I want my dogs to be healthy and around for a long time so I make sure I give them plenty of exercise and feed them good quality dog food. The problem is, it is a chore to buy a good quality dog food.
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Even the specialist dog food/products stores are now stocking mostly the big name brands, which unfortunately have very little meat/vegetables/quality source protein and are stacked with fillers. Looking at the ingredients, a typical big brand dog food such as Pedigree, Butchers, Supermarket home brands etc are 4% meat and animal derivatives and 90+% ash or other random ingredient.I contacted the big brands and asked them about their ingredients, each responded with what seems to be a standard pre-composed response along the lines of
Speaking to veterinarians they say that a dogs meal should consist of 50% and 50% vegetables with no grain, wheat or ambiguous fillers. To make up for the lack of these quality ingredients, main brand dog food is enhanced with vitamins. To make their food taste better some companies spray their food with animal fat – nice.
Looking in the big four supermarkets in the UK their own brand dog food contains less meat than the big brands, so whilst it is generally noticeably cheaper to buy it can prove a false economy as
Good quality dog food means they eat less saving you money
The more quality ingredient such as meat a dog food has, the quicker the dog gets full and the more nutrients they get ounce for ounce. Iams have recently been using this as their main advertising ploy “dogs on Iams eat this much, dogs on other foods eat this much” with two very different sized piles.
When buying a dog food, the first thing to look for is the ingredients list. Just like on human foods, the main ingredient is listed first. The first items should be a quality source of animal protein such as chicken, beef, fish, lamb or turkey. Some may list just the word meat or meat derivatives, I tend to avoid those at that could mean anything!
Be wary of wheat gluten, this is often used to thicken the gravy in canned foods or used as a protein replacement in dry foods.Wheat, soya and dairy cause sensitivities in many dogs just like they do for humans so try to avoid these.
Look for an expiration date, dates way into the future will likely contain less meat and more preservatives.
I have noticed recently that Tescos have started to stock Lathams dog food which is a great dog food. They avoid fillers such as wheat and gluten and focus on making their food as natural as possible.To my knowledge, this is the first quality dog food that has made its way onto supermarket shelves, although I haven`t seen it in many pet stores as yet.
All dogs are different, keeping in mind the above info here is a rough guide to the nutrition for your dog
A while ago I wrote a post on feeding your dog raw food that might also be a consideration for all ages and breeds of dog. Head over to that page to see what that is all about.
What do you feed your dog, let us know in the comments below.