How To Read A Pet Food Label
Just like human food brands, dog food brands use marketing to make their products more appealing. That means they’ve got nice-looking images and aesthetically pleasing color schemes on the packaging that are meant to signify the healthfulness and quality of the food. But in order to know the truth about the appropriateness of a dog food, it’s essential to learn what to look for on the nutrition label.
One place to get started is this handy reference from the WSAVA about interpreting food labels. The top things to look for are the AAFCO complete and balanced statement, the guaranteed analysis , and the calorie content.
Next, read the ingredients list. It’s tricky for the average dog owner to make a decision about a dog food based on the ingredients alone though. “Although many pet owners make their decision based largely on the ingredient panel, it is only one of many considerations,” Swanson says. “Without knowing the exact formula and percentage of each ingredient, it is not too useful. What is more important is that the dietary formula is complete and balanced.” So basically, as long as the food is complete and balanced, don’t stress about the individual ingredients too much.
If reading pet food labels proves to be more confusing than helpful, check in with your veterinarian. They can help you determine your dog’s specific needs, guide you toward the right food for your pet, and give you advice on how much to feed them.
Is Yogurt Good For Dogs With Yeast Infection
Probiotic yogurts are safe for dogs, and humans alike, and can help with the health of your gut. Probiotics can help fight yeast infections in dogs, which may cause skin and ear problems, boost immunity, and help your dog’s body absorb nutrients. These yogurts are also packed with calcium and protein.
Best And Worst Dog Food Brands
All caring owners want to ensure that their dog gets everything they need from a healthy diet.
But with hundreds of pet food options on supermarket shelves, in pet shops and online, from dry dog food, and hypoallergenic, to raw dog food, it can be difficult to know what to buy.
We’ve made that decision a little bit easier by ranking the most popular dog foods according to our members.
For the first time we’ve quizzed 2,594 Which? members about their dog food to discover the best and worst brands for customer satisfaction.
Find the results in our dog food brands rated by customers table below.
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What To Look For In Senior Dog Food
Your senior pet needs the best diet possible to stay healthy and vital in their old age. Whether they are still healthy and in good health or have a chronic condition that is affecting their quality of life, you will have to make sure that they get exactly the right nutrients for their specific lifestyle and situation. These are some of the most important things to keep an eye out for when choosing senior dog food:
- Protein, fat, and fiber content
Despite the popular belief, older dogs do not need less protein in fact, its the opposite of that. Seniors could benefit from a high-protein formula based on real meat and quality ingredients, as muscles start to deteriorate in old age and protein helps maintain them in optimal form, not to mention help build them up again. With fat, on the other hand, the situation is different: you want your senior to be on a low-fat diet as their metabolic rate changes and they start burning fewer calories and storing more fat, which can lead to obesity and a whole host of other health issues. However, if your pet is on the thin side and has a weak appetite in his old age, fatty food could help them regain their strength back again.
- Caloric value vs activity levels
- Ingredients that support better health
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Best Dry: Royal Canin
Formulated by scientists and nutritionists
Highly palatable to most dogs
Some formulas can be expensive
Dry dog food is a popular choice for many pet owners thanks to its convenience and shelf stability, and one of the best dry dog food brands is Royal Canin, which offers more than 80 dry formulas. In addition to dry food for adults, puppies, and senior dogs, Royal Canin has a unique line of breed-specific foods, each of which is tailored to that dog breeds traits and common problems. Even the kibble shape is selected based on the breeds jaw structure and biting pattern.
Royal Canin is another brand that Dr. Frione personally recommends, and the company employs nutritional and research teams that help create its products. The brand takes a nutrient-focused approach to pet food, evaluating the specific nutritional needs of dogs and creating optimal diet profiles based on scientific findings.
Offers both regular and prescription wet foods
Multiple can sizes available
Brand focus on quality and safety
Formulated by team of nutritionists and vets
Hills Science Diet is another brand that gets the seal of approval from Dr. Frione, and its especially popular for those who prefer to feed their dog wet food. This brand offers an impressive selection of wet dog foods, including formulas for puppies, adults, and seniors, and it also has a highly regarded line of prescription foods for dogs with specific medical problems.
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Best For Sensitive Stomachs: Hills Science Diet Adult Sensitive Stomach & Skin Dog Food
This Hills Science Diet formula supports dogs with sensitive stomachs, while also nourishing their skin and promoting a healthy coat. This recipe contains prebiotic fiber to support gut bacteria and a balanced microbiome, it has highly digestible ingredients for optimal nutrient absorption, and it includes vitamin E and omega-6 fatty acids for skin nourishment.
Hills Science Diet Sensitive Stomach contains natural ingredients, as well as added vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. Its first ingredient is chicken, followed by brewers rice, chicken meal, and yellow peas. The recipe also contains brown rice, flaxseed, apples, carrots, and cranberries and does not contain chicken by-product meal.
