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What Ingredients Should Be In Dog Food

Contacting The Pet Food Manufacturer

3 Ingredients To Avoid In Pet Food

If you ever have a question about the ingredients in cat food or dog food, do not hesitate to do a little homework.

Some pet food manufacturers have very descriptive websites with lists of commonly used ingredients and descriptions, but if you cannot find the information there, contact the manufacturer.

A responsible pet food manufacturer should provide you with the ingredient information, including the source and why it is included in their formulation.

Dont Be Fooled: Here Is What Dog Food Should Contain

Walking up and down the aisles of the dog food section at pet stores can be exhausting. Everything from organic to holistic to raw and high-protein foods are staring you in the face. With such a large variety of foods and price points to choose from, how do you know what is best for your dog? They all claim to be healthy or superior to the other brands. Every bag touts the benefits of healthy ingredients inside, and if you were to just base your decision on the big lettering on the bag, you might assume what you are buying is a relatively healthy mid-priced dog food. Well that assumption is very likely wrong. If you really want to know if what you are purchasing is a good choice for your dog, its time to do a little more digging.

Here are a few simple rules to help determine what dog food should contain:

Just say not to carbs. A carbohydrate should never be the first ingredient. If the first item listed is something like ground whole corn or the healthy sounding rolled oats, its not a good food choice. Dogs are carnivores by nature and while incorporating vegetables and carbohydrates into their diet is ok, youll want the majority of their diet to be comprised of meat proteins.

Related: 6 Tips on How to Care for Your Senior Dog

Avoid the soy. Refrain from foods with high soy content. Soy is estrogenic and not good for a dogs endocrine system.

Fats Especially The Essential Ones

Fats are an important part of a dog’s diet. Unlike people who eat too much fat and become obese, dogs need a moderate level of fat to be healthy. Generally, dogs need between 15 to 20 percent in their food for optimum health, although some medical conditions may require lower fats. Puppies need at least 30 percent fat in their diets for proper growth and development. They use fats in the same way humans use carbohydrates, needing the fats for energy. Fats also help dogs absorb important vitamins. Essential fatty acids, omega-3 and omega-6, have to be supplied in the diet because a dog’s body can’t produce them from other ingredients. These essential fatty acids are critical for every cell in the body to function normally. Omega-6 is in found in poultry fats, eggs and organ meats. Omega-3 is primarily found in fish oils and flax. Be sure to pick a food that contains adequate levels of fat for adults or puppies and includes sources of omega-3 and omega-6.

Recommended Reading: Darwin Pet Food Reviews

Wellness Complete Health Dry Dog Food

Rating:

Wellness Complete Health Adult Deboned Chicken and Oatmeal is one of 14 dry recipes included in our review of the Wellness Complete Health product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: Deboned chicken, chicken meal, oatmeal, ground barley, peas
  • Type: Grain-inclusive
  • Other recipes: Senior, puppy, large breed, small breed, whitefish and sweet potato, lamb and barley, turkey and oatmeal and more
  • Price: $$
  • See all 14 available recipes

This Wellness Complete Health formula derives the bulk of its meat protein from chicken and chicken meal. Our dry matter label analysis reveals the product contains 27% protein, 13% fat and 52% estimated carbs creating a fat-to-protein ratio of about 50%.

One of the best grain-inclusive kibbles on the market. Highly recommended.

Sample buyer reviewI have three dogs, all different breeds and sizes. They all love this food it has caused absolutely no stomach issues After discussing this with our awesome Veterinarian she recommended Wellness and our Goldendoodle hasnt had any stomach issues in 5 years. The stomach issues brought us to Wellness, but the quality ingredients kept us loyal.

This Instinct example derives the majority of its animal protein from beef and chicken meal. Our dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 40% protein, 23% fat and 29% estimated carbs which creates a fat-to-protein ratio of about 57%.

With multiple flavor options, Instinct makes an ideal choice for feeding picky eaters. Highly recommended.

