Whether buying commercial food or choosing to make your own, to keep your pet safe, happy, and most importantly, healthy, it would be vital to know how to spot bad dog food.
In general, for dogs to remain healthy, they need a certain amount of nutrients on a daily basis so if any food does not meet these recommended levels, they would be deemed as bad dog food.
Today, there are some excellent brands of commercial food that include natural ingredients and appropriate levels of nutrients but along with the good you would also find bad.
Reading Dog Food Labels
Once you understand the ingredients that should and should not be included, you would discover that reading labels becomes second nature. That way, you would know the ingredients considered healthy and those considered harmful or even dangerous.
A prime example would be the importance of looking at the first ingredient listed. The ingredient listed first is what the product contains most whereby the last ingredient on the list is the least important.
You want to make sure the first thing listed on the label is beef, chicken, turkey, and fish. Even better, instead of general terms being used, we recommend that the type of beef, chicken, turkey, and even fish be listed.
As an example, instead of “fish” being the first item, you should see something like “salmon.” If beef were listed first, the goal would be to determine the type of beef. That way, you would have a much easier time choosing food you know your family pet would love.
Importance of Dog Food Ingredients
Remember, ingredients play a key role when choosing good food versus bad dog food, which would include any brand that contains dangerous ingredients. Along with meat being the most critical ingredient, you want to avoid any commercial product that lists meat meal or byproducts.
In addition, filler ingredients such as wheat, corn, and soy should also be overlooked. Not only are foods such as these considered “bad” because they provide no real nutrients, they are often difficult to digest.
Foods Included in Bad Dog Food
Along with foods that should be included when choosing a high quality food, there are specific foods that are often associated with bad dog food. For instance, you want to avoid any product regardless of brand that lists preservatives or additives as part of the ingredients.
Typically, these ingredients cause digestive problems but also affect dogs with allergies. The best preservative to look for on the label would be vitamin E, also referred to as Tocopherol.
Sadly, marketing campaigns can be quite misleading. Therefore, to stay away from bad dog food, you also want to stay away from claims, promises, or guarantees that appear too good to be true.
Marketing companies are notorious for pumping up claims, which to consumers are very misleading. Again, distinguishing good food from bad dog food goes back to understanding the ingredients considered good opposed to those that are bad.
We also suggest you look for natural ingredients that are human graded. This means everything listed on the label could be consumed by humans safely. You want a product that has the right balance of protein, carbohydrates, and fats while avoiding foods made from byproducts or meat meal.
Initially, separating bad dog food from good might take a little time and effort but after you go over labels a few times it would be much easier to pick out an excellent brand and formula for your special pet.
Dog Food Labeling Requirements
Because of misleading information and other problems, changes in pet food labels have recently been applied. As you shop for the right pet food, make sure any label being researched has AAFCO certification.
That way, you would have complete confidence the food meets or exceeds minimum nutritional levels and that all ingredients have been completely tested and deemed safe in a controlled laboratory setting.
You should also not be fooled into thinking that the best known or largest companies are the most successful. On the other hand, do not assume that lesser known products are bad. We cannot stress enough the importance of reading and analyzing labels as a means of finding good food versus bypassing bad dog food.