In order to identify a great food for your dog, you’ll need to be able to identify cheap, low quality ingredients. This is a lot easier than it sounds! In most cheap pet foods, these will be listed near the top of the list. Ingredients are listed within a nutritional label in order of appearance, the most first and so on.
Fillers: Plant based ingredients, like corn and wheat, are often used as a very cheaply grown ‘filler’ ingredient in order to make a food seem like more than what it is, offering very little actual nutrition.
Meat By-product: Meat byproducts aren’t actually meat at all, but just another inexpensive ingredient for manufacturers to use. In reality, these are things like lungs, spleen, kidneys, brain, livers, blood, bone, partially defatted low temperature fatty tissue, & stomachs & intestines.
Meat and Bone Meal: First of all, obscure, nameless ‘meat meals’ can be absolutely any kind of meat coming from any source; you have no idea. Dog food manufacturers have been said to use euthanized pets in their meat meals.
Specific meals, like ‘Chicken meal’ or ‘Beef meal’ can contain up to 300% more protein, and are high quality ingredients. ‘Meat meal’ should be avoided. Bone meal is considered difficult to digest;the best quality meats are deboned for easy digestion.
Compare and contrast the top ten ingredients listed within the two dog foods below. Which would you rather feed your dog, now that you know what to look for?
Food #1: Low Quality
Top 15 Ingredients: Whole grain corn, meat and bone meal, corn gluten meal, beef fat naturally preserved with mixed-tocopherols, soybean meal, poultry by-product meal, chicken, egg and chicken flavor, whole grain wheat, animal digest, salt, calcium carbonate, potassium chloride, mono and dicalcium phosphate, l-lysine monohydrochloride.
Food #2: High Quality
Top 15 Ingredients: Deboned chicken, deboned turkey, yellowtail ﬂounder, whole eggs, whole atlantic mackerel, chicken liver, turkey liver, chicken heart, turkey heart, whole atlantic herring, dehydrated chicken, dehydrated turkey, dehydrated mackerel, dehydrated chicken liver, dehydrated turkey liver.
Conclusion: The Best Dog Food
After comparing the two, it’s pretty clear #2 is the preferred dog food! Notice how the first food highlighted in red uses several fillers, meat and bone meal, by-products, and other chemically processed ingredients very few people have ever heard of.
Food number two, however, uses mostly animal meat and other animal based products, a dog’s natural diet. They even offer several forms of organ meats, a superb dog food ingredient!
Remember to take a quick look at the ingredients next time you’re out shopping for your pet. It will only take a few seconds, and your dog’s health will benefit more than you can know!
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