It’s the question every dog owner wants the answer to - what should I be feeding my dog? Why? Because we all naturally want to know the best ways to make sure our adorable pooches are getting the best nutrients into their bodies. If we were to collect all the information related to this subject, spanning the last few decades, we’d be left with an abundance of information and conclusions by veterinary experts. While this abundance of information is important, sometimes all we need is a simplistic breakdown of what we need to be looking for and what we shouldn’t be doing with respect to our furry best friends.
Identifying the most suitable diet…
With modern advertising operating at its highest capacity, it’s often difficult to drown out facts and information about what what your dog food should contain from basic uninformed claims. However, over the years, one key fact has been established regarding what kind of dog food you should be using. Whether you consult your vet, read an article, or watch an informative segment, meat-based diets have been identified as the better option over corn-based diets.
So, how exactly do you differentiate the two? Simple - as dog owners, we’ve grown naturally accustomed to reading labels of whatever items we purchase. Therefore, your first step would be to make sure the dog food you are looking at has text and imagery asserting that the food is in fact meat-based and not corn-based. Most, if not all, pet food products should have this information easily accessible and making this determination should not be too complicated. However, if you are uncertain, it’s always recommended that you speak to the store manager, or contact the supplier for more information.
However, before we go any further, we have to make 2 key distinctions here. In various interactions and conversation we have had with dog owners, one area where there has been confusion is on the topic of meat-based vs. all meat diets. Meat-based food products are those that have a type of meat, ideally chicken, as the base ingredient of the food (listed as the first item under the ingredients section), combined with other nutrient sources such as fruits and oil. All meat foods are overwhelmingly comprised of meats, which are typically high in phosphorous and lower in calcium. Continued use of an exclusively all meat diet will lead to an unbalanced diet and chronic malnourishment. Making this distinction is, therefore, extremely important.
Bonus tip - Given that most breeds of dogs have varying health concerns passed over the generations, counterbalancing this with an appropriate diet and veterinary guidance is extremely important. Always make it a habit to ensure that you are aware of your dog’s health condition, have frequent interactions with your vet, and know what you are feeding him/her by reading the food labels carefully, consulting your supplier, or speaking to the store manager.
We know the what, but, what about how much?
Now that we’ve covered the overall type of food you need to be looking for - all meats, meat-based, or corn-based - let’s dive in further.
One key flag to look out for is the presence of the legally mandated Guaranteed Analysis (GA). This easily overlooked, yet incredibly important, component is a clearly visible label you will find on any pet food you are looking at. The lack of such a label would naturally mean to look at alternative options, as the GA is legally mandated. The information it essentially contains are the quantities and proportions of ingredients and nutrients available in the specific food item.
All the information available in this label should give you a good inclination as to what is in the specific brand of food and whether or not it is suitable for your dog. If your dog has special health needs or is susceptible to particular types of illnesses, we recommend that you speak to your local vet for more dietary information. However, there are key areas and identified benchmarks that all food brands need to maintain in order to guarantee the highest level of nutrition for your pet. 3 key things you always need to refer the GA for are that...
- the protein content labeled is at least 30 percent
- the fat content is at least 17-18 percent
- the food contains Omega nutrition
As dog owners, we have all come across instances and situations where our best friend’s nutrition has been at the forefront of our concerns. Be it in situations where they are sick, versus situations where they are gaining or losing weight, or even if we are just looking to spruce up their daily diet. Whatever it is, we always want to give them what’s best for them.
Often times, we even consider the route of additional supplementation to bolster nutrition and immunity. However, the best vets and the best sources of information in this domain, will always tell you that the key and most critical component of all, is ensuring that your pooch is getting the most balanced diet possible. Much like in humans, the health of our pets is defined by a fine balance of the various nutrients and components within their bodies - too much, or too little, of one thing, could offset the whole thing.
So, key takeaways?
- Make sure you always opt for a meat-based meal option, preferably chicken, but lamb and beef would work too
- Make sure you consult with your vet before trying any new options.
- Make sure you familiarize yourself with reading the GAs of your products to ensure that they contain at least 30% protein, and 17% fat, with Omega nutrition
- Constantly monitor your pet’s intake of food to make sure you are giving him/her the best
If you’d like a recommendation of a good pet food to buy in Australia, which meets these requirements, check out Black Hawk’s Chicken and Rice formula. In addition to containing the recommended minimum of 30% protein, 17% fat, the formula is also bolstered with emu oil, which is known for providing Omega 3, 6, and 9 that is commonly identified as a contributor to healthy skin and coats. The presence of blueberries and carrots are additional positives given that they are antioxidants that boost immunity.
Stay tuned to this feed for the latest information and tips on how to enhance and improve your dog’s life!