If you’re reading this, it might be because you know all about what’s in most economy dog foods. You may be looking to buy healthy dog food, but you want to know which is the best. If this is the case, feel free to skip to the next section, otherwise please read on as we review the ingredients and myths of most dog foods found in supermarkets.
Dog food myths and realities
A common myth is that you can feed the same dog food to your pet for long periods of time (maybe even his entire life). Nothing could be further from the truth, especially if we’re talking about cheap commercial dog food. In order to make more profit, many mass producing manufacturers use the cheapest ingredients to comply with the guaranteed analysis. This is, the minimum requirements for things like protein, fat, and fiber.
In order to increase the percentage of protein, some companies will use grains as a main ingredient. The problem is that dogs cannot properly digest foods like corn, wheat and soy, besides the fact that they cause strain on their kidneys, and result in premature aging. You’ll find these in dog food labels as ground yellow corn, ground whole wheat, whole grain corn, among other names.
So, do they use meat at all? Yes they do, just not the quality you’d expect.
That’s where terms like “by-products” and “meat and bone meal” come into play. This is meat that’s not qualified for humans, such as chicken heads, fish heads, intestines. Dead pets, animal farms or roadkill are all included under these terms. Animals that may have been injected with steroids, antibiotics, or died of different diseases and traumas. They’re ground up in factories, and can make for a large percentage of your pet’s food.
Chemicals and preservatives are the worst part of these foods. They can be in storage for up to 18 months before they’re even put on the shelves, so they need powerful chemicals. The top 3 chemical preservatives used are BHA, BHT and Ethoxyquin. The first two are known carcinogens, and can cause liver and kidney failure. Ethoxyquin is used as a rubber stabilizer.
Buy Healthy Dog Food
So, here’s how to buy healthy dog food:
- Read the label. The first few ingredients will be the predominant ones. Look for meat as their first ingredient, followed by other types of meat, a vegetable or grain.
- Look for ingredients preserved with Vitamin E or C.
- Avoid foods that list grains, by-products or meat and bone meal as their main ingredient.
- Avoid those that have BHT, BHA or Ethoxyquin as preservatives.
Best healthy dog food brands
With an increasing number of people who expect better quality food for their pets, there have been many companies to step up to the challenge. The Whole Dog Journal
is a great publication we recommend you sign up to. Every year they release a report in which they rate the best wet and dry foods. There are some incredible products out there, some of which are mentioned below.
Another option we recommend is cooking for your dog. You can prepare it from scratch, or you can use dog mix. All you have to do is add meat and water to get an all-natural, homemade dog food in a matter of minutes. Flint River Ranch, Sojourner Farms, Dr. Harvey’s Canine Health, The Honest Kitchen are fantastic recommended products under this category.
With any dietary change, it’s recommended you do so gradually to allow your dog’s stomach to adapt to change. At the very least, you now have a better idea on how to read pet food labels, but we highly suggest you make an extra effort and find him the best you can offer. You can also include supplements in his food. Your pet has the potential to live well into his 20s if he receives the proper nutrition. He’ll appreciate it, and so will you.