In the age of avocado toast and pressed juices, it seems like everyone is more and more cautious about what they choose to consume on a daily basis. Eating nutritious food is one of the most vital parts of a healthy lifestyle and it is no different for our canine companions. A treat here and there is rarely a bad thing, but making sure that your canine companion is on a diet that fits them is important for their long-term health and well being. It may seem like a simple task, but the pet food industry is growing quickly as traditional food companies move into the pet food space.
According to the American Pet Food Association, retail sales of pet food in the U.S. have nearly doubled in the last decade to more than $30 billion. This growth has led some major food companies to buy up pet food businesses in an attempt to break into the industry. With these companies moving into the pet food space, there are more dietary options for owners and their canine companions than ever before. With all these options, finding the best diet for your pup can be a daunting task. In this post, we will explore the pet food industry and give out some tips on how to find the best food for your pup.
From organic dog foods to natural dog foods and wet foods to dry foods and everything in between, there are a lot of options for pet parents. The important thing is making sure that your dog gets the proper nutrition that is appropriate for their size and breed. Dogs are not strict carnivores and, while meat makes up a majority of their diet, domestic dogs also derive nutrients from grains, fruits, and vegetables. These non-meat foods are a valuable source of essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber. The best quality dog foods contain high-quality versions of these ingredients that are appropriate for your pups digestive system. Dogs require a wide range of nutrients in different quantities over the course of their lives and it is important to understand that the nutritional needs of a puppy are different than those of an adult dog when selecting a new brand of dog food. The Merck Veterinary Manual is a good source if you are looking for information on nutritional requirements as well as recommended servings based on your dog’s age and weight.
Some dogs have dietary restrictions and allergies which can affect how they process certain pet food ingredients. It is important to know if your dog has any food allergies and to buy pet food accordingly. For example, if your dog has a grain allergy it is best to choose a grain-free diet. It is also important to understand that some things we may see as inedible contain important nutrients for pups. Quality animal byproducts like organs and entrails often contain more nutrients than the muscle meat consumed by humans.
The easiest way to determine if a dog food is good or bad is to read the label. It seems simple, but most dog food labels are written in small print and can be misleading if not read properly. Labels are required to tell you the product name, net weight of the product, name, and address of the manufacturer, guaranteed analysis, list of ingredients, intended animal species, statement of nutritional adequacy, and feeding guidelines. This information is basic, but it is vital in making an informed decision when purchasing dog food.
Product names tell you a lot about the product. If the term “beef” is used that means beef must make up at least 70 percent of the entire product. The terms “beef dinner” and “beef platter” only require that beef makes up at least 10 percent of the entire product. “With beef” only requires that 3 percent of the total product be beef, and “beef flavor” implies that there is enough beef in the product to flavor it, which is typically less than 3 percent. The ingredients list on the label will tell you what’s in the product, but not necessarily the quality of the ingredients. Though reading the ingredients may not inform you of the quality, it does tell you what is in the food which is important for pups with special dietary needs or allergies.
One of the most important things to look for on a dog food label is the statement “complete and balanced.” Products with this statement on the label are held to strict requirements by the Association of American Feed Control Officials. Complete and balanced diets must contain the minimum amount of all nutrients necessary for dogs. It is also important to research your dogs breed to find out if there are any additional nutritional requirements you need to be aware of.
These are just some basic tips to help you on your journey to finding the diet that best fits your pet. If you need further details, the American Kennel Club has more information on pet nutrition and pet food. We hope this helps you on your journey to finding the perfect diet for your canine companion!
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