What would we do without our beloved dogs? People are treating their dogs more and more like their own human children—this might seem a little excessive, but let’s be honest, we all do it. We love our good boys and would do just about anything to ensure they are healthy, safe, and happy. In this article, we’ll offer a few tips on how to pick the best food for your pup and what to avoid adding to their diets.
You might be happy to find out that you don’t have to buy the most expensive brand of dog food on the shelf. But you also might be disappointed to learn that letting your pup clean up your crumbs is not such a good idea. We hope you’ll at least feel confident that you’re providing a long and happy life for your trusty companion.
Ignore Claims on the Packaging—Read the Ingredients List First
You want to feed your dog the best food possible without blowing your budget. But with so many options on the market, it feels impossible to know which brand is going to be the best for your pooch. Dogs usually won’t care either way, but some of those bags of kibble contain more additives than they do real, wholesome food.
It might seem counterintuitive, but you should ignore what’s written on the front of any package. Those big claims make it sound like a brand will treat arthritis, improve flexibility, etc. Whether it’s dog food or human food products, the truth is that the claims on the front of the packaging can be misleading. In fact, sometimes these claims distract from what’s really in the food.
The only way to figure out which brand of dog food is best for your pet is to read the ingredients list. Take a small selection of a few brands you can afford and compare the ingredients lists to each other. Product labels will always show the ingredients in order from largest amount to smallest; those first few ingredients should be real, wholesome foods like meat, vegetables, or whole grains.
You don’t have to investigate every single ingredient on the list, just look at the first five. If you can’t recognize the name, that doesn’t always mean it’s bad. Google search the first five items and learn about what the main ingredients in these products are. Also, ask your vet for food recommendations or about any questionable ingredients. Ultimately, you’ll decide which food to give your dog by comparing a few brands within your budget and choosing the one with the best ingredients.
Avoid Raw Meat and Other Dangerous Food Items
You might have heard that it’s fine to feed dogs raw meat because they eat raw meat in the wild. It’s a controversial topic, so make sure and do your own research and ask your vet before feeding your dog raw meat.
Honor Whiteman cites a new study in the Journal of American Veterinary Medicine that suggests, “. . . pet food containing raw and undercooked meats could lead to foodborne illness for pets and humans who come into contact with them.” Raw meat can contain dangerous pathogens like Salmonella, E. coli, and clostridium, so be sure to talk to your vet before trying a raw-meat-based diet for your dog.
While the verdict is still out on feeding raw meat to your dog, there are some things we absolutely know not to feed our precious pups. There are the top 10 dangerous food items for dogs:
- Avocado leaves and skin
- Xylitol (found in toothpaste, candy, baked goods or other items sweetened with this ingredient)
- Garlic and onions
- Citrus fruits and plants
- Coconut products
- Salty snack foods
- Yeast dough
- Unripe tomatoes
Most of the items on this list are obviously very bad for dogs and other animals. But you might want to be more careful to prevent your dog from munching on any foods you may drop.
The difficult part of providing the best diet for your dog is that you’ll find differing opinions everywhere. Your safest best is to stick with a food that’s full of wholesome ingredients instead of fillers and additives, avoid questionable foods like raw meat or anything on the dangerous food items list, and talk to your vet if you have any questions.