There are a lot of different ideas out there about dog food. I’m not trying to say that any of it is wrong. However, in my experience as a kennel attendant, rescue worker, veterinary assistant, food representative, and above all else a pet owner, I’ve learned a lot about doggie nutrition. Over the past few years I’ve done a lot of research and talked to many people, including veterinarians, kennel owners, other rescue workers, dog food representatives, and many more.
Here’s the deal; You are what you eat right? So why wouldn’t that idea translate to your dog? Sure, you can eat cheap fast food everyday and survive, but you won’t be at your healthiest if you do. You can feed your dog cheap dog food, and they will survive as well, but they are not going to be their healthiest or happiest either.
Low end dog foods are not the same quality as the higher end foods. Sure, they have happy dogs on the bag and they come in all sorts of kibble shapes and colors (artificial dyes), but all of this is marketing tricks to get you to think it’s great. In all reality, they’re packed with fillers like corn, soy, and wheat. These three ingredients are major allergen causers. The allergy manifests in many ways, including, but not limited to; dry skin, dandruff, and gas. Also, more fillers means more poop. Dog’s weren’t engineered to use these fillers so all that extra bulk has to go somewhere, and that place is going to be your yard. In addition, these low quality foods will often have by-products or animal digest in them as a form of protein. An animal by product is any material derived from the body of an animal. Animal Digest is a boiled concoction made from unspecified parts of unspecified animals. The animals can be obtained from any source, so there is no control over quality or contamination. Ingredients can come from restaurant and supermarket refuse, the dead, diseased, disabled, or dying animals raised for human food, other farm animals, rodents, pets euthanized at shelters, and so on. These low quality protein sources are, if anything, gross, and your dog won’t benefit from them the way they would a high quality protein source (actual meat). You’ll see poor coat quality, smelly breath, poor nail and coat strength, erratic energy, shorter life-span, and more. On top of all of that, many of the bargain brand dog foods are constantly recalled due to problems with the ingredients that come from out of country. The most recent recalls having detrimental, if not deadly consequences. The bottom line; low quality food equals a low quality life for your dog.
I can spot a dog on a low quality food from a mile away. There’s a definite difference in their appearance and actions. A dog that is ten on a low quality food looks and acts ancient, while on the other hand, a dog that has been eating the best looks vibrant and still acts like he’s a young strapping lad. In rescue, I see dogs come from every walk of life. Very rarely do I see a corgi come in that has been fed a good food. Therefor, I often get to see first hand the changes a high quality food can make. When Whistle came into the Celtic Corgi Rescue, his hair was the texture of dry grass. He was very lethargic, itchy, and had unpleasant goopy eyes. Within two weeks, a definite difference could be seen. Within two months he was a new dog, full of life with a glossy, beautiful coat, and bright, happy eyes. He wouldn’t have made such a quick and drastic turn around if he hadn’t been fed the best food to meet his nutritional needs.
With that being said, I know that the prices of a high quality food can be daunting. It doesn’t have to be though. Look at it this way, you spend 25 dollars on 30 lbs of bargain brand A. Let’s say you have a 30 pound dog and he gets a full bowl that equals about 2 cups of food a day. Now lets look at a high quality food that’s 30 lbs and 50 dollars a bag. Because this is a high quality food, your dog uses everything he eats and doesn’t need more to meet his nutritional needs. Therefor, he only needs a cup a day. You’ll feed half as much of the high quality food as you would the bargain brand so the bag lasts twice as long. So, initially, yes a better food is going to be a lot more expensive, but in the long run you’ll spend around the same amount for a much better product. In addition, with a higher quality food, your dog will live a longer healthier life, which means less vet bills now and later in life.
So what makes a food “high quality”? The first place to look is on the bag. Check the ingredients list. The first ingredient should be the meat. After that should be the complex carbohydrate; brown rice, oatmeal, and potatoe are popular in most good commercial dog foods. Corn, wheat, soy, by-products, and animal digests should not be on the list. Those are going to be your best tells on whether a food has what you want. I choose foods that are made in country to avoid any problems. Foods made here have to go through certain regulations with how the meat is raised, the food is processed, and how their factories are maintained. There are many brands out there that put out fantastic products for your pet. There are even convenient tools to help you figure out which one is going to be best for your pocket and your dog. The Compare to Blue test on Blue Buffalo website is great to help you see what your food does or doesn’t have in it in comparison to a high quality food, and dogfoodadvisor.com has an extensive list of just about all the dog foods out there and what their rating is as well as where to find specific brands. I’m also totally willing to help point you in the right direction of a food that’ll be best for your dogs needs, and give instruction on how to switch them without any tummy upset.
Final summation: feed your dog the best so they can be the best.
This is my new rescue, Papa. He lived all nine of his years on a chain outside. on top of that, he’sheart worm positive. Today is his first day inside. I also gave him what was very obviously his first piece of cheese. He’s hooked.