Nutrition Every Dog Needs
Maybe your dog has gained a few pounds, his breath could be fresher, or perhaps you’re interested in a dog food that uses natural ingredients. Either way, the best dog food is the one that puts your pet’s health first.
Everyday health and vitality is important for any dog, which is why Hill’s provides a variety of foods designed for common health concerns:
- Weight management
Check with your veterinarian regularly to make sure your dog gets the nutrition he needs.
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Best Dog Food For Puppies
The nutritional needs of dogs vary throughout their life. Puppies have different nutritional needs than adult dogs, and senior dogs have their own nutritional considerations. Most dog food companies carry specially formulated puppy foods for each stage of a dogs life, making it easier to narrow down your choices. If you are concerned about which is the best dog food for your dogs life stage, consult your veterinarian to see what stage food is appropriate for your dog.
Your puppy requires a different nutrient balance than an adult dog. This is especially true for large breeds. Feeding a large breed puppy food can help, as their growth needs to be monitored carefully to prevent bone and joint problems. Other puppies do well on both puppy food and food labeled for all life stages. The best food for your puppy depends on your puppys size and breed. Always consult your veterinarian for recommendations on puppy feeding, and advice on how to switch puppies to adult dog food.
Structure Complete Or Complementary Food
A complete feed contains all the nutrients the dog needs on a daily basis. The proportion of proteins, fatty acids, minerals and vitamins is different depending on the product. The ingredients should be adapted to the age, activity and possible allergies of the four-legged friend. A whole food can be dry or cast food. Supplementary foods are not sufficient in themselves to provide the dog with all the vital nutrients. These can be flakes that the dog owner mixes into the food or treats. The declaration shows what it is.
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Best For Dogs With Food Sensitivities: Merrick Limited Ingredient Diet
Made with 10 ingredients or less
Available in several flavors
For dogs with specific food sensitivities, Merrick Limited Ingredient dog foods are made with 10 ingredients or less, yet they still deliver complete, balanced nutrition to your pet. This line of food is available in both wet and dry formulas, and it comes in a variety of flavors, all of which have deboned meat, fish, or poultry as the first ingredient.
Merrick is part of Nestlé Purina, meaning they use the same team of nutritionists, veterinarians, and behaviorists when creating their dog food formulas. The brand also has its own Ph.D. nutritionists on staff. Merrick dog foods dont contain any fillers, additives, sweeteners, colors, or preservatives, and theyre made in the companys Texas-based kitchen.
No matter what type of dog you own, Purina Pro Plan is a top choice for its dog food. This highly trusted brand is extremely transparent about its processes, and it offers a wide range of formulas for dogs of all sizes, ages, and lifestyles. If youre looking for a less-expensive dog food, Pedigree offers complete and balanced formulas for dogs of all ages.
Causes Of Allergies In Dogs And How To Identify Them
The most common symptoms of allergies in dogs include excessive itching, scratching and grooming, rashes, skin inflammation, shedding, sneezing, watery eyes and paw chewing. A pet may scratch, lick, bite or chew at parts of their body. While there can be many reasons to your dogs itching and scratching, there are generally three main causes.
Parasitic allergies are caused by the presence of fleas, which often nest in warm parts of a dogs body such as the lower back, tail head, hind limbs and umbilical area. These tend to flare up in warmer conditions and can be seasonal.
In more serious cases, dogs may experience atopic dermatitis, an inflammatory chronic skin disease linked to allergies. This is often brought on by environmental allergens such as pollen, grass, mold spores or house dust mites. Symptoms start off mild and get progressively worse over time, and may be more apparent in certain seasons. Commonly affected are the ears, wrists, ankles, muzzle, underarms, groin and around the eye areas.
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Does Petsmart Sell High
Despite a number of the premium and well-known high-quality brands boycotting or avoiding PetSmart as a distributor, there are still quite a few brands that produce very high-quality dog food.
As a consequence, whether you shop with PetSmart online or in one of their retail stores, there should be a selection of dog food recipes and brands available to purchase that we would consider high-quality.
The key features that define a high-quality dog food are its nutritional profile and its ingredients.
High-Quality dog food will contain an appropriate balance of the three core nutrients, protein, fat, and carbohydrates. A formula with excessive levels of carbohydrates and unsatisfactory levels of protein and fat should not be considered high-quality.
Also, formulas should make use of named meat and fish ingredients. These should be easily recognizable and understandable by the average consumer. The best examples of this are whole meat ingredients like Chicken, Beef, Salmon, and Pork.
We highly recommend that you take a close look at a dog food formulas Guaranteed Analysis and ingredient list before you consider purchasing it. If you arent sure of any of the ingredients, then give them a quick google, and youll be sure to find information on that ingredient from a site like ours.
