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3 Simple Rules for Selecting a Better Dog Food

 by petbucket on 15 Oct 2015 |
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A dog's diet is one of the biggest influences on its health, longevity, and overall quality of life. Making better decisions about what you feed your dog has never been more important than now. With regular recalls on national brands, and associated pet casualties, dog owners should know more about what they are feeding their pets and have a responsibility to their best friend to choose wisely on their behalf. 
 
With the variety of brands, package sizes, and promises, it can easily become overwhelming to select a food that is worthy of your dog. Turn those packages over, and locate the ingredient panel. This is all you need. Finding the perfect food to fit your budget and keep your dog happy and healthy can be a little less daunting the next time around if you keep these three simple rules in mind while reading those labels. 

1. The First Ingredient: Meat is a Must
A savvy consumer can easily weed out a handful of unworthy brands in a hurry, using the very first ingredient listed on the package. Meat should always appear first on the list. The position of an ingredient on the list tells you how much of it is contained within. The higher the position it holds on the list, the higher the content of that particular ingredient there will be. 
 
If you select a lamb based food, the first ingredient should read "deboned lamb", or simply "lamb". If you select a chicken variety, the label should read "deboned chicken", or "chicken".

2. No Corn, Wheat, or Soy. Ever.
This is very straight forward. Corn, wheat, and soy are all unnecessary fillers. They are attractive raw materials for dog food manufacturers because of their low cost. Don't select a food with these products listed anywhere on the label. Dogs may experience a host of problems, including seizures, allergic reactions, and gastrointestinal issues if kept on a diet consisting of these ingredients. 
 
Some food brands advertise soy as an extra source of protein in their product. While a seemingly attractive claim, a true quality feed will be rich in meat protein. 

3. Avoid By-Products
If any sort of "by-product" appears anywhere on the label, do not buy it. Remember that "by-product" is a fancy term for "garbage", and you don't want to feed that to your best friend. 
 
While it's a priority to get your pup eating a better diet, it's also very important to always switch a dog to a new food slowly. Start by introducing small amounts of the new food into the dog's old food, mixing it in. Gradually increase the ratio of new food to old daily over the course of several days or longer. Taking time to make the switch will help to avoid potential gas, diarrhea, or stomach discomfort. When switching to a higher quality food, it is even more crucial to introduce the new food gradually, as quality foods are richer, higher in protein, and are more likely to be symptomatic if a change is made too rapidly. 
 
Always check with your veterinarian if you have concerns over possible food intolerance, allergies, or weight management issues that may need to be addressed with a specialized diet.

For further reading, be sure to check out this awesome best dog food review and buyer's guide by our friends at The Daily Shep. 

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