Choosing the right dog food plays a crucial role in the well-being of our furry friends. In our article “How to Choose the Best Quality Food for Your Dog,” we’ll delve deep into the key aspects to consider when selecting the perfect nourishment for your loyal companion. From ingredient quality to formulation, we’ll explore crucial details ensuring a diet that not only meets their nutritional needs but also promotes a healthy and vibrant life.
Dogs, descendants of wolves, have evolved from a diet rich in protein primarily obtained from hunting in the wild. However, it’s essential to consider some factors. While wolves mainly feed on animals, it doesn’t imply that dogs are designed to depend solely on meat. In fact, when a wolf hunts, its first bite focuses on the entrails, including the stomach containing everything ingested by its prey.
On the other hand, it’s crucial to recognize that over time, dogs have undergone changes in their diet due to their biological evolution separate from wolves for over 15,000 years. Living with humans has led to an adaptation to different forms of nutrition. Although many modern dogs are fed kibble straightforwardly, choosing a diet significantly influences their lifespan. When selecting food for domestic dogs, it’s crucial to remember their roots but also consider other factors adapted to their current needs.
Understanding Your Dog’s Nutritional Needs
Every dog is unique, and there are thousands of options when it comes to feeding them. Before choosing the best food for your dog, consider their age, size, and activity level. There is food tailored to dogs of different age groups, such as puppies, adults, or seniors, as well as kibble of different sizes or with varying energy density.
Your dog may have specific needs due to allergies, intolerance to certain ingredients, or underlying health conditions. Specific diets exist for dogs with cardiovascular or renal issues, hypoallergenic requirements, obesity, etc. In such cases, seeking advice from your veterinarian is likely necessary.
Learn more about your dog’s nutritional needs here.
Check the Ingredient List
The more natural and higher quality the ingredients, the healthier the food for your dog. Although reading the ingredient composition may seem a bit hefty, it’s crucial to understand that the most important aspect is ensuring that the protein source is of animal origin and good quality, avoiding by-products. Identify ingredients like vegetables and fruits for a balanced diet, and steer clear of genetically modified foods.
Diets that are not natural may include ingredients such as appetizers, artificial colorings, or preservatives that make the food appealing to sight and smell but fall short nutritionally. Feeding your dog highly processed food with these additives would be akin to taking them to a fast-food restaurant every day.
Evaluate the Formulation
Ensuring good nutrition involves providing your dog with all essential elements: carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, minerals, and water. This balance is vital for the healthy development and functioning of organs, maintaining proper reproductive function, effective tissue repair, and resilience against diseases.
Ensure the Protein Source
Dogs primarily need protein, but the quality can vary significantly among different sources. It’s crucial to ensure that the food given to the dog contains a good percentage of quality protein. Despite their adaptation to domestic life, don’t forget the origins of dogs and understand that they eat meat or fish. Therefore, good food will contain one of these as the first ingredient.
Vegetable protein concentrates have a lower biological value than animal protein, and dogs don’t synthesize them in the same way. While protein is fundamental, don’t forget that dogs also need other types of nutrients for a complete diet. Feeding them only meat or fish would lead to long-term nutritional deficiencies.
Consider Healthy Fats
Assessing fat levels is crucial when selecting food for your dog. Healthy fats play a vital role in the health of their coat, skin, and overall well-being. Opting for foods with moderate fat levels not only contributes to a healthier appearance but also supports key internal functions, such as the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins and energy maintenance. Finding the right balance is essential: too much fat can lead to overweight, while too little can negatively impact skin and coat health. By choosing a diet with appropriate fat levels, you are promoting overall health for your furry friend, ensuring they receive the necessary nutrients for an active and vibrant lifestyle.
Feeding the Intestinal Microbiota
The health of dogs is intrinsically linked to the state of their intestines, a vital system that hosts a complex community of microorganisms. This intestinal ecosystem plays a key role in absorbing nutrients from food.
Alterations in the microbiota can result in various health issues, such as diarrhea, overweight, or allergies. The quality and nutritional composition of the food you provide directly impact your dog’s microbiota. A quality diet not only ensures a balanced source of essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals but also incorporates prebiotics to enrich the microbiota.
Prebiotics play a crucial role in maintaining the health of the microbiota in optimal conditions. Various reports support the idea that both prebiotics and probiotics enhance the immune system of dogs, providing additional protection against infectious diseases. Thus, choosing a diet that promotes intestinal health significantly contributes to the overall well-being of your pet.
Amino Acid Contribution
Amino acids play a vital role in the health of dogs, with some being essential, meaning the body cannot produce them internally and must include them in the diet.
The critical aspect in this equation is ensuring that the selected food provides the right amount of essential amino acids. It’s essential to note that most of these amino acids come from animal protein sources.
In the specific case of dogs, the amino acids that need to be incorporated through the diet include: Arginine, Histidine, Isoleucine, Leucine, Lysine, Methionine, Phenylalanine, Tryptophan, Threonine, and Valine. Choosing a diet that meets these requirements ensures that your dog receives the essential components to maintain their health and vitality.
Although the closest-to-nature diet for dogs is raw meat, food safety must be considered. Ingesting raw meat, even after freezing, carries risks such as bacterial contamination and the potential transmission of zoonotic parasites, which are only eliminated through proper cooking. Therefore, offering raw meat or fish to dogs is not recommended.
A healthy alternative is foods cooked with steam or at low temperatures, as this technique completely eliminates the risks associated with raw meat while preserving nutritional properties to the maximum. The direct intake of minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants significantly enhances the immune system of dogs. A natural steamed cooked food option is Natsbi.
Hydration plays a crucial role. Steaming allows the preservation of some water content in the ingredients, promoting better hydration for dogs. This reduces pressure on the kidneys and liver compared to the intake of dry food or kibble. If your dog is fed kibble, there’s no need to worry, as long as they have constant access to a bowl of clean and fresh water.