Diamond Naturals Dry Kibble

Dog Food Ingredients You Should Always Avoid

Rating:

Diamond Naturals Extreme Athlete is one of 13 kibble recipes included in our review of the Diamond Naturals product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: Chicken meal, chicken, ground white rice, chicken fat, cracked pearled barley
  • Type: Grain-inclusive
  • Other recipes: Large breed, small breed, puppy, senior, lamb, beef and more
  • Price: $
  • See all 13 available recipes

This Diamond Naturals formula derives most of its animal protein from chicken meal and fresh chicken. Our dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 36% protein, 28% fat and 29% estimated carbs which yields a fat-to-protein ratio of about 78%.

Diamond Naturals was recently selected as one of our most affordable dog foods. Highly recommended.

Sample buyer reviewI own competitive English setter females. Im always looking for the best value per pound in what I feed my dogs. Over the past 25 years Ive tried many different foods and found that 30/20 or higher works best based upon the condition, looks, stamina, palatability and stool size, consistency and frequency. Ive fed this food before and found it is very close to, if not better than the Sport/Performance food it competes with!

This Nulo Freestyle recipe derives the bulk of its meat protein from turkey, as well as turkey and salmon meals. Our dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 37% protein, 20% fat and 35% estimated carbs which produces a fat-to-protein ratio of about 55%.

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Take A Peek At The List Of Ingredients

Taking a glance at the list of ingredients should be your priority. The ingredients in dog food must be of high quality and provide your pet with all the nutrition in a balanced way. The food must contain whole-food ingredients such as fresh meat, fruits, vegetables, and grains. Moreover, the food must have antioxidants and plant-based nutrients to boost overall health.

When People Find Out We Make Our Own Dog Food At Home They Always Ask Us What About A Raw Diet So Lets Get That Out Of The Way First

There are LOTS of thoughts and theories on feeding your dog a raw diet especially a dog that is living with kidney disease. Our vet however, was personally opposed to feeding a raw diet due to the fact that dogs, just like us, are very susceptible to food poisoning. Besides that, a raw diet can be tricky to get just right! You run the risk of giving your dog a horrible belly ache by mixing a raw diet with cooked treats, so if you decided to go raw it is important to have both raw meals and raw treats planned for your pup at all times. NO MIXING the two! Since raw and cooked foods digest at different rates any combination of the two can wreak serious havoc on your pups gut which can lead to some pretty unpleasant situations for you if you get my drift.

Also Check: Iams Veterinary Formula Skin And Coat Plus

Healthy Alternative: Go Canned Or Skip It

The process of canning dog food preserves, eliminating the need for adding chemical preservatives to food. Supplementing canned food can be beneficial by reducing your pet’s exposure to preservatives, even if you feed dry food some of the time. Whenever possible, choose natural preservatives and make sure nitrites or nitrates are not in your pet food’s ingredient list.

How To Shop For The Best Food For Dogs

Homemade Chicken Mince Dog Food Recipe (Limited Ingredient)

One of the most important steps in figuring out the best dog food is through the ingredient list, said Freeman, noting the first three are the most critical. This will help you determine if the formula is vegetable-based with things like corn and rice or meat-based with chicken, fish, or lamb, said Freeman. While each dog is different, they generally do best on a protein-rich, meat-based diet, she added.

Next, analyze what type of meat is within. Look for brands that specifically name the type of meat, like beef, chicken, or lamb, said Morgan. She noted that meat, bone meal or meat byproducts could come from any animal. Similarly, poultry meal signals any bird, she said.

The ingredients will also highlight some of what you want to avoid. Freeman suggested avoiding dog food that includes: dyes , sugar and high salt , as well as other solvents and preservatives like propylene glycol, BHA, BHT and ethoxyquin.

Also Check: Low Residue Iams

Eagle Pack Dry Dog Food

Rating:

Eagle Pack Power Adult is one of 7 dry kibble recipes included in our review of the Eagle Pack product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: Chicken meal, pork meal, ground brown rice, peas, chicken fat
  • Type: Grain-inclusive
  • Other recipes: Puppy, small breed, large and giant breed, lamb, pork and more
  • Price: $
  • See all 7 available recipes

This Eagle Pack recipe derives the bulk of its meat protein from chicken and pork meals. Our dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 33% protein, 21% fat and 38% estimated carbs yielding a fat-to-protein ratio of about 63%.

