One of the easiest (and best) ways to strengthen your dog’s health is by feeding it a nutritious diet. Unfortunately, there are numerous low-quality dog food manufacturers who are only concerned with how much profit they can make (not how healthy their products are).
This might be why there’s such a staggering number of heart disease among dogs in the US (among numerous other common health problems like obesity and joint issues). Just like in humans, diet plays a very important role in the health of dogs. If they eat highly-processed diets that aren’t made with quality ingredients, they’re more prone to develop a host of health problems (e.g. dilated cardiomyopathy).
Other health issues that are directly related to a dog’s nutrition include pancreatitis, weight-related problems, diarrhea, and joint inflammation. As we’ve already said, one of the very best ways to ensure your dog has an optimal level of health is by feeding it a nutrient-dense diet made from high-quality ingredients.
Below we go into detail regarding how to know which type of dog food is best for your dog (e.g. ingredients to look for, ingredients to avoid, etc.). It’s never too late to change your dog’s diet, and by using the information posted below you’ll be able to make a much more informed purchasing decision for your pet.
Factors That Can Affect Which Type of Dog Food Is Best for Your Dog
Considering the fact that there are so many options available nowadays in regards to pet food, it can be quite easy to feel overwhelmed (or even worse – go into decision-paralysis). While choosing a dog food is an important part of caring for your pet, there are really only a few factors that should be considered when searching for a new brand/recipe:
- The age of your dog
- The breed of your dog
- Your dog’s medical history (and/or current medical issues)
- How much money you can spend on your pet’s diet
- Whether or not you’ll need to order it online (or you can buy it locally)
Dog Food Nutrition and Ingredients
After you’ve considered the factors listed in the previous section, the next step would be to think about the specific ingredients that you want to feed your dog. Equally as important as what the dog food is made out of, is what its nutritional data is. Dogs aren’t like cats (which are hypercarnivores); dogs need a nutritious mix of different macronutrients, vitamins, and minerals in order to be truly healthy.
For example, Purina Pro Plan dry dog food with chicken and rice is considered a high-quality dog food because of its minimally processed ingredients, as well as its proper ratio of macronutrients (along with a healthy dose of micronutrients). When you’re looking for a dog food brand/recipe, you need to carefully consider the following:
- Whether or not the brand includes additives and/or artificial flavors
- If there is an optimal level of macronutrients
- Does it contain any ingredients your dog is sensitive to?
- Is it organic?
- Has this specific product ever been recalled?
Remember when we said that dogs aren’t cats (i.e. they need more than meat to survive)? The FDA has taken note of the “grain-free” dog food trend, and their conclusions are sobering (to say the least). Simply put, your dog needs to eat a balanced diet (which means that you need to buy dog food that has an optimal nutritional profile).
Dog Nutrition 101
Dogs are just like humans; they need to eat a nutrient-dense diet that contains a diverse range of macronutrients (as well as vitamins/minerals). The food you feed your dog has to contain appropriate levels of the following nutrients:
Those are the basics that your dog’s diet must contain. If you look for a brand/recipe that contains an appropriate mix of those nutrients, your dog’s health will thank you for it. If you’re thinking about supplementing your dog’s diet or purchasing a special diet recipe, you might want to rethink that option (and it’s not just related to the increased cost either).
Purchasing dog food that contains special ingredients (e.g. certain fruits/vegetables) might seem like a good idea, but keep in mind that these ingredients aren’t usually a substantial part of the recipes. If you want to supplement your dog’s diet with fruits/vegetables it’s recommended to do that apart from its actual food (or mix it yourself).