The food you feed your dog is the most important decision you will make in their life. Pet food recalls have opened the eyes of many consumers in recent years. Many consumers remain confused as to what constitutes a quality dog food, though.
Alarming Pet Health Statistics
In America, one in four dogs will die of cancer. Dog obesity is as large a problem as human obesity. Studies have shown a dogs life expectancy should be around 25 years but the average lifespan of a dog in America is only 11 years. All of these issues trace directly to what you choose to feed your dog.
Read Ingredients List
When choosing a dog food it is important to read the ingredients list. Some of it may be confusing but a few tips will help you pick a quality food.
What dog food ingredients to look for:
- Meat: Not many foods contain whole meat. Most contain rendered meats or meal. Avoid these foods.
- Vegetables: Dogs are not strictly carnivores. They will eat vegetables when given the opportunity.
- Berries: Dogs love berries and they are good for them as well.
What dog food ingredients to Avoid:
- Rendered meats: Rendered meats have oils removed and the use of rendered meats is one reason fillers are used to hold kibble together. The rendering process not only separates fat and removes water to create a concentrated protein product, it also kills bacteria, viruses, parasites and other organisms. Because meat can be rid of infectious agents through the rendering process, “4D” animals (dead, dying, diseased or disabled) are allowable meal ingredients. While not always present, the possible inclusion of these ingredients makes meal always considered unfit for human consumption.
- Meat meals: This is cheap protein of low quality. See above.
- Grains: Dogs have many allergies to grains. You can fix a variety of health issues by eliminating grains from your dog’s diet.
- Corn gluten meal: Corn gluten meal is a byproduct of corn (maize) processing that has historically been used as an animal feed. It can also be used as an organic herbicide. Do you really want to feed your dog a herbicide?
- Animal Digest: Animal Digest is material which results from chemical and/or enzymatic hydrolysis of clean and undecomposed animal tissue. The animal tissues used shall be exclusive of hair, horns, teeth, hooves and feathers, except in such trace amounts as might occur unavoidably in good factory practice and shall be suitable for animal feed.
I also recommend avoiding foods that have been recalled. Blue Buffalo is a food that has recently begun a huge advertising push as a high quality pet food. Blue Buffalo has been on the recall list, though. I would never feed my dog any food that has ever been recalled, period.
If you are real serious about feeding your dog the best and understanding dog food and nutrition, this product is a fabulous resource: Dog Food Secrets.