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Guest Lancelot Arnold

Choosing a Good Dog Food

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Guest Lancelot Arnold

Making the right choice starts with reading the label’s list of ingredients. By law the ingredients must be listed according to weight of the ingredient added in descending order. In other words, by weight of raw ingredient the main ingredient is listed first, second most prominent ingredient next, and so on.

The first three ingredients are the most important. It’s easy to tell if the diet is vegetable based, with corn, rice, wheat, and soybean meal listed as the main ingredients; or if the diet is meat based, with meat, lamb, fish or poultry listed as the main ingredients.

I would always pick a meat-based diet over vegetable-based foods for optimum health for dogs. Now…here’s the catch! I’m going to have to pay more for the meat-based diet! Responsible and caring dog owners should never let the price of the food dictate the purchase decision. In almost every situation with dog food, you get what you pay for. The higher the price the higher the quality. I’ll let you consider the converse of that. And the higher the quality of the ingredients, the greater the nutritive value for the dog. Plus, you will purchase less high quality food than cheap food since dogs must eat more low quality food to meet their nutritional needs.

Immediately you will notice that when feeding a high quality, meat-based food, the dog will need to consume fewer cups of it per day than a cheap diet; the dog will also pass noticeably less stool when consuming a high quality diet than with a grain-based diet.

Cheap dog foods — and they are widely available and wrapped in all sorts of fancy labels — will contain cheap ingredients that will be poorly digested and will lead, over varying lengths of time, to deficiencies in your dog’s health. Stroll through the pet food departments of various pet food outlets and read the labels of the different products. The cheap food will almost always be vegetable based and the more costly foods will be meat, poultry or fish based. Your dog has no control over your choice; so you have an obligation to provide good quality products that will optimize your dog’s quality of life!

And don’t forget to pay attention to the trick of “ingredient splitting.” What the pet food manufacturer does, in order to make the ingredient list look better, is to break down a product such as corn into its different forms, then place each form of the ingredient into the ingredient list according to the amount of the form present.

For example, they will list ground corn, yellow corn meal, corn gluten, and corn gluten meal separately and thereby split up “corn” (which really should be listed as the main ingredient) in to places further down on the ingredient list to make it appear to the consumer that there is less corn in the dog food.

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