Faced with the plethora of dog food available in stores or online, choosing the best dog food for your dog can quickly turn out to be a real headache. To help you make your choice, here are the rules to follow…
Dry dog food: first sort by price
The price of the dog food is the first indicator to take into account when choosing the right dog food. A price of less than 2$ per kilo is a sure sign of poor quality of the raw materials used in the manufacture of dog food: animal meal, excess of cereals… These poor quality raw materials provide poorly digestible proteins and quantities of food which can lead at worst to malnutrition or at best digestive disorders in sensitive dogs.
As a first step, you can therefore do a first sorting by eliminating all the “discount” dog food straight away to reduce the list of possibilities. They will be well adapted to your animal. It would be far too simple … you can imagine!
Learn to read dog food labels
In the list of ingredients on the label of a packet of dog food, the ingredients used before cooking in the product are listed in order of importance. The first ingredients mentioned are therefore generally present in greater quantity. This is particularly the case of cereals in the first price dog food to avoid!
Find in the list of ingredients the sources of animal proteins provided by meats, fish, offal …: they are more nutritionally interesting than the vegetable proteins provided by cereals (which in addition provide carbohydrates in the ration) or flour from soy.
As a general rule, the more detailed the names of the ingredients, the more likely you are to be dealing with a “high-end” dog food, made with quality raw materials. Manufacturers who use vague and categorical names (such as “meat” or “by-products” for example) can legally substitute one raw material for another depending on the price of raw materials in order to reduce manufacturing prices. On the other hand, manufacturers who choose to be more precise in their labeling by mentioning the species of meat used in their products (example: “chicken”, “beef”, etc.) undertake to use this type of material properly. So orient yourself towards the dog food for which the lists of ingredients are as detailed and precise as possible.
Analytical components can be displayed under the other names “Average Analysis” or “Nutritional Analysis”. They provide information on the amounts of nutrients present in the food.
So we can read:
- The protein level,
- The level of lipids (fat),
- The fiber / cellulose rate,
- The rate of crude ash.
Pre-select dog food that contain the most protein and as little carbohydrate as possible. But beware, taken as is, these rates do not allow knowing if a dog food is of good nutritional quality. Don’t trust the sites that advertise that the “ideal” dog food should contain 20% carbohydrates, 30% protein… it’s a far too simplistic approach to things.
High protein levels are not an absolute guarantee of quality. The proteins of the dog food can be brought by the bones, the tendons of the by-products used to make the dog food as by the nobler pieces of meat. However, bone and tendon proteins are mainly made up of collagen, poor quality proteins that do not properly cover the nutritional needs of dogs.