Is healthy dog food a myth? You've probably wondered, since hearing about the recent dog food recalls. Pet lovers like you fear that their dogs will suffer like so many others that ate food containing dangerous ingredients - wheat gluten and a product used in the production of plastics. If you're like other dog owners, you're taking a much closer look at those dog food labels.
They claim to offer the top quality, balanced diet for your pet, but how can you know if it's true? How do you guarantee that your dog eats only healthy food? Is it even possible to get healthy dog food from manufacturers now? It has become tougher to find inexpensive healthy dog food. They use high levels of preservatives and take a lot of processing that destroys nutrients. Many use filler to make up the quantity but it does nothing for quality. The most common fillers are wheat and corn. Dogs don't need corn.
In fact, it can be slow to digest, giving your dog no nutrients whatsoever. Corn and wheat can also trigger allergies in some dogs. Any grain product should include the entire grain so your dog gets all the benefits including fiber, vitamins and minerals. Look for rolled oats, barley, millet and brown rice as these will provide the best nutritional value. When you read the dog food label, look for those with the best ingredient ratio, which is 40% meat, 50% vegetables and 10% grains.
The items are listed in order of quantity. You'll want to make sure meat is at the top of the list. Watch out for meat by-products as this can include indigestible parts of the animals such as feet and beaks. Also, be aware of manufacturers who list meat as the main product, and then follow it with meat by-products. This alters the nutritional ratio significantly. Did you know that Vitamins A and B make good preservatives? Look for labels that list these instead of the cancer-causing chemical preservatives BHA, BHT and Ethoxyquin.
Choose a good quality, reputable dog food rather than economy brands as the premium food will contain ingredients of higher nutritional value. Keep in mind that your dog might benefit more from a specific type of dog food, rather than a one-for-all brand. While both types of food offer value, some dogs have additional needs. Factors include your breed's inherited health risks, your dog's activity levels and any other underlying conditions that require certain dog food nutrients.
If you want to ensure your dog receives only healthy dog food, you can make it yourself. There are many recipes available online and in dog recipe books. Run an Internet search and you're sure to find a wealth of choices. Look for dog-related forums. People love to go online and chat about their favorite subject - their pets - and share recipes.
Knowing how to read dog food labels will help you to identify the best product for your pet, but you can't beat homemade for your peace of mind and to provide the best nutritional and healthy dog food to your beloved best friend.
Sylvia Dickens is an award-winning journalist who is also a lifelong dog owner. You can read more Dog Training tips on her site. Pick up your free copy of her latest booklet, "Unveiling the Myths & Mysteries of Owning a Puppy"