Did you know that just by choosing a quality dog food, you can prolong your dog’s life and avoid potential health risk such as heart disease and obesity? Taking time to learn to read and understand dog food labels is essential. It will allow you to choose a food that is appropriate for your dog and save them from a poor quality life full of health problems and give them a quality lifespan.
Feeding a poor quality food can cause a multitude of health issues for your dog. To name a few:
- Heart problems
- Poor Energy Levels
- Digestive problems
There are many factors that are important in determining which food is ideal for your individual dog. A good place to begin is by evaluating your dog’s personal information. This will include the following:
- Both current and past health conditions.
- Any and all injuries, especially those that cause repeated disability or pain
- How old they are
- Food likes and dislikes
Start by evaluating your dog’s general health. Have they had many illnesses in their lifetime or perhaps they are overweight? Do they fight recurring health problems? By identifying any special needs your dog may have, you can begin to narrow down your food choices based on their individual health needs. For example, if you have a working dog such as a Border Collie, they require high amounts of protein because they are extremely active and need the protein to support their energy needs.
Consider any injuries your dog may have suffered including both current and past injuries. Often injuries such as a broken bone, can lead to arthritic pain and joint pain. If your dog has joint issues or hip dysplasia, they are going to need a food or supplement that can both improve the condition and alleviate the pain.
Your dog’s age also plays an important role in choosing a quality food. Foods that are specifically designed for different ages, contain different amounts of protein. It’s very important to know what level of protein your dog needs. Feeding the wrong food to a puppy for example, can cause them to grow at an unhealthy rate. The same with an older dog, if your dog is older, too much protein is harmful for them.
Many dogs suffer from allergies such as itching. Often these allergies are brought on by an ingredient in their food. Simply by switching to a dog food that has healthier ingredients will often clear up your dog’s allergy.
Last but certainly not least is your dog’s individual taste. What flavors or ingredients do they like or dislike? When you purchase a quality food, you will automatically gain flavor and improved taste because the ingredients are fresher and higher quality.
These are just one step in choosing a quality dog food for your precious pup. To help you get started, here are a few guidelines to follow when making your quality food choice.
- Make sure the first listed ingredients are a whole meat source such as chicken, salmon or lamb.
- Avoid low quality grains like corn or split grains like rice gluten. These only serve as fillers in poor quality foods and contain little or no nutritional value.
- Choose a Food that is certified by AAFCO. This guarantees that the food you choose has at least met some nutritional standards.
- Use a dog food comparison tool to confirm your choices are quality foods.
Once you have made a few quality dog food choices, do a sampling test with your dog. Try each food to see how your dog gets along with it. Remember to only try one food at a time and space each trial out. If you introduce too many new foods at once, it can upset your dog’s stomach and cause diarrhea. It’s also a good idea to always make an appointment with your veterinarian to check for in health issues you may be unaware of.
Remember this is only one step in the process of choosing a quality dog food and to complete the process, you need to continue learning to decipher dog food labels and the ingredients.