April 17, 2016
6 Steps for Choosing the Right Food for Your Dog
We all want to be responsible pet owners and a big part of caring for your dog is seeing to its nutritional needs. Our beloved four-legged family members cannot tell you want they need, so it’s up to you to be able to navigate the every-growing sea of dog food brands. Keep in mind that no two dogs are exactly the same and differences in age, growth, activity level and reproductive status all play a role in which dog food might be right for your dog. And while there are many good dog food options with regards to nutrition, there is no one “best” dog food and these steps should help you evaluate the most important needs for your individual pet. So let’s get started!
1. Your pet’s age and activity level. These categories are very important when deciding on a dog food. A growing puppy needs more calories than an older pet would, just as a high energy breed of dog needs more calories than a breed that prefers to laze around the house.
2. Evaluate the specific nutritional needs of your dog. You should ask the question of whether your dog is in healthy shape. Can you see a discernable waist and feel the dog’s ribs with your hands? It can be fairly easy to see if your dog is a little on the thin side or if he has been packing on the pounds and this should factor into your dog food decision.
3. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. When comparing dog foods inside a pet supply store, allow the employees to help you by asking questions about each dog food you’re considering. They are usually pretty knowledgeable about the dog food they stock and can help point you in the right direction or give suggestions based on your pet’s individual needs.
4. Talk to your veterinarian. If you’re worried about your pet being at its optimal weight or if it has very specific health problem that is affected by diet, then your first resource should be your veterinarian. You should be able to discuss options and develop a plan that’s right for your pet. Typical diet related health problems can include dry/irritable skin, chronic loose stool and diabetes.
5. Check the list of ingredients on the label. After you’ve narrowed down your pet’s nutritional needs, now it’s time to make sure the dog food fits those needs. Many people don’t realize, but dogs are omnivores that can eat a variety of vegetables, meats and grains. The thing to be on the lookout for is the first listed ingredient, which should be the protein source or the meat that you want your dog to have. Stay away from foods that have a grain or vegetable listed first, unless you are specifically looking for a vegetarian diet, and beware of foods that have “meat by-product” or “beef or chicken meal” listed first.
6. Check the protein and fat analysis on the label. This gives you a starting point for deciding if it’s right for your dog. Also important is the adequacy of the food for your pet, does the bag say that the food is appropriate for “all life stages” or is it specifically for “adult maintenance”? These are all things to consider with choosing a dog food.
The key element here is that doing a little research can go a long way to picking the perfect dog food for your pet. Here at Petland Racine, we have landed on Health Extensions brand dog food and it is what we feed and recommend in our store. Health Extensions is an American made dog food company that is family owned and operated, which is an important factor with us as we are family owned and operated ourselves! It has several protein sources to choose from, organic chicken being the most popular, as well as formulas for senior, weight management, small breed specific and grain-free. And if that doesn’t fit your needs, we have many other high-quality dog foods for you, and your four-legged companion, to choose from!