There are several thousand commercially available dog foods to choose from in the United States alone. Almost every one of these contains long lists of ingredients and hard to understand “guaranteed analysis” and imprecise feeding recommendations. Unfortunately, this plethora of information and food choices can cause pet owners to become confused about how to choose a good food for their pet. Instead, the typical consumer will rely on the marketing verbiage and pictures on the packaging and other advertising done by the food brands. Relying on marketing messages and images to choose a pet food is a mistake. Messaging and imagery can be created to obfuscate the fact that the food is full of lower quality fillers and/or artificial ingredients. If you want evidence, go to the grocery store and randomly pick out a brightly colored bag with pictures of happy dogs on the package. Now, look at the first 10 ingredients and ask yourself if those ingredients reflect a wholesome, carnivore diet. The odds are pretty low that the answer is yes (there are exceptions, of course). Three Qualities of an Ideal Dog Food There are certain qualities that can be an indication of a dog food’s overall quality and suitability for a dog. Three of the more important ones that a pet owner can use to evaluate a dog food are listed below. The dog food contains lots of whole foods Whole foods are the best way to ensure that a dog is able to get and utilize the maximum nutrients in a food. Whole foods provide synergies that isolated and processed ingredients cannot. Examples of whole foods include Salmon, beef liver and kidneys, apples, and carrots. These are far superior to their common alternatives like fish meal, beef by-products, and isolated vitamin additives. The dog food contains nutrient dense ingredients Nutrient dense ingredients are ingredients that pack a powerful nutritional punch for the calories that they provide. This means that they provide essential amino acids, essential fatty acids, anti-oxidants, and whole vitamin and mineral complexes that are crucial for the dog’s body. For example, when it comes to protein sources, choose nutrient dense pork or venison, instead of grain based sources like corn or wheat. Fruits and vegetables are nutrient dense as well and are far superior to added vitamins and minerals. The dog food contains ample high quality, bio-available proteins that are suitable for a dog’s body Dogs should be fed based on their carnivore ancestry. This means that they primary ingredients in the food should be the flesh from wildlife and fish. Whole, named proteins are the most appropriate choices for a dog. “Meals”, which can up the protein amounts in a food, should not be the main protein ingredient, but rather used to supplement the total protein in a food. Again, avoid foods laden with cheap filler proteins like wheat, soy, and other plant based proteins.
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