Beginner’s Guide to Dog Food: What You Should Know

dog food guide

One of the biggest worries on any pet owners mind is the quality of food your dog eats. We all want our furry best friends to have healthy and enjoyable meals. So how can you make sure that the rations and treats you buy are appropriate for your pet? We did some digging on the subject and found some interesting answers. Here are some basics that you should know about puppy chow!

 

Dog Food: A Diverse and Booming Market

The dog food industry is growing fast and is expected to reach $23.3 billion by 2022 in the US alone! For dog owners, this means more variety of choice and gradually lower prices as more companies compete to feed pets everywhere. It also means having to choose wisely among a ton of different brands. Many of them specialize in breed specific dog food that even takes a puppy’s size and weight into account. Costs for feeding and caring for your furry companion will vary, with American pet owners spending an average of around $126 every month. A small price to pay for unconditional love!

 

Key Ingredients to Look For

Nutrition is important for your dog’s health just like it is for your own. So, what should your puppy’s food contain? People sometimes forget that dogs are first and foremost carnivores. That means a diet made up of animal-based protein, and lots of it! That can be a tough pill for some vegan or vegetarian pet owners to swallow but remember – your cuddly pooch evolved from wolves near the top of the food chain! The dog food you choose should have specific protein-based products like, ‘beef’, ‘chicken’ or ‘turkey’, on the nutrition labels. Any overly generic descriptions like ‘meat’ or ‘poultry’ could mean that your pet will be consuming dreaded “mystery meats”, a mix of discarded animal byproducts. So be sure to choose a brand with high protein contents.  Lots of dog food brands will include a high grade of carbs (grain is cheaper than meat after all). But just like with humans, the right amount of grain in a canine diet will help boost the digestion process, while carbs provide vital energy that’s particularly great for active pets who love to run around.  You should also make sure that your pet gets lots of vitamins and minerals in their diet. It’s always a good idea to consult with your vet to check the ideal contents of the dog food you should buy, and whether your dog should be on a specialized diet.

 

Human Foods to Avoid

While it may be hard to resist the sad puppy face and longing stares that your dog makes when you’re cooking in the kitchen or eating out, try your best to stay strong! There are many human foods that you should NOT feed your dog, for example, macadamia nuts, avocado and grapes. These foods can be highly toxic to some dogs for reasons that science has yet to fully explain. Foods that contain onions and garlic can even lead to anemia and long-term organ damage in your pet. It may be counter-intuitive for us, but a dog’s body is better equipped to digest raw meats than it is most human-cooked foods. After all, that’s what nature designed them to eat!

There is no reason why our pets shouldn’t benefit from human’s advanced knowledge of nutrition and the impact it can have on their well-being. Well balanced dog food should be the staple of your pet’s diet, with only occasional human food treats. If you don’t get carried away here, your pet will lead a happy, healthy and fulfilling life for many years to come!

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