We cannot casually purchase any commercial dog food. At least without having any knowledge about it. Some dog foods are suitable for all age groups. While others vary depending on age, gender, health condition(like pregnant or old age), and dogs that are grown-up for sports or rescue activities.
The six important points you must look while selecting the right commercial dog food:
- The nutritional information
- List of ingredients
- Percentage of nutrient contents and analysis
- Net weight of the product
- Manufacturer’s information such as name, contact & address
1. How to use nutritional information to choose the right dog food:
Companies that include appropriate ingredients in quantities sufficient to meet the nutrient requirements established by the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences, on their product labels.
The most important piece of information on a pet food label for the average pet owner is the nutritional statement. Increasingly uniform regulation of pet foods virtually guarantees accurate label statements about pet food ingredients.
It is practical to say that dog food may be desirable for one pet while inadequate for the other.
Use the nutritional statement to determine whether dog food is suitable to be considered as a part of all of your pet’s diet.
- Dog food containing less than 34% protein dry matter not suitable for feeding kittens or nursing mothers.
- Products containing less than 30% protein dry matter should not be fed to adult cats.
- Dog food containing less than 28% protein dry matter is not suitable for feeding puppies.
- Products containing less than 18% protein dry matter should not be fed to adults or puppies unless vets recommend.
- Dog food containing less than 15% fat dry matter not to be fed to cats without fat supplementation.
- Products containing 25% to 30% fat dry matter do not require providing supplements.
- Dog food containing less than 5% fat, do not feed dogs unless you provide fat supplements.
- Products containing more than 8% fat do not require supplementation.
While choosing dog food, eliminate the product that is higher in fiber content. Because high fiber content is undigestible to dogs and cats. Moreover, little fiber content is sufficient for them.
How do we check for the genuine company?
When we go through the label of dog or cat food, it mentions that they are complete, perfect, scientific, or balanced rations. It contains sufficient ingredients to meet the nutrient requirements of cats or dogs at all life stages.
Companies that make such statements on their product labels must include appropriate ingredients in quantities sufficient to meet the nutrient requirements established by the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences.
Or must have undergone testing which proves they will support proper growth, adult activity, and reproduction when fed without supplementation.
Foods that say they provide complete and balanced nutrition for your dog or cat (or make an equivalent statement) are the only products that can be fed without additional effort being made to balance your pet’s diet.
What to do if dog food does not come with the nutritional statements?
Products without statements attesting to their nutritional completeness are guaranteed to provide total nutrition for your pet and must not constitute your cat’s or dog’s complete diet. If you are to be sure proper nutrition is being provided. then you can use it as a part of a varied diet. Else, keep away from it.
Know about Age/Health-specific dog foods:
Some commercial foods for dogs and cats are designed to provide complete balanced nutrition only at particular life stages.
Companies that produce these specialty foods are allowed to label these products which are suitable for limited purposes as complete or balanced diets only in conjunction with a statement of that limited purpose.
Unsuspecting cat or dog owners must beware! Such products, while perfectly good for their intended use, can cause trouble when fed to pets for which they were not intended,
Foods designed for adult pets may not provide adequate nutrition for growth. Foods for pregnant or nursing will provide too much nutrition for the old fat female. Trim working dogs fed weight reduction diets will have huge amounts of’ them in an attempt to obtain energy to meet their daily needs.
Therefore, read every commercial product’s nutrition statement carefully and use it to eliminate from consideration foods that do not suit for pet’s diet,
If you are not sure or unable to understand the nutritional statements. ask your veterinarian for help.
2. How do we understand the list of ingredients printed on Commercial dog food labels?
Once you have narrowed your choice of foods down to products fall into a class your pet can use. the list of ingredients on the product labels can further aid in your selection.
By law. pet food ingredients must be listed in order of their respective predominance by weight in the product.
Although the ideal ingredients list would tell you the exact quantity each ingredient present and allow commercial pet foods to be compared directly with one another. The current method of listing ingredients does allow you to eliminate some pet foods from further consideration.
