But I feed good dog food!?
But I feed good dog food?!
“So what do you feed him or her??” “Well, I feed them good dog food. You know, the one in the yellow bag, Doc!”
There are SO many good commercial dog foods out there! It seems like just in the past 10 years the dog food industry has exploded. There are things that are important to look for in a dog food and then there are things that are not that important but are advertising gimmicks. So, I thought this would be a good blog topic.
The first thing I normally recommend people do is feed a diet specific to their dogs life stage. For example, puppy food for puppies and senior food for seniors (OR “mature” as some people like to call them). If a food says it is good for all life stages, it makes me wonder how that is possible to have a food with the caloric needs of a growing puppy yet be also good for a sedentary senior arthritic pet. You should now wonder too!
Food ingredients on a package are in the order of quantity, from most to least. If chicken is the #1 ingredient, it has the most chicken. Usually, the higher quality the food is, the less amount of by- products present and the more “real” ingredients.
Animals that have food allergies cannot tolerate certain food ingredients, usually certain proteins. Animals with food allergies typically have RECURRENT skin and/or ear problems that are NON SEASONAL in nature. They may also have stomach or bowel issues, but not always. Food allergies are USUALLY seen in animals less than 1 year of age or older than 7 years of age. For these dogs, I recommend a 6-8 week long food trial to diagnose food allergies. During this time nothing can be fed other than the test diet (no treats, bones, human food, cat food, cat poop, dog poop, etc). The best test diets are prescription diets available from your veterinarian.
There are some over the counter diets I recommend people try for dogs they suspect are food allergic, but for whatever reason they do not want to do the food trial. These foods have protein sources of fish, or duck and carbohydrate sources of rice or potato. I avoid CHICKEN, BEEF, and CORN.
What about all the other dogs who are not food allergic? I recommend a good, life stage appropriate food. A good rule of thumb is you pay for what you get. If you are buying your food from the gas station, you probably should re evaluate. Remember there are no regulations or requirements for a dog food label to say all natural or holistic, so READ THE INGREDIENTS. All dog food should be AAFCO ( Association of American Feed Control Officials) labeled. Go to www.aafco.org to learn more about how to read pet food labels and also how to file complaints about pet food.
Wag More, Bark Less,