Now that you have decided on that perfect little puppy, you must decide on what type of dog food will support the healthiest growth possible. What should
you look for in a good dog food? Many breeders and dog food retailers will tell you to look for the guaranteed analysis for crude protein and fat. These
results will be in the form of percents. The protein and fat content is not the only concern when purchasing that bag of dog food at the store. You must
read on and view the ingredients and what the words actually mean. I myself am a chemist and for people without a background in the naming of organic
compounds it can become quite confusing. For example you have two different types of sugar compounds D-glucose and L-glucose. The difference is that
they are merely the same compound with different structures. They are mirror-imaged isomers. Why does this matter, well in the body D-glucose can be
carried in the blood and is used to create ATP (adenosine tri-phosphate). In short, ATP is what we use for energy. The other form, L-glucose cannot be
carried by the blood and is not beneficial to our cells. So even though both have the same chemical make-up C6H12O6 only one is actually used by the
body. Without a background in some type biochemistry, biology, or organic chemistry, it would be hard [to] understand the difference. This write up will be
a breakdown in terms that every person can understand [by] not using confusing compound names. Wateree Kennels is not affiliated with any dog food
manufacture and [we] do not try to push any particular brand of dog food onto anybody. We simply want to give you a list of the fact so that you will posses
the tools to make the best decision for yourself.
Choosing a Dog Food
How Dog Food Came About
To understand the quality of dog food you must first understand the origin. Because the United States was an Agricultural Society it produced many
grains. At times farmers would end up with a Batch (silo) of grain or cereal that could not be used for human consumption. So what to do with all of this
non-editable food. The choice was to use it to make a type of (kibble) that could be given to pets. This was the birth of the pet food industry. It was soon
realized [that] dogs could not simply get all of the nutrients [they] needed just from these grains and cereals. Meat was then added to the mix in order to
create the desired pet food. However the meat used was from diseased or older animals that were not considered suitable for humans. Over time thing[s]
have changed but not drastically pet food manufactures still used ingredients that are unsuitable.
When looking at the ingredients in your pet food you will usually find the type of meat listed first. Usually chicken, poultry, lamb, beef. The thing that you
should be concerned with is the words directly following the meat. Does it read meal or by-product? You should try to avoid by-product as the source of
meat in your pet's food. By-product is another way of saying after we got the meat for people, we swept the floor poured it into a grinder and that is your
meat by-product. By-products contain things such as bones, intestines, heads, feet, tendons, ligaments and other non favorable body parts. The problem
with by-products is that it is difficult for a dog to digest meaning that if your protein content is 28% maybe only 14% is used by your pet. Dog food
manufactures use by-products as a way to boost their protein percentage while cutting cost. A piece of leather is full of protein but if you ate it you wouldn't
gain any nutritional value. In short "meal" should be the word that directly follows the source of meat. Such as Chicken meal, this will insure that you[r] dog
receives a digestible source of protein. Also beware of things such as chicken by-products meal, it is still contains by-products.
Next you will probably find some type of grain such as soy, corn gluten, corn, wheat gluten. These are used as fillers in the dog food. These also
contribute to the protein analysis but are usually poor quality and very difficult to digest. These ingredients will usually make up more of a of the kibble
than the meat will. Also note that some list corn as the number three allergen. Meaning you may have a dog with skin problems or scratches but has no
fleas. This can sometimes be corrected simply by a change in diet without corn. Many times a dog food will consist more fillers than any other ingredient.
Why Dogs Eat Poor Quality Food
Next you may be surprised to discover that artificial color and chemical preservatives are added to the food so that it is desirable by your dog. When you
first open a bag of dog food it smells fresh. This is the chemical that [has] been added so that the shelf life is increased and to make it attractive to your
pet. Rub your hand along the inside of the bag when you open it and you should be able to feel the chemicals along the side (greasy feel). If there was no
flavoring or chemical added to the kibble the dog would most likely not eat the food. Although it is like Jerry Clower (a famous comedian here in the south)
"My dog eats collards but only after the first month". If your dog gets hungry it will eat anything you feed it. It is up to you to feed it a quality food.
Now that you know what you don't want in a dog food, we will discuss what is good for your dog. Lamb meal, chicken meal, ground rice, rice flour, potatoes,
rice bran,..., chicken fat, dried beet pulp, ground grain sorghum, ground whole grain barley, poultry fat, brewers rice, cracked pearled barley, white fish,
ground barley, menhaden fish oil, and sweet potatoes are all favorable ingredients in dog foods. If you are viewing the ingredient list on a bag of dog food
and the first five ingredients are on this list chances are you have found an awesome dog food. There are other ingredients that are beneficial but these
are the most important.
Hopefully by now you will have a list of ingredients that you will find in your dog food. Be prepared to pay for the better dog food. In some cases you have
two bags of dog food that cost $30 but one can be more nutritional, so be sure to read what is in your dog's food. Picking the proper dog food will actually
cut cost because it will take less to feed your dog. Also you will notice less waste coming from your dog since it is digesting more of the food. If you paid
$30 for a 40lb bag of food it would last more than a month even if you fed your dog a full pound of food a day. So as you can see feeding a dog a better
food is really not that costly. Hope you find this helpful.
Webb, Richard. Choosing a Dog Food N.p., n.d. Web. <http://www.watereeamericanbulldogs.com/dog_food.html>