Since first grade we’ve been taught that a well-balanced meal is key towards a health and well-being. Well, it’s just the same for dogs. The best dog foods are balanced, nutritious and wholesome. There are many options available for a pet owner to choose from and finding the best dog food sometimes be an overwhelming task considering that what a dog eats has repercussions on its health, well-being and even behavior.
If a dog is on a whole and healthy dog food diet, he or she will enjoy healthy skin and coat, strong and well-developed bones, bright clear eyes, firm stools, well-defined muscle tone, healthy teeth and gums, fewer digestive problems, fewer behavior problems, energy, vitality and longevity. A dog that subsists on a poor diet however is at risk for cancer, a weak immune system, liver failure, diarrhea, dull coat and heavy shedding, vomiting, infections, compromised heart and kidneys, stunted growth, weak bones, diabetes, arthritis, allergies and a slew of other health and behavioral problems.
Best Dog Foods for Your Dog
So what should you feed your dog?
Commercial dog food is one option as long as you pay close attention to details such as ingredients and nutritional values. it is a sad reality that many dog food brands spend more on marketing and publicity than research and development. To determine if youare getting the right dog food brand, check the label and inspect the list of ingredients. The product should consist of natural fats and oils, contain meat-based protein and is free of flavors, preservatives, colors and by-products. Meat or protein should be the main component and should be listed as the first, second and even third ingredient. Then, you must check other ingredients such as grains and vegetables. Some grains aren’t nutritious or healthy for dogs such as wheat and corn while other grains, in the right amount, are good such as oatmeal and rice. When it comes to commercial dog foods, check the package first and stay away from by-products or meat with unspecified sources, foods that contain BHA, BHT or ethoxyquin, foods with artificial colorants, foods that contain corn or wheat and foods that have less than two meat sources.
Raw food is also fast becoming popular, especially the BARF or Bones and Raw Food diet. Proponents of this regime believe that feeding dogs raw foods is the most natural way. Before domestication, dogs would primarily eat raw meat that they caught themselves – yes, including the bones. Some raw foodies claim that this is the real “all-natural” diet. What’s more, it’s free from chemicals, preservatives, additives, by-products and unhealthy fillers like grains. However, raw food diet also carries the risk of foodborne illnesses such as bacteria like salmonella and E.coli, especially if you are not sure where the meat comes from. If you as a dog owner would choose this diet, make sure to consult with your vet or an experienced breeder that uses this diet.
Homemade food might just be the best dog foods you can give. Before the advent of commercial dog foods, canine companions thrived under food prepared lovingly by their masters. Today, there are plenty of homemade dog food recipes to learn from. Preparing a meal for your dog from scratch also means you know exactly what your dog is consuming. For dogs with allergies or food intolerances, this makes it easier for owners to customize their meals. Typical homemade dog food includes meaty stews, healthy soups, pies, vegetables and even raw bones once in a while. Although this takes more time and preparation, you will also have more control over what your dog consumes and be safe in the knowledge of what he’s eating.
Each dog is unique and has special needs and as their parent, you would know best what your pet’s conditions and history are. Whatever food option you wish to go for, finding the best dog foods will often take some experimentation and patience, but in the end, you will be rewarded with healthy, happy and vital canine that will accompany and love you for a longer time.