When looking for dog food, it’s tempting to just go with a cheap option because you figure it’s good enough. But dogs need healthy food and nutrients just as much as people do, and sometimes feeding a dog food that’s “good enough” is just as bad as if you ate fast food every day. Today we’ll be talking about some of the health hazards that can come from feeding your dog the wrong food and what ingredients to look for in high quality dog food.
What Happens When You Feed Your Dog the Wrong Food?
The effects of feeding your dog unhealthy food probably won’t be immediately obvious, but just like for humans, eating food with lots of empty calories and very little actual nutritional value can lead to health problems later in life. These can include obesity, heart problems, digestive problems, and allergic reactions.
What’s more, eating the wrong kinds of foods can even take a toll on your dog’s mental health and energy level. You know how when you eat junk food, you feel lethargic and maybe a little sick? That’s how dogs feel when they eat poor quality dog food. Over time, this can lead to conditions like depression. If you want your dog to live the best life, you should make sure to feed them with good quality food.
How to Tell if Your Dog Food is High Quality
Everything comes down to the ingredients list. A surprising amount of dog owners—over 70% according to one study—don’t know what’s in the food they feed their dogs. If you’re one of those people, make sure to take a look at the list on the back of the bag.
Manufacturers are required to include this ingredients list, but many of them still use tricky wording to make you think you’re getting better quality food than you are. Look out for these warning signs in particular:
Often, manufacturers will use words like “meat,” “meat-meal,” “by-products,” or “cereals” in their ingredients lists. The problem is that these don’t actually tell you anything about what is in the product. Instead, look for brands that name specific ingredients like chicken, beef, fish, oats, or quinoa.
It’s not always possible or desirable to avoid foods that have chemicals and preservatives in them but it’s still typically a good idea to look for recognizable ingredients. Some particular chemicals to avoid: BHA, BHT, propylene glycol. Instead, look for foods that use natural preservatives like vitamin C or vitamin E.
The first item on the list is not a named protein.
Food ingredients lists are ordered based on weight, which means that the ingredient with the highest quantity is always listed first. Dogs need a lot of protein, so if you don’t see something like chicken, beef, fish, liver, or any other animal protein listed as the first ingredient, that’s a bad sign.
Keep in mind that what is good for humans is not always healthy for a dog. Even though foods like onions, avocados, garlic, and grapes may be fine for humans to eat, they are not safe for a dog. Watch out for any ingredients lists that include these or other toxic items. Instead, look for safe vegetables like peas, carrots, or sweet potatoes.
Next time you go shopping for your furry pal’s meal, be sure to spend a little extra time picking food that has quality ingredients. Your pet will definitely appreciate it, and you’ll appreciate getting to spend more happy days with them.