A Large Amount Of Filler Ingredients
Grain splitting is the practice of using a number of different grains or listing one kind of grain in separate parts. For instance, listing “maize flour,” “maize gluten,” and “maize meal” separately instead of just listing “maize” is an example of grain splitting. A manufacturer might do this so the ingredients appear farther down on the list, making it look like the food contains less grain than it really does.
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Purina Beyond Wild Prey
Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Turkey, 2. Turkey Broth, 3. Chicken, 4. Liver, 5. Duck
Offer your faithful companion the best available nutrition with this delicious meal. The tempting texture, range of wholesome ingredients, and tasty flavors of this wet-food blend will live up to your dogs expectations and provide the nutrition and energy he needs to keep up. This blend is made from nutrient-rich organ meats, and is free from artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives and does not contain any poultry by-product meal or any filler that could trigger a sensitive dogs gut.
Nutro Ultra Dry Dog Food
Nutro Ultra Adult is one of 10 dry recipes included in our review of the Nutro Ultra product line.
- First 5 ingredients: Chicken, chicken meal, whole brown rice, brewers rice, rice bran
- Type: Grain-inclusive
- Other recipes: Beef, duck, lamb, fish, small breed, large breed, puppy, senior and more
- Price: $$
This Nutro formula derives most of its meat protein from chicken and chicken meal. Our dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 28% protein, 16% fat and 49% estimated carbs which creates a fat-to-protein ratio of about 56%.
Available in a wide range of flavor and recipe options. One of our top value picks.
Sample buyer reviewI have 5 dogsranging in different sizes and breeds. This is the ONE food I can get them all to eat without having to buy a bunch of different brands or formulas. Thank you Nutro!
This Go! Carnivore formula derives the majority of its animal protein from chicken, turkey and salmon meals, as well both chicken and turkey. Our dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 38% protein, 18% fat and 36% estimated carbs resulting in a fat-to-protein ratio of about 47%.
Free of GMO ingredients and loaded with meat. A rare find. Highly recommended.
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What Is The Between An Allergy Or Intolerance And An Intolerance
An allergy is a hypersensitivity reaction by the dogs immune system. This reacts strongly against a certain substance. A real food allergy rarely occurs in dogs. Mostly it is an intolerance. This is not triggered by the immune system.
Likely indications of allergies and intolerances
Possible symptoms of a food allergy or food intolerance include itching, vomiting, abs pain, flatulence, diarrhoea, loss in fur, redness and frequent scratching.
Symptoms might not show up right after feeding the food. Sometimes they only appear a few hours or days later.
However, the symptoms do certainly not have to indicate an allergy or intolerance. That they may also be caused by another disease. In the event that your dog has these symptoms, you should have the cause solved with a vet. The vet can also determine an allergy or intolerance or an intolerance, for instance , through an allergy test. Additionally, it is possible to undertake an different diet. However, this involves a lot of effort.
Why Trust The Spruce Pets
This article was written by Camryn Rabideau, a freelance writer and lifelong animal lover who currently owns two dogs, both of whom she feeds Purina Pro Plan dog food at the recommendation of her vet.
Pet nutrition is a complicated topic, so she reached out to Dr. Jennifer Frione, DVM, owner of Lakeside Animal Hospital, for guidance on what to look for in a dog food. She also did ample research through trusted sources, including the AAFCO, WSAVA, Tufts University, and Pet Nutrition Alliance. To evaluate various dog food brands for quality, she considered their range of products, nutritional content, ingredients, recalls, and development team, prioritizing brands with comprehensive teams including vet nutritionists, veterinarians, and scientists.
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The Best Dog Food: How To Choose The Right Food For Your Pet
In the same way that you wouldnt let a child eat a few packets of Haribos for dinner, you need to monitor your dogs diet. A pet is always part of the family, which is why they deserve the best dog food available. Plus, as your dog grows up, their dietary needs may change in accordance with their age and activity level.
Whether you’re the proud new owner of a lockdown puppy, or you’re simply overwhelmed by the sheer number of dog food options out there, this is your complete guide to choosing the perfect food for your pooch.
Its easy to fall into the trap of just picking the cheaper option, or the one with the most adorable packaging, but there are important factors to consider.
Firstly, theres the type of dog food: dry, wet and raw. Dry dog food may come in the form of kibbles, biscuits or pellets. Wet food may come in a gravy sauce or contain chunks of jelly . Raw dog food is often frozen and has a high meat content.
When buying dog food, check whether it is complete or complementary. A complete meal is one that will adequately satisfy your pet on its own. Complementary food, on the other hand, needs to be supplemented with another food. In other words: its the Haribos of the dog world.