Today, a huge amount of dog food is produced. Therefore, it is doubly important to know which of them will be the most useful and of the highest quality.
All kinds of dog food can be found on store shelves now. There is food for healthy animals of different age groups (up to a year, adults, elderly) and medicinal food, which are indicated, for example, for problems with digestion, kidney failure, obesity, etc.
In addition, dog food is divided according to some other criteria. According to the consistency and water content – dry and canned. Dry food contains concentrated calories, while canned food contains more water. Canned food is supplemented with vegetables, rice bran, rice flour, and brewed rice, etc.
Types of Dog Food
There are several types of feed.
Super Premium – high-quality feed made from fresh, high-quality meat (e.g. lamb, beef, poultry, etc.) using grain (flax, barley, oats, etc.). The digestibility of super premium feeds exceeds 80%, and their energy value is above 450 kcal / 100 g, and this significantly reduces the volume of its consumption. These feeds are fortified with vitamins and do not contain preservatives, flavors, or stabilizers. Among the super-premium class feeds, the “holistic” line is distinguished – feeds that include natural meat/fish in an even higher percentage (up to 90%), other natural herbal supplements. The holistic feed contains no GMOs, flavor enhancers, and dyes.
The premium feed contains fish meat, poultry, good quality offal, as well as rice and/or vegetables: carrots, beets, potatoes. They contain vegetable proteins, dyes, and flavorings. Premium feed is 75% digestible and has an energy value of over 350 kcal / 100 g.
Economy food is low-quality dog food made from second-rate ingredients, slaughterhouse waste, and low-quality grain. Instead of meat, they use meat and bone meal, animal fat, soy, corn, etc. The composition of the feed contains various flavors, artificial additives, and preservatives. The daily consumption rate is high, and the energy value does not exceed 350 kcal / 100 g.
Contrary to popular belief, it cannot be said that dry food can harm a dog’s health. In this matter, it is not the species that is more important, but the class of the feed. So, if you feed a dog with economy class products for a long time, then, for sure, such a diet will be harmful to the animal, because economy class food contains a little real meat, and also contains dyes and flavor enhancers. However, the super-premium class food is quite suitable for the daily diet of the dog, because its composition is balanced. As far as premium feed is concerned, it can be mixed with super-premium feed.
Ingredients: What To Look Out For
The label on the package should contain the name of the brand of the food, the composition, and information about which dogs this food is suitable for. The first place in the composition of the feed is usually occupied by the product, which is the most, followed by the minor components.
Meat. First and foremost, dog food must contain meat. Food that contains chicken, turkey, and beef will be useful. The most successful option is food, on the label of which, among the first few components, meat is indicated in the form of flour and without bones, since meat after shrinkage loses up to 80% of its weight.
Cereals. The healthiest grains used to make dog foods are brown rice and barley. There are fewer nutrients in white rice. Oats are healthy but can cause stomach upset in some dogs. Beer rice is a waste of beer production. Corn is poorly digested and can cause allergies. Corn gluten is a waste containing fewer nutrients than corn.
Other ingredients. In addition to cereals and meat, manufacturers add many other ingredients to dog food. For example, for dog food, the addition of a whole egg is preferred over egg powder. It is very useful for dogs to eat food that contains vegetables, fruits, berries, herbs, algae, yeast, glucosamine, chondroitin, probiotics, minerals, vitamins.
It is important to remember that many ingredients can cause allergies in your dog. In addition, there are often cases of food hypersensitivity, in which there are regular digestive disorders (vomiting, diarrhea, impurities of blood in the stool), insufficient fatness, and poor coat quality. Often such situations occur due to improperly selected feed.
Such cases do not at all indicate that you have purchased low-quality products – the feed, on the contrary, may be of the best quality. However, the gastrointestinal tract can thus react to a feed ingredient as an allergen, resulting in an inflammatory process and the symptoms described above.
What Food is Right for Your Dog?
Unfortunately, there is no perfect food that is suitable for all dogs without exception. However, there are several criteria, based on which, you can try to find the same “ideal diet” for your pet.
- It is important that your dog likes the taste of the food. If the dog does not like the food, apparently, it does not suit her and it is unlikely that needs to force the dog to eat it.
- The absence of problems with the gastrointestinal tract in the dog is another argument for a particular product.
- A good coat of a dog indicates that it receives all the necessary trace elements and vitamins from food.
Unsuitable Feed: What To Do?
- If your dog has chronic diarrhea / loose stools or vomiting, low body weight, the problem may be in the wrong food. Better to change the feed 2-3 times and observe if the intensity of the symptoms changes.
- If there is a clear relationship in the intensification/cessation of these symptoms, then this means that your dog has sensitive digestion. Therefore, it is necessary to carefully study the composition of the suitable/unsuitable feed to determine the allergenic component.
- When changing the diet, it is necessary not only to change the company of the feed but to focus on the protein/carbohydrate composition. For example, if your dog ate chicken feed, try switching to lamb, fish, or buying grain-free food.
- If, after several attempts to change the feed, it is not possible to establish digestion, then it is necessary to visit a veterinarian therapist, since the symptoms in question can also be observed with other, much more serious problems, which cannot be identified without a special examination.
How To Change Feed?
If you are planning to change natural food to a commercial diet, then you need to know that the most optimal period for this is 5-7 days, during which it is necessary to gradually add dry food to the previous food, increasing its amount every day.
3-4 days are enough to change the feed. Unfortunately, it is impossible to predict in advance whether a new food will suit your pet or not. The first signs of an inappropriate diet are a change in the stool for the worse (more liquid; shaped, but with a pungent odor; the appearance of blood in the stool) or the appearance of vomiting. With such deterioration, the food needs to be returned to the previous diet for about a week, until the general condition is fully restored, and then try something else again.
Abrupt feed changes in animals with sensitive digestion can lead to the development of serious gastrointestinal disturbances. When the food is selected and the general condition of the pet suits you, the addition of regular food is not strictly prohibited. The main thing is not to feed the animal all at once, but, for example, adding dry food to porridge or simply giving it as a delicacy in addition to homemade food). You can do this occasionally, as long as the homemade food does not cause digestion problems. At the same time, it is permissible to combine feed from different companies, for example, giving dry feed from one manufacturer, and canned food from another.
In conclusion, we remind you that in the choice of food for a dog, it is necessary to be guided by its personal characteristics. Food for your pet should be chosen to take into account its individual characteristics: breed, size, age, lifestyle, existing diseases, and special conditions (pregnancy and lactation). It is important to remember that food that is perfect for your neighbor’s dog may not work for yours. Some manufacturers mark “active dogs”, “puppies” or “senior dogs”.