When you’re looking to feed your dog, you want only the best pet food available. You look for nutritious meals for yourself and your family, so why wouldn’t you for your pet? Unfortunately, buying pet food can be confusing, and the labels used on pet food don’t always help you figure out what’s healthiest for your furry friend. Use these top tips to make sure you’re picking out the best food possible for your pet.
Watch for Buzzwords
While you’re shopping, look out for common words and phrases that popular pet food brands use to encourage you to buy their products. Labels like “gourmet” and “holistic” have virtually no meaning with regards to the actual contents of your pet’s food. Some labels, like “organic,” mean that the brand has met certain requirements with its ingredients, but it still doesn’t make your pet’s food inherently healthier.
Check the Ingredients
Rather than just trusting the label on the front of your pet food’s packaging, be sure to check the nutritional information and ingredients list. While this might seem like common sense to some, eight percent of pet owners don’t read the ingredients list when shopping for their pet food. Keep in mind when you’re looking at the label that ingredients are sorted by weight; this means that meat might not be at the top of the list, since meat is about 75-percent water, and removing the water weight makes it much lighter.
Consider Your Pet’s Needs
No two animals are alike, so your pet’s dietary needs are going to be different from other animals. When selecting a pet food brand, look for an option that meets your dog’s dietary needs based on age, weight, breed, activity level, environment, health, and many other factors. Also remember that your animal’s needs will change as they age and grow, and because of this, their food should be changing as well.
Look For the AAFCO Statement
While many labels on pet food are simply buzzwords used to encourage shoppers to buy a particular brand, some information on packaging is incredibly useful and can indicate high-quality food. The Association of American Feed Control, or AAFCO, is a voluntary membership association that establishes the nutritional standards for pet foods. An AAFCO statement can tell you a lot about the pet food’s quality, even beyond buzzword labels like “holistic” or “human grade.”
Follow the Instructions
Believe it or not, feeding your pet isn’t a standard, one-size-fits-all practice. Many pet food brands will have different serving sizes and other instructions associated with them. When you switch to a new dog food, be sure to read the instructions on the packaging. This helps your dog get the right nutrition and serving size even when trying out a new brand.
Buying the right dog food can be a bit tricky, but using these tips can help. Make use of all the labels on your dog food’s packaging to help them get the right food for them and have the most nutritious diet possible.