What You Need to Know When Choosing Dog Food

There are lots of choices when it comes to dog food and finding the right one can be an overwhelming task. Or, you see something advertised and think it’s the perfect solution. The right way to go about choosing the right food for your four-legged friend is to understand food labels. Doing so gives you enough knowledge to differentiate the truth from marketing hype.

Understanding Food Labels

Ingredients are listed in order of weight and that’s from highest to lowest. However, the label doesn’t specify just how much of that ingredient is in there – it just lists the ingredients. In short, you really don’t know whether there’s too much or too little of a specific ingredient.

Luckily, there’s a way to make sense of all that: knowing the main building blocks of nutrition. These are carbohydrates, protein and fat.

Nutrition Building Blocks

  • Protein

Your fluffy friend is a carnivore and as such, needs a good amount of protein in their diet. While their protein intake can come from plants, it is best if the source is from animals. One of the important elements your pooch gets from protein is amino acids. Your dog can’t manufacture amino acids on their own so they need to source it from somewhere else.

Don’t buy food that lists plant-based proteins and these include any grain or starch engine with gluten, meal or protein. You should also avoid any mention of a meat plus the word meal like chicken meal as that’s not pure meat. Lastly, don’t buy products with generic protein offerings; always go for products that list down actual meats without anything appended to it.

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Choosing Dog food


  • Fat

This is a source of energy. It’s also important in keeping cells, muscles and nerves healthy. Fats are also helpful in absorbing fat-soluble vitamins such as A, D, E and K. While fat is good, not every type of fat is healthy.

Avoid food products that list down generic fat like animal fat. You want the label to be specific like chicken fat or beef fat. The same goes for plant fat.

As mentioned earlier, not every fat is good for your dog and that includes fish oil. This isn’t good as it eliminates an unpleasant odor when exposed to oxygen. So it gets smellier every time you open the bag.

  • Carbohydrates

Your furry friend doesn’t actually need a whole lot of this but most dog food products have around 40 to 60% of it. Carbohydrates aren’t good because it can disrupt the gut lining causing inflammation and disruption. When inflammation occurs, other issues can appear such as diabetes, allergies and even cancer. Carbohydrates are also linked with weight gain because they cause insulin to spike which makes it harder for the body to break down fat.

All this said, carbohydrates in dog food is unavoidable because it has starch which holds the food together. If this is the case, then look for whole grains in the ingredient list.

With these in mind, you can choose the right food product for your pooch that contains what they need to be healthy.

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