A superior kibble at an affordable price. Made by the same trusted company that also produces Wellness. Exceptional value. Highly recommended.

Sample buyer reviewShe seems to be shedding much less on Eagle Pack, and her coat condition is much better than it was. She has always been prone to itches and allergies, and she is no longer scratching herself all the time and gnawing the hair off of her paws. Im happy that this is a food that agrees with her. I wonder why I hadnt heard of Eagle Pack earlier, as I feel that it is a great food at a much more affordable price than other popular high-quality brands.

This Wellness Core formula derives the bulk of its animal protein from fresh turkey, as well as turkey and chicken meals. Our dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 38% protein, 18% fat and 36% estimated carbs producing a fat-to-protein ratio of about 47%.

Do Dogs Need Vitamin Supplements

A completely balanced and formulated diet has all the daily vitamins that your dog would need. Many commercial pet food diets are fortified to meet your dogs vitamin requirements.

Diets that have an AAFCO statement should be complete and balanced with all required vitamins. Even though confirming the percentage of vitamins in the diet is difficult, supplementation of a dogs daily diet is often not needed, and in many cases, can pose a risk of toxicity.

It is very important when choosing a diet for your dog that the AAFCO statement is included. If you are feeding a nontraditional diet that does not have an AAFCO statement, consult with a primary care veterinarian who practices advanced nutritional health or a board-certified veterinary nutritionist to ensure that your pet is meeting his or her daily nutritional requirements.

They can also discuss supplements and confirm any questions regarding pet food labeling. Over-the-counter human and canine supplements in many states are not required to undergo food studies or bioavailability testing, meaning some products may not be readily available for dogs.

Bioavailability can only be confirmed through clinical and safety trials, which show the percentage of what is available, what the active and inactive ingredients are, and what can be absorbed.

Recommended Reading: Who Makes Dr Pol Dog Food

What Kinds Of Dog Food Can You Buy

If you have looked online or wandered through a pet store recently, you may be amazed at the pet food choices available today. It wasnt that long ago that you only had to choose between dry and canned food. Thats not the case anymore.

Here are some of the kinds of dog food available today:

Along with traditional dry kibble or wet canned food, you can buy fresh or raw frozen dog food dehydrated, freeze-dried, and air-dried foods fresh refrigerated foods and semi-moist foods. There are a vast array of options when you visit a pet food store. Or you can check for discount pet food online from some of the popular sites that will deliver dog food right to your door. You can find any kind of dog food from the number one selling dog food to hard-to-find brands that have your dogs favorite recipe.

If your dog has a special health problem such as diabetes, allergies, skin problems, or stomach issues, you can also find many different foods that he should be able to eat. Is your dog overweight and he needs to go on a diet? There are all kinds of weight loss and weight control dog foods available today. Do you have a senior dog that needs to watch his weight? Or a senior dog that needs extra protein? There are foods for these dogs, too. Does your dog need a novel protein? You can find lots of brands that make foods using exotic proteins that your dog probably hasnt eaten before.

Is Human Food Safe For Dogs

Dog Food Top Ingredients I Should Look For

Well, the answer to this question is a bit tricky. Human foods are cooked and prepared, keeping in mind the nutritional requirement of humans. The occasional sharing of scraps from the table is something you can enjoy with your pet. However, you need to understand that your pet has unique nutritional needs and a digestive system that is not at all similar to humans.

For instance, fruits and vegetables that provide instant energy and nourishment to the human body may not be suitable for your pet dog. However, some human foods do come under the definition of healthy dog food. Still, excessive human food can lead to canine obesity, which is pretty harmful to your pet dog. Therefore, you must feed your furry friend dedicated dog food to fulfill all its nutritional requirements. You may want to know more about why dog kibble is better than homemade food which details the shortcomings of homemade food compared to a good quality dog kibble.

