What is the best dog food on the market?

There is a lot of information making the rounds on the internet that all sorts of harmful chemicals and products are being put in your dog’s food. This article will discuss what is considered good and bad ingredients and what to look for when buying dog food and to see what is the best dog food on the market.

What are the best ingredients in dog food?

Ingredients to look out for and ingredients to avoid.

There are a number of dog food ingredients that should be avoided. Don’t buy dog food that contains the preservatives BHT (butylhydroxytoluene) or BHA (Butylated hydroxyanisole).  They are synthetic food additives used to prolong the shelf life of the dog food. The problem is that they are known human carcinogens and have been known to cause cancer in laboratory animals. In recent years dog food manufacturers have been using more natural food preservatives; but these chemicals are still present in some cheaper brands of dog food.

Avoid meat by-products. Despite the name these by-products of the human food industry contain little or no actual meat. They are leftovers from the slaughter process which includes kidneys, lungs, spleens, brain and liver amongst others.  Cheaper dog foods often contain meat by-products and they generally contain less protein than real meat dog food. More expensive and premium brands of dog food do contain real meat, although the labels ‘human grade’ is often misleading. High protein dog food brands tend to use the higher grade meats in their food.

Grain substitutes are also to be avoided. Grain or corn is often used to ‘fill’ out the cheaper brands of dog food that contain meat-by products and to boost the protein content of the food.  This corn and grain have little to no nutritional value they and are also hard for dogs to digest causing digestive problems that may prevent further absorption of vital nutrients contained in the food. Furthermore, some dogs have been known to develop serious allergies to grain products in dog food. A grain free dog diet is also good for dogs with digestive problems.

The best ingredients in Dog Food.

Some ingredients are not all they appear to be.

Typical Dog Food Tin
Credit: JuditK http://www.flickr.com/photos/juditk/5691152193/

Always read the label

Always read the labels of any dog food you buy. The most important ingredient, particularly in wet or canned dog food is protein. Protein in dog food can be obtained from several source; vegetable protein and real animal meat.  If the first two or three ingredients listed on the can are corn, soy or anything other than animal meat, it is an indicator that the food does not contain the right amounts of protein.

Are there any animal by-products listed in the ingredients? Although many people believe that these are good sources of protein, the reality is that they only contain small amounts of protein compared to real meat.  Animal by-products can also be hard to digest, leaving little opportunity for your dog to get the correct amount of protein in its diet.

A well fed dog is a happy dog!

A well fed dog is a happy dog
Credit: Yummyporky: http://www.flickr.com/photos/yummy-porky/3874354973/

Establish the source of fat in the dog food.  The best source of fats for your dog should be animal fats. Animal fat in dog food is easy to digest and absorb into the body.  The recommended percentage of fat in dog food is between 15 and 19% fat content. Some pet food manufactures use cheap sources of fat such as old restaurant fat that is indigestible to dogs.

Does the label mention any specific meat product such as “chicken meal”.  Brands that specifically label meat sources as “meal” would have concentrated the meat product before adding it to the food. This provides a greater concentration of protein. If the label just says “chicken meat”, the meat sill contains the water content and therefore contains a lesser amount of protein than the concentrated forms of meat.

Also look for any additional nutritional benefits listed on the label. Vitamins, minerals, vegetables, fibre and bacteria cultures are all good ingredients for your dog.

Pet Food Ingredients

Types of dog food and ingrediets found in them