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Choosing What's Right For Your Dog Food

A lot of people ask me what I feed our dogs and my answer is always given with a bit of caution.  First of all, it's important to remember that each dog is different.  Our Labradors eat different food than my Chihuahua, mostly because their protein needs are much different.  Our Labs are working dogs and need lots of energy...my Chihuahua just needs a good lean dog food to give him enough energy to play all day inside the house.

Having said that, it's really easy to learn how to read the labels of dog food for yourself, so that you can make an educated decision.  There are many places on the Internet to help you choose the best dog food. My favorite is the Pet Food Project, because Sabine gives the reader a clear and thorough instruction of how to read dog food labels so that you know and understand what you are looking for.

I had no idea what dog food to feed my dog, until I came upon Sabine's website. She explains that dog food labels are difficult to read by design. The dog food industry is vague on purpose, so you think something is good for your dog, when it really isn't.   Take the term "by-products". This ingredient is usually preceded by a meat type, such as chicken by-product or beef by-product. This term really describes what is "left over" after processing and cutting; so chicken by-product actually includes things like the beaks, or feet...nothing of real substance for your dog.

When reading the label, you should always consider the first few ingredients listed before the first fat; remembering that each ingredient is listed in terms of volume, with the first one making up the most. What you're looking for is any type of meat being listed first with a minimal amount of grains. To complicate things even further, beef is not as good as beef meal because they are also measuring the water content, causing you to believe that it's more volume than it really is. Also, look for more than one grain being listed in those first five or so; they may be separating them out to make it look as though the ratio of grains to meat are low.

I have to tell you that using just these basic tips have helped me quickly eliminate the majority of major brand dog foods, and this is just the beginning! Sabine has many more steps in her instruction on how to choose the best dog food, and her site is really worth checking out.

It's very important that you understand what is going into your dogs diet. A poor diet can lead to physical and even behavioral problems. Plus, you WANT to feed your dog the best food you can buy and it's important to make an informed decision. Your dog will thank you, I know mine did!

For more information about Best Puppy Dog Food For Labs.


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