Recommended Reading: Who Makes Dr Pol Dog Food

The Three Key Ingredients Found In Good Dog Food

ByDestin Davis | Submitted On May 04, 2010

Being responsible for how healthy and how long your dog lives is only a matter of knowing what to do. A longer life means proper exercise, good hygiene and good dog food for your dog.

Most people make sure their dog gets enough exercise, is brushed often, checked for ticks and fleas but in most cases they may are misinformed about exactly what their dog needs to eat in order to live longer .

The first key ingredient- the meat

In order to find out exactly what is in your dog’s food, start by reading the ingredients listed on the bag. The first ingredient we want to see listed to make sure we have some very good dog food is the meat that supplies the protein. You should see fish, chicken, lamb, or turkey and you want to see this meat listed as the very first ingredient. Whatever ingredient is listed first is the main ingredient, so it is important that a meat is listed first.

Avoid by product foods as much as you can. They usually don’t provide good protein for your dog, and you really don’t know what part of the animal your dog is going to get, so by product meat should be avoided.

The second key ingredient is the preservatives.

What you don’t want to see is bha, bht, propyl gallate or ethoxiquin in your dog’s food as a preservative. Ethoxiquin has been allegedly linked to liver damage in dogs, so be extremely careful here. Instead, good dog food has vitamin e which allows your dog’s food to be preserved a more natural way.

Victor Classic Dry Dog Food

Rating:

Victor Hi-Pro Plus is one of 4 kibble recipes included in our review of the Victor Classic product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: Beef meal, grain sorghum, chicken fat, pork meal, chicken meal
  • Type: Grain-inclusive
  • Other recipes: Chicken, puppy, active sporting dog formula and more
  • Price: $

Victor Hi-Pro Plus derives the bulk of its meat protein from beef meal. Our dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 33% protein, 22% fat and 37% estimated carbs which creates a fat-to-protein ratio of about 67%.

An affordable, all life stages kibble recently added to our budget-friendly dog foods list. Highly recommended.

Sample buyer reviewI have 5 active dogs of all different ages. Its been a struggle to find a quality, decently priced food that kept a good weight on all of them and didnt mess with their allergies. Theyve been on this food since April and its been amazing! No bad reactions when switching to Victor, no allergies, and they are all a good weight. Highly recommend.

Rating:

Annamaet Ultra is one of 7 kibble recipes included in our review of the Annamaet product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: Chicken meal, brown rice, chicken fat, whole dry eggs, herring meal
  • Type: Grain-inclusive
  • Other recipes: Puppies, salmon, small breed, senior, weight loss and more
  • Price: $$

Especially popular with sporting dog professionals. Enthusiastically recommended.

Also Check: Where Is Natural Balance Dog Food Made

Now Lets Break Down The Recipe For My Easy Homemade Dog Food Shall We

The recipe box below contains a printable version of my go-to recipe for homemade dog food, which consist of lean ground sirloin, brown rice, carrots, hard boiled eggs, parsley, and a few tablespoons of oil that is high in Omegas. But sometimes, especially since social distancing, Ive found that it is helpful to have a list of easy substitutes for when ingredients run low. Plug in or swap out any of the items below based on what foods your pup likes/needs and what you have on hand to create your pups ideal dog food flavor profile.

Meat || Lean ground beef, ground chicken, ground white or dark meat turkey, & ground pork are all great options. Just be sure to make sure that any meat you feed your animals is free of seasonings when purchasing! Dogs living with a kidney disease diagnosis need meals that are lower in phosphorus so for us a lean ground beef like ground sirloin is best the way to go!

Eggs || Eggs are one the top 5 allergens for dogs and the yolks are very high in phosphorus -which you want to limit in dogs with kidney disease. But, eggs are also one of the highest quality forms of protein you can feed your pet! Ultimately, a hard boiled egg is Hoochs favorite thing on the planet so, with our vets approval we opted to leave them in his food.

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