If you own a dog, you know the importance of your dog’s diet. Focusing on nutrition can be one of the best ways to keep your animal healthy and help them live a long life. One of the first things you should do is learn to read the labels, just like you would on your own food. Certain things should not be in your dog’s diet, and you should do your best to avoid them.
Learning what the labels mean and what ingredients are suitable for dogs takes a lot of research. You will also want to be wary of any myths you read about on the internet. For instance, you should not feed your dog eggs for a shiny coat. This is, in fact, bad for dogs. If you hear any sort of information you are unsure of the best thing to do is talk to your vet about it.
Talking to your vet and getting recommendations for dog food can be one of the best ways to get a solid diet plan for your dog. You can ask about specific health problems and which food will help it or hinder the issues. This article will go over a few of the words on the packaging that you should know to make an informed decision on your dog’s food.
How to Read Dog Food Labels
Start at the top and read the brand name. Most will have reputations that you can read about online. The brand name will let you know what kind of reviews they have as a whole and be one of the first indicators of how they make and process their dog food. If a brand has no company website, you may want to avoid that specific brand. It is important to compare all brands you have an interest in.
Next, you will want to look at how much actually comes in a package and the amount of nutrition. If you buy a small bag for $50, it may not be worth it, this will depend on the ingredients. You will want to make sure the amount of food is worth the price. If it is high-quality food, the price still may be worth it.
After looking at the weight and amount, you will want to look at what the packaging guarantees. If they guarantee organic food, you will want to be sure the ingredients listed in the ingredient section match this promise. If it does not list any ingredients that match the guarantee section, pick a different brand.
Lastly, look at the ingredients. If your vet recommends any ingredient, make sure you find that in the dog food you choose. There will be other foods that you will want to avoid, and you should write a list of that before going in. The FDA has certain requirements for dog food labels. Also, keep in mind that it is okay to switch up dog food, dogs actually love the variety, and it may make them eat more.
Ingredients to Avoid
There are certain things you will want to make sure are not in dog food. Sometimes these ingredients are used as fillers, some are preservatives, and others are just not good for your dog’s belly and will need to be avoided.
- Gluten – Not all dogs are celiac, but it can really upset their tummies. You will want to be careful and avoid this sort of ingredient when looking for dog food. It can cause itchy skin and ear infections if you are not careful.
- Corn – This is a debatable ingredient. In small amounts, it is okay for dogs to eat, but in large amounts daily, it is incredibly bad for their stomachs. If you buy dog food with corn in it, you will want to be sure it is minimal amounts, enough for the nutritional value but not enough to harm your dog.
- Ethoxyquin – This is a food preservative that is FDA approved, but it can cause severe problems in your dog’s body. Some vets believe that it is linked to horrible side effects and problems like allergies, organ failure, skin problems, and cancer.
- BHA and BHT – Another preservative used in dog food that is linked to severe problems. They are chemicals added in the fats of the dog food. They help prevent the food from going bad, but they also reduce the nutritional value of food. These preservatives can cause cancer in dogs.
- Food Dyes – Some brands believe these dyes create a more desirable appearance. However, these dyes can cause severe allergic reactions and gastrointestinal upset in your dog.
- Rendered Fat – To get rendered fat, they boil it at a low temperature until the proteins become solid. They strain the liquid fat from the solid fat. Once that happens, you have pure fat that can be added to dog food. High-fat diets are not only bad for humans but also for your pets! Adding rendered fat adds in way too many calories. This can cause obesity, low energy levels, and diarrhea.
- Propylene Glycol – This is another preservative that keeps the dog food moist, or “fresh.” Too much can cause a dog to have seizures, anemia, panting, and being overly exhausted. If you can be sure to avoid this ingredient, especially if you have a puppy.
For a complete list of ingredients to avoid, you should talk to your vet. They will have the best recommendations for dog food, and things to avoid if your dog has any health problems that could be brought on by foods.
Ingredients to Love
There are a few ingredients you should keep in your dog’s diet. Meat meal is actually a very nutritious source of protein and does not cause any known allergies. It is lightweight, with no bones and high protein, so you will want to be sure to look for it in food.
You will want to look for a good mix of carbs, healthy fats, fiber, electrolytes, and vitamins. The point is to make sure your dog has a well-rounded meal they can enjoy. It will help them live long, healthy, and provide all of the nutrients they need. You can help your dog be successful.
How Does Bad Dog Food Affect Your Dog?
Depending on your dog, food affects how your dog acts. Too many harmful chemicals could leave your dog feeling irritable, tired, and aggressive. Ensuring they have a proper diet can also help them feel more active and keep them much healthier.