Adopting a dog can be both exciting and overwhelming. While your dog will surely provide unmatched companionship and a sense of security, for first-timers, you will have to struggle with several challenging roles, ranging from potty training, cleaning, and choosing the right dog food. However, unlike training and grooming your dog, choosing the right food for your pet is important as it influences its short and long-term health.
Besides keeping the dog in good shape, providing a nutritious and balanced diet prevents your dog from getting sick and improves its quality of life. That said, below are some important things to know as you search for dog food.
What Are the Available Nutritional Choices?
Understanding the different nutritional choices available for your furry friend is important for many reasons. Fortunately, you can find a lot of information highlighting the various types of canine nutritional choices online.
However, don’t be quick to use them, as not everything available online is reliable. Always verify whatever you find online with your veterinarian or other reputable sources. Generally, commercial dog food is categorized as follows:
- Veterinary prescription diets
- Holistic commercial diets, such as the Earthborn Holistic dog food
- Raw food or BARF diets
- Generic or economy food
- Premium dog food
- Whole food cooked diets
Most commercial dog foods are available as dry or wet diets. However, some come in dehydrated forms, which require that you add water before feeding your dogs. You should try out several nutritional choices to find one that suits your dog.
Dogs Have Unique Diet Needs
Unfortunately, there are no established food pyramids for dogs and other animals, and arbitrary nutritional standards cannot effectively evaluate the quality of your dog’s diet. Even though most dogs require the same quantity of basic nutrients, different dog breeds have varying nutritional requirements. You should start by understanding your dog’s specific nutritional demands.
Manage Food Appropriately
You should keep your dog food in good condition at all times. Just like humans, dogs don’t appreciate stale kibble, so don’t transfer dog food from its original container. Instead, keep your kibble in the bag it came with. Besides maintaining its good state, keeping dog food in original containers makes it easy to identify batch numbers in case of potential food recalls.
On the other hand, opened wet pet food should be kept in a refrigerator in tightly sealed containers. Wet food should also be consumed between three and seven days.
Always Read Dog Food Labels
Dog food labels should highlight specific food profiles for dogs and puppies developed by the Association of American Feed Control Officials. However, while this information should provide an idea of the nutritional content of specific feeds, some labels are misleading. Just because your preferred dog food claims to meet AAFCO guidelines doesn’t mean it is the best kibble on the market. Source from manufacturers who exceed AAFCO requirements and use high-quality ingredients.
Being a responsible pet owner requires that you pay close attention to your dog’s food. Understanding your dog’s specific nutritional needs will help you make better choices about their feeds. Being wary of exaggerated marketing claims makes selecting nutritious and healthy dog food easier.