To be perfectly honest, the best food that you can feed your dog would be dog food that you make homemade to include the correct proportions of protein, carbohydrates, fats etc. and minus all of the preservatives and fillers that are present in a lot of commercial dog foods.
That being said, I understand that most people just don’t have the time, resources or every day dedication to make regular properly balanced homemade meals for their dog.
Not all commercial dog foods are made from inferior ingredients and byproducts. There are good dog foods available, but you will have to actively search for them. Unfortunately there are many more commercial foods that will just meet the bare minimum standards of nutritionalrequirements. To determine a good dog food from a bad one, in some cases it will be as simple as reading the ingredient list to determine if quality ingredients are being used. But some ingredients listed can be misleading and it may take a little research to determine which food is best.
Most dog food manufacturers are particularly good at marketing their product with the professional looking packaging and the clever names for their products. Don’t fall victim to the marketing. Do your homework. Some good marketers also make good products, so you must take the time to look at the ingredients first and foremost and understand what they are.
A little insight into pet food labels.
If a food is named specifically, e.g. “Beef Dog Food”, the named ingredient must not be less than 95% of the total weight if the water required for processing is excluded, no less than 70% if the water is included in the calculation. If more than one ingredient is named, for example “Beef and Liver Dog Food”, all of them combined must not be less than 95% (or 70% respectively) and they must be named in descending order of content by weight. This description is used almost exclusively for canned foods.
If a dog food includes the word “dinner” (or similar ones like “formula”, “nuggets” etc.), such as in “Beef Formula”, the named ingredient must not be less than 25% of the total weight. If more than one ingredient is named, e.g. “Beef and Rice Formula”, all of them combined must not be less than 25% and they must be named in descending order of content by weight.
If a dog food name contains the word “formula” or “dinner” etc., the ingredient named must not be less than twenty five percent of the total weight. And if more than one ingredient is named like “beef and Liver Formula” then both ingredients COMBINED must not be less than twenty five percent and must be listed in order of weight amount.
That being said, a product that markets under “Premium Beef and Liver Formula”, following the guidelines above can advertise a dog food that has beef and liver but may actually only contain twenty five percent combined of those two ingredients meaning that most likely they are not even the main ingredient of the dog food.
If a dog food uses the phrase “with (ingredient) like “with Beef”, the ingredient named must not be less than three percent of the total weight. So be very leery of a so called quality food that touts their product with the phrase “with beef, lamb etc. because it only has to contain 3% of that ingredient.
If the dog food includes the word “flavor” or “flavored”, it is only required to contain a sufficient amount of that ingredient to be detected. So you are most likely going to get a minimal amount of “flavoring” while the manufactures may actually be hiding their main ingredients.
These tips will get you started in the right direction to finding your dog a quality dog food. But also remember that ultimately, dog food alone will not give your dog all of the vitamins and nutrients they need to maintain the healthiest, longest life possible.
So along with a good quality dog food we highly recommend NuVet Plus as an all natural dog vitamin supplement for your beloved pet. We use it ourselves and our dogs has never looked better or been as active and happy.