Healthy dog food is so important to your dog. Your pet trusts you to feed it wholesome, nutritious, food that is free from harmful substances.
But, have you ever taken the time to actually investigate what truly is a healthy dog food?
Most people get taken in by some fancy mind fooling sales copy and don’t really read between the lines. The wording on a bag of dog food can really trick you into believing that food in the bag is a natural, good-for-your-dog food. It’s not your fault for falling for their trickery. They are VERY good at it.
I learned a lot after researching what was the best dog food for my previous dog who was allergic to many, many types of food. What an eye opener, finding out about nasty preservatives, tricky labels, food percentages, fillers and the list goes on.
So below are several articles that you may find interesting. I’ll post a couple now, and then a few more as the days go on. This is very interesting stuff, if you care about what goes into your dog…
What’s Really Going into Doggie’s Dish?
The AAFCO sets the standards for pet food safety and nutrition, and the testing done by the AAFCO is used to determine whether or not specific ingredients are acceptable as pet foods. But the AAFCO will rate both low and high quality ingredients as being nutritionally adequate, because there is a demand for pet food in all price ranges. So you need to learn how to read past the AAFCO approval statement on your dog food labels if you want to know what Fido is really consuming.
Reading a Dog Food Label
The label tells us many important facts and figures that may otherwise dissuade or persuade us from buying the food. So in other words, it is important to read the labels. To actually read that label, and not to just give it a cursory glance, we will have to first know a little something about what can be found there and what it means.
The first thing most of us notice on any label is the product name. The product name may also contain primary ingredient names such as “Beef Dog Chow”, or what kind of dog the food is intended for, such as “Puppies, Adult, Lactating”, etc.
If, in the product name, an ingredient is listed, say for example that “Beef Dog Chow”, that beef must be at least 95% of the total weight if there is no water required for processing, and at least 70% when water is included. So, for dry kibble, 95% of that weight needs to contain beef.
When the title contains “dinner, formula, nuggets,” and other similar words, the ingredient named must be at least 25% of the weight. So in a product named Lamb Dinner, 25% of the total weight for the product must be lamb.
But, if only ¼ of that entire product needs to consist of lamb, the lamb may not (and probably is not!) the main ingredient. Ingredients must be listed in a descending order of weight. So, even though the bag says Lamb Dinner, the lamb may be fourth in order.
- Lamb Dinner Ingredients: Corn, meat and bone meal, wheat, lamb.
In that Lamb Dinner, the main ingredients are really the corn and meat and bone meal. Not especially desirable for a healthy meal.
On the other hand if the ingredients listed were
- Premium Lamb Dinner Ingredients: Lamb, ground rice, ground yellow corn…
This presents a more desirable food meal and one that your dog can actually consume and digest properly.
When it comes to the words “flavored” or “flavor” such as Lamb Flavored Nuggets, no exact percentage of the named ingredient, the lamb, needs to be present, but enough of that ingredient needs to present as to be detectable
Many times, the main ingredients will not be present in the title. In such a case, these foods often include items such as: ground yellow corn, meat byproducts, tallow, and other items that are not particularly digestible for your pet. The actual named ingredient will probably be down the list and make up only a very small part of the product.
Besides naming an ingredient with the product name, other phrases and adjectives are used.
Premium Dog Food, or X Premium and other like titles are making a justified boast, as these products complied with the nutritional standards for a complete and balanced dog food. This is definitely something to take into consideration when shopping.
Natural Dog Food means that there are no artificial colors, preservatives or flavors.
If a product has given the calorie content on the bag, “Premium Beef Dinner: now with lower calorie content,” this is done so voluntarily as a service to the consumer. Because the calorie content of pet foods does not have to be displayed in their labels, however, here’s a formula to help you make sure Fido is not eating too much:
Multiply the carbohydrate by 4.2kcal (kilocalories) per gram, the protein by 5.65, and then the fat by 9.4 kcal per gram. If you need to convert the kilocalories to kilojoules (another unit of measurement for energy) simply multiply the total by 4.184. Of course, rounding to the nearest ten might be helpful, as long as you keep in mind that it’s an approximation erring on the low side.
Where’s the Fat?
A great way to find the higher quality dog foods by reading the ingredient list is to search for that first source of fat. Everything that is listed before that fat source, and including it, is the main part of the food. Everything else is generally used for flavor, preservatives, vitamins, and minerals.
- Food A:Ground yellow corn, meat meal, chicken fat, ground wheat, chicken byproduct meal, dried beet pulp …
- Food B:
Turkey, chicken, chicken meal, ground brown rice, ground white rice, chicken fat, apples, carrots, sunflower oil…
There is a real significance of finding the source of fat and where it is listed is so you can find ingredients that may or may not be harmful to your pet, such as beet pulp, wheat or corn gluten meal.
Educating yourself to read the labels correctly on dog food is the single most important thing you can do if you intend to feed your pet a commercial diet. Fido may be the smartest dog who ever wore a collar, but he can’t read, and he needs to rely on you to keep him healthy.
If what’s in that can or bag doesn’t sound like something you’d want to eat, it’s probably not something your dog would eat if there were an alternative. So take the time to learn the language of labels!
I found this guy Sharda Baker when doing research on healthy dog food. Sharda Baker has published several dog ebook and audios, including the internet best selling“Complete Guide to Your Dog’s Nutrition”
Visit the link below now for Sharda’s Special Free Dog Food Report.
Homemade Dog Snacks
RECIPE: KASH”S CHEEZY WEEZIES
3 cups whole wheat flour, or whole rye flour
2 teaspoons of garlic powder (this makes it smell so good when baking)
1/2 cup good quality vegetable oil
1 cup shredded medium cheddar cheese (or similar)
1 large egg, beaten
1 cup milk (we used 2%)
Combine flour and garlic powder in a large mixing bowl.
Create a cavity in the flour mixture and slowly stir in the vegetable oil, cheese, beaten egg, and the milk until you have it blended well.
Put the dough on a floured surface (so it doesn’t stick) and knead the dough for 3 or 4 minutes.
Grab your rolling pin and flatten or roll the dough to about 1/2 inch thick. (evenly)
Get a small bone shaped cookie cutter (I forgot to mention that) or cut into small rectangles about 1″ by 1/2 inch. Place the cut out pieces on a lightly greased baking sheet.
Bake these delightful little treats at 400 degrees for 25 minutes.
Remove from oven and cool on a rack. You can store them at room temperature in a container with a loose fitting lid. Remember, these don’t have preservatives in them. It’s not likely they will be around long anyway once your dog tastes one.