With all the latest news about bad dog food, we thought it was important to do a post on reading dog food labels. There are so many dog foods out there today. How do you pick the right one for your dog?
The best way is to start by reading the dog food label for the list of ingredients. Dog food manufacturers are required by federal law to list all ingredients on the dog food label in descending order of their pre-cooking weights. Unfortunately, they do not have to list the exact amount or percentage of the ingredients, so this is not really an exact science, but it’s a good guideline and definitely the place you want to start. Also check the bag to see where the dog food is manufactured. To be safe, we recommend staying with U.S. produced dog food and avoiding foods made in China due to some prior quality issues.
As stated by the Dog Food Advisor and many other experts, when evaluating any dog food you want to look for high quality, digestible meat-based proteins. These should be at the top of the list. Proteins such as beef, chicken, turkey, lamb and fish are ideal. Avoid foods that list “meat” or meat by-products as these are often a combination of unwanted meats and have little nutritional value for your pet.
It’s fine to have some good vegetables in your dog food, for example sweet potato, green beans, cauliflower, broccoli, zucchini, squash, carrots and peas. Fruits such as apples, cranberries and bananas can also be included.
You want to avoid preservatives and dog food “fillers” which contain little to no nutritional value, for example: wheat, corn, cornmeal, white flour, soy, wheat gluten, cottonseed hulls, peanut hulls, citrus pulp, screening, weeds, straw, BHA, and BHT. In addition, avoid added sugar, artificial flavors, colors and dyes.
Last but definitely not least – make sure your dog likes it. There are so many choices out there you should be able to find a dog food your dog likes!
Now that we have dog food covered, learn about which human foods dogs should avoid.