Read Dog Food Label
Feeding your dog is the most basic and effective way that you can care for him and keep him healthy. Good nutrition helps dogs fight disease, grow correctly, and age gracefully. Yet every dog has different nutritional needs. Size, breed type, coat type, skin sensitivity, digestive sensitivity, and many other factors impact an individual dog’s ideal nutritional profile. Finding a formula that works well for your dog may take a little research and trial and error.
The market offers a dizzying array of dog foods from canned to kibble, raw meat and bones to vegetables. You can choose among so called natural foods and special formulas designed for such nutritional issues as weight loss, digestive disorders, and the low-protein requirements of giant breed puppies. You can even go with a homemade diet.
To make the right decisions, it’s important for you to know your dog’s nutritional requirements and how to read dog food labels. Then you need to consider whether your dog should take vitamin, mineral, or herbal supplements. It’s up to you to choose the food that is right for your dog.
If you are like most dog owners, you probably buy bags of kibble at the grocery store or the pet supply store, scoop the proper amount according to package directions into your dog’s bowl once or twice a day, keep the water dish full, and consider that to be that. Fr some dogs, this nutritional strategy works For others, it does not.
Not all dog food is the same. Are you sure the kibble or the canned or the semi moist food you chose is providing your dog with the nutrition he need to function at his best? Is your dog food of choice complete and balanced? Does it meet our dog’s special needs?
Maybe you also supplement your dog’s food with table scraps. Does this improve or compromise your dog’s health? You’ve probably heard from some sources that a good quality commercial kibble is all your dog ever needs. Other sources say that a healthy homemade diet is best. With so much conflicting information, it can be hard to decide what type of food is reasonable, affordable, and best for your dog’s health.
Dog owners typically spend more money on dog food than on any other pet related expense. Knowing the basics of canine nutrition, how to read a dog food label, and what your dog really needs, and doesn’t need, for good health will help you make sure that your investment in canine nutrition is wise, contributing rather than compromising your dog’s healthy life.
Fortunately, you don’t have to do all the work on your own. Canine nutrition is a complicated subject, but it is also widely studied and every dog owner has access to the experts. The reputable breeder, animal shelter, or rescue group from which you adopted your dog can give you a lot of information about what your dog has been eating and how to continue feeding him.
Your veterinarian knows about canine nutrition and can recommend food that matches your dog’s needs Some pet supply store employees also have been well-trained in the merits of different brands of dog food and may have additional information, often in the form of take-home brochures from various product lines.
A holistic pet store may have more information on natural foods, small stores may stick with the brand they have found to be superior, and larger chains may have a wide array of choices. Even the Internet has a lot of information about canine nutrition, although reputable Web sites from established authorities are likely to be most reliable. When in doubt, check with your veterinarian.)
Another important ally in the quest for information n sound canine nutrition is the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). The AAFCO is an organization that formulates regulations and enforcement strategies for the pet and livestock industries. State regulators may choose either to follow or not follow AAFCO standards, but most pet food manufacturers choose to comply with the AAFCO’s regulations so they can sport the AAFCO wording “a complete and balanced diet’ on the feed bag, meaning that the food is acceptable as a complete diet without any supplementation.
The manufacturers of treats, by comparison, can’t put the AAFCO wording on their bags because treats aren’t mad to stand alone as a complete diet. The AAFCO wording indicated the food sustains the animal for which it was manufactured, for growth or maintenance (whichever is specified). Growth foods are puppy foods, and maintenance foods are adult foods. Some foods are acceptable for both.
Finally, keep in mind that no one source will necessarily give you all the information you need. Gather information from several sources to make the best and most informed decision about what to feed your dog.
The Price of Poor Nutrition
Without good nutrition, your dog can suffer from a number of problems, including allergies, malnutrition, skin and coat problems, and obesity, Nutrition-related problems can affect any dog, not matter the size.
While dogs can be allergic to many things, some have food allergies to different meats, grains, dairy product, and artificial additives such as colorings, flavorings, and preservatives. Dogs with food allergies often develop skin problems such as rashers, hives, chronic itching, and hot spots (painful, warm infected areas of skin). Some dogs develop allergies to protein and carbohydrate sources of your food, from beef and cor to turkey and rice, for example, may be enough to halt the allergic reaction. Many dogs with severe skin allergies finally find relief when their owners switch to feeding them a homemade diet.
Most pet dogs are more likely to become overweight than malnourished but when a dog is fed a diet lacking in basic nutrients, he can become malnourished. Malnutrition can be caused by a diet lacking in basic nutrients, he can become malnourished. Malnutrition can be cased by a diet that is not complete and unbalanced or by a limited diet (for example, meat only). Dogs who aren’t’ fed enough, often due to neglect or other poor conditions are like to become malnourished.
On the other hand, too much protein may contribute to kidney disease in some dogs. Some dogs, especially the large and giant breeds, can develop bone problems if they are fed too much calcium as puppies
Some puppies, especially the toy breeds, need many small, frequent, nutrient-dense meals to avoid hypoglycemia. A lack of antioxidants like vitamin C and E could possibly contribute to an increased cancer risk (studies suggest this could be true for people), and inadequate fat can result in a dull, dry coat and itchy, sensitive skin. Some dogs are sensitive to too much copper or a deficiency of zinc in their diet.
What We Have Learned
Today we have learned about food labels, what the tell us, and what they don’t. We also learned that problems, skin, kidneys, etc. are related to food allergies; try changing your dog’s food. Home made food, I have found, as long as it is balanced, is better than commercial dog foods. Feel free to comment to this article, and I will get back to you as soon as possible.