Qualities Of The Ideal Dog Food

One of your biggest priorities when you first get a dog is deciding what to feed him. Nutrition is a fundamental part of your canine’s care and it is essential to get it right if your furbaby is to continue to grow and be healthy and strong.

The importance of the right nutrition

The nutrition that your dog receives will contribute towards a variety of aspects of his health and happiness. Like us, animals need a particular combination of fats, proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals each day just to function. In addition to this, your pet may also need additional nutrition based on their current life stage and health – for example, nursing canines usually need a greater number of calories than non-nursing dogs.

Some of the key functions of your dog’s nutrition include supporting:

- Healthy muscle tone and good body condition

- Healthy skin and coat

- Fully functioning digestive and elimination systems

- Strong immune system

However, knowing exactly what to feed your new pet can be tricky, and to make matters more confusing, there are now more brands and varieties of dog food available than ever before. Labelling and marketing information included on the packets and cans of food can be ambiguous to say the least which can make deciphering nutritional value and quality seem like a minefield. So, how can you be sure that your dog is receiving the best food possible?

The qualities that should be present in dog food

Let’s cut through the bold colors and catchy phrases and get to the crux of the matter. Quality of food is the most important thing to consider when it comes to feeding your pet and there are three main qualities that you should be looking for.

1. Whole Foods

Whole foods are classed as food items that have been processed or refined as little as possible and is free from additives or other artificial substances. Unsurprisingly, they are much better for your pet than alternatives, so when you look for a food for your pet, try and find one that has a high number of whole foods on the ingredient label. Ideally, whole foods should be the first ones listed since ingredients are listed by weight. Good whole foods to have in your dog’s diet include salmon, beef liver, kidneys, apples and carrots.

2. Nutrient-dense Ingredients

You have probably heard of empty calories, right? These are foods or beverages that contain calories but have barely any nutritional value, such as a glass of wine or a packet of chips. When it comes to finding the best food for your pet, you ideally need to aim for the opposite – the most nutrition per calorie possible. Nutritious foods have all of the essential fatty acids, anti-oxidants, minerals, vitamins and amino acids needed for your pet to be healthy. Proteins, fruits and vegetables offer some of the most superior nutrition available.

3. Protein, Protein, Protein!

Although canines are technically omnivores, their ancestry points to a diet that was primarily carnivorous. Their modern-day diet should still reflect their history and a heavily protein-based diet is still considered essential for most dogs. Look for products which list whole proteins as the first ingredients, such as beef, chicken or pork. Many meats are listed as ‘meals’ and while they still contain a degree of protein, are used to supplement the whole proteins instead. Try and avoid any products that list things like wheat and soy as these are used as cheap, bulky fillers and have little nutritional value for your pet.

If you are unsure which food to give your pet, our veterinarian is the best person to advise you. Feel free to contact our offices to discuss your individual dog’s needs and allow us to make a recommendation as to the nutrition he should be receiving.