New Year, New Dog: Choosing The Right Dry Food For Your Pet

A little time researching and learning to read dog food labels will take you a long way in choosing the best food for your dog.  You know your pet better than anyone. You will see changes for the better or sometimes for the worse when you have introduced your dog to a new food.  Be sure to keep an eye on your pet if you are trying something new to make sure they do not have any allergies to the food and that it agrees with their system.

Keep in mind, ingredients are listed in order of the volume of percentages in the food.  Below are a few dos and don’ts of finding the right dog food.

What to look for in dry dog food:

  1. MEAT!! Dogs are carnivores and thrive on a meat based diet.  The source of the protein is important to your pet’s health.  Look for dog foods where the first ingredient or first few ingredients are a meat or a meat “meal,” something such as, turkey, chicken, lamb, beef, salmon, etc.   You want a dog food that specifically identifies the sort of meat.
  2. The next couple of ingredients should be a vegetable, and unless the formula is grain free, a whole grain source such as brown rice, and possibly a fruit. Often grain free formulas will include potatoes as a starch to hold the food together during processing.
  3. Look for food preserved with vitamins E and C, often called tocopherols.

What to avoid in dry dog food:

  1. If your dog food lists corn or soy in any form on the ingredients, put it back on the shelf. Corn is a cheap filler ingredient, with no nutritional value to pets as well as a known allergenic.  Soy can wreak havoc on your pet’s endocrine system.
  2. Avoid foods where the first ingredient is a non-descript protein and non-descript protein meals. These might include the following: Meat, Poultry, Animal, any kind of meat by-product, etc.  By-products can contain things such as parts of beaks, feathers, feet, hooves, hair and even tumors.
  3. If you see any of these on the label, reconsider its purchase: Ethoxyquin (a cousin to antifreeze), BHA (butylated hydroxyamisole), BHT (butylated hyroxytoluene), and propyl gallate, are all chemical additives used to preserve dog food and are not allowed in human food due to their link with carcinomas.

Start the new year off right for your pup with a healthy food that’s right for them!