Your dog is like another member of your family. That’s why it only makes sense to feed them the absolute best dog food. We want to keep them happy and healthy for a long time to come.

But with so many options on the market, how can you be sure which food is best for your dog? Are there things you should watch out for when it comes to the ingredients and your dog’s needs?

While walking down any pet food aisle can feel overwhelming with choices, it’s not hopeless. Arming yourself with a few key things to watch out for will help you immensely. So let’s look at five tips you can take with you on your next shopping trip to find the best dog food for your best friend.

Choose According to Your Dog’s Breed and Needs

As with people, dogs will have different nutritional needs depending on their specific health and lifestyle. A senior dog will need different nutrition than a puppy. A Gold Retriever will digest food differently than a Labrador will.

Knowing your dog’s specific breed and health needs will help you narrow down the type of dog food that is right for them.

Learn to Read Ingredients

Knowing keywords and what they mean will help you go a long way in choosing the best food to feed your dog.

If the dog food claims to contain a single ingredient, it must contain 95% of that ingredient. If it claims to contain a combination of ingredients, that combination must make up 95% of the food.

Some packaging uses words like “dinner”, “platter”, and “entree”. If so, the food must contain 25% of those named ingredients. And if it uses the word “with” (such as “with cheese”) there should be 3% of that ingredient in the food.

And to round it all out, if the dog food uses the word “flavor” (such a “beef flavored” or “chicken flavored”) it is only required to have a detectable amount of that ingredient included.

Ingredients are also listed by weight. Those listed first tend to be the heaviest, but usually due to moisture content, such as meats.

Grain-Free or Not?

The use of grains in dog food is a bit of a controversy. Some people choose not to buy food which contains grain because they feel it is unsafe for their dogs. But in reality, dogs can benefit from grains.

Grains contain a good source of carbohydrates, which is easily metabolized into an energy source for dogs.

But, if your dog is allergic to grain, that’s when a grain-free product is best.

Read the Adequacy Statement

Dog foods will contain an adequacy statement on their labels. They will read something like, “This food is complete and balanced for adult maintenance,” or, “This food is complete and balanced for growth and reproduction.”

Make sure the adequacy statement is appropriate for your dog’s needs.

Ask Vet’s Advice

If you still have questions or are just unsure which food will be best for your best friend, always talk to your veterinarian for professional advice and suggestions.

Your Best Friend Deserves the Best Dog Food

Keeping your dog fit and happy is important. And knowing you’re feeding them the best dog food you can give you the peace of mind in knowing you’re doing just that.

Have questions about your dog’s food or need to make an appointment? Contact us today!