“You are what you eat.” When it comes to your pet, chances are that old saying would put him in the cereals and grains food group. Surprised? Not if you’ve read the main ingredients on mos bags. An alarming number of companies produce kibbles almost entirely made with soy or corn. That is pretty concerning, taken the fact that your four-legged friend is, after all, considered a carnivore! To help you make a smart choice amongst the ocean of options, here are a few tips for the best and most natural feast.
Ingredients: Quantity and Quality
With catchy words such as “without this or without that,” “natural” or “for senior dogs,” the packaging is the first marketing move to try and convince you that you are buying something “healthy.” However, the rules sometimes seem a tad loss when it comes to the use of such words. It’s best to always check the ingredient list and not fall for empty promises. Although it can appear as a daunting task, as some terms sound like a foreign language, it is worth the trouble in order to keep your pet healthy. The tips here are the same as they are for regular food labels. The ingredients listed first are the one used in the greatest amount, followed in decreasing order by those in smaller quantities. In the dog-food industry, low prices unfortunately often mean the product is not high quality. Therefore, in the long run, paying a few extra dollars for your pet’s nutrition is usually a profitable investment for his health.
Meat in Dog Food: What to Look For
Unsurprisingly, the first ingredient to appear on a kibble bag should be meat or fish (unless your pet is on a balanced vegan or vegetarian diet). However, even if meat is at the top of the list, a deeper investigation is still required. General terms such as “fresh meat,” “meat,” “meat by-products” or “poultry” often indicate the presence of lower quality animal parts. Look for labels with precise words like “chicken,” “lamb,” “beef” or “turkey.” Also keep in mind that the ingredients are listed in order of weight BEFORE being cooked. Fresh or frozen meat contain a lot of water, so after being transformed, their real weight can be much less than the rank suggested in the list. Therefore, “fresh meat” should be closely followed by a specific source of meat that has been rendered and dried such as beef meal. Again, avoid general terms such as “meat meal.”
Should My Dog Eat Cereals?
Cereals! The eternal debate! One thing is for sure, if it’s the first ingredient of the list, put the bag back on the shelf, especially if it’s soy or corn. Those two, even for us, usually do more harm than good. Furthermore, companies have a few tricks up their sleeves, so you need to stay alert! For example, on a label that says beef, brown rice, white rice, wheat, the cereals have been divided into smaller categories. This tricks you into thinking the beef is stealing the show, but if we add them up, they are probably present in greater quantity than the meat. (e.g. rice+wheat+brown rice> beef). Yes, it sounds complicated, we know, but by taking the time to read labels, you’ll become an expert for sure!
Healthy Treats: Try Hemp Biscuits
Treats are a real joy for dogs. Choosing a natural and healthy option is the way to go. Luckily, these days, such products are easier to find. Crocx, a pioneer in hemp-based and vegetarian treats offer high quality products, free from corn, soy and wheat for a biscuit that you four-legged friend will love!
A Few More Tips for a Healthy Diet for Your Dog
To wrap up our list of tips with additional advice, keep in mind that what you feed your dog should be free of preservatives, added sugars and additives. As for food colouring, they are totally useless because let’s be honest, your pet is not fussy about such things. Lastly, some dog food contains fruits and veggies and that’s fine, as long as it also offers a well-balanced protein source. Still doubting your choice? Look at your pooch’s coat, teeth and check its breath. They are good indicators of a healthy diet and will guide you in choosing the best diet possible.