The best foods for feeding cats and dogs contain a source of animal Protein found among the first or second canned foods to third or fourth soft-moist or dry foods ingredients.
Balanced diets for dogs and cats can be produced from vegetable products alone but meat protein, not only improves the palatability of dogs and cats but also the utilization of proteins from vegetable sources.
Proteins in foods where animal tissues fall low in the list of ingredients may not be as well utilized by your dog or cat as those in products containing more animal protein.
You may pay the same price for both products but your pet receives less nutrition from the product whose company skimps on animal protein.
Dog foods you should not purchase:
Do not purchase dog foods that contain artificial colors or food additives such as sodium nitrate
Certain pet foods may include artificial colors and additives. However, a few years back it was termed to be safe but recently it was removed by GRAS(Generally Recognised As Safe List) after it generated health problems in dogs.
Except for substances added to balance the vitamin and mineral content of pet foods, most additives are included to impart characteristics desirable to pet owners, not pets. The reason is pet owners want the meat to look redder or kibbles to appear brown, that their pets eat more seeing a beautiful color.
In fact, the truth is completely the opposite. Cats or dogs who may have little or no color vision, do not care if their food looks like yellow bits of cheese and red bits of meat in gravy.
They don’t require that cooked in a can retain the pink blush that indicates freshness to most owners. A blush that can only be maintained with preservatives.
But the fact is, our pets place the most importance on the texture, taste, and odor of the food, not colors. Thus we as pet owners should learn to rely less on appearances.
By refusing to purchase pet foods with unnecessary additives and writing to the food companies, when you have a complaint. You should welcome the most wholesome food for your dogs.
Heat Processing and storage Destroys vital nutrients
Heat processing and storage can destroy necessary vitamins and fats present in natural ingredients and certain foods used in the preparation of cat and dog rations are initially deficient in important vitamins and minerals. The most common example is meat.
15 Common safe vitamin-mineral supplements used in commercial cat and dog foods are:
- Potassium chloride
- Calcium Carbonate
- Choline chloride
- Iron Oxide
- Potassium Iodide
- Cobalt Carbonate
- Calcium Pantothenate
- Manganous Oxide
- Zinc Oxide
- Ferrous Sulfate
- Copper Oxide
- Menadione Sodium Bisulfate
- Folic Acid
3. How to Analyse the Dog Food Ingredients:
The guaranteed analysis must appear on the labels of all commercial cat and dog foods. The information which is required to appear must be listed in the following order:
- Crude Protein(minimum amount) – expressed in percentage
- Crude Fat(minimum amount) – expressed in percentage
- Crude Fiber(minimum amount) – expressed in percentage
- Moisture(minimum amount) – expressed in percentage
Additional guarantees, such as for the minimum amount of calcium or phosphorous present, may follow the above information.
The guaranteed analysis can provide you as a pet owner with a lot of o information if you keep some important facts in mind.
Protein and fat content (the more expensive ingredients) usually approach the minimum amounts and less expensive nutrients approach the maximums.
If the minimum protein content in a food you are considering just barely exceeds the minimum amount recommended for your pet, eliminate it immediately.
The guaranteed analysis tells you nothing about the digestibility of the dog or cat food. No matter what a product’s guaranteed analysis states,
If the ingredients are not highly digestible, they are not available for use by your pet.
Fortunately, reputable manufacturers formulate their commercial diets from high quality, wholesome food grains and food products and the list of ingredients can help you eliminate products, made from the poorest ingredients.
4. Commercial Dog Food Must Have Manufacturer’s Name & Address:
The name and address of the manufacturer, packer, or distributor of a dog or cat food is also information required by law on every pet food label.
If the address is not listed, it is present in the local phone directory of the city shown on the label. This can be an important tool for you.
Use it to request more detailed information about the company’s food. You can also use it to direct any complaints you have to the manufacturer.
Dog food varies with age and health condition. Moreover, you cannot trust all dog foods available in the market just because it is termed as “dog food”.
Many companies differ in the food ingredients, their composition percentage, and the age group specially made for.
In addition, you should consult your vet, in case you do not find the right dog food for your pet.