- Learn to read labels. The length of the ingredient list doesn’t always indicate the quality of the food. The ingredient list must show the ingredients in descending order by weight. A protein from a speciﬁed animal should be the ﬁrst ingredient. Avoid generic proteins such as “meat” or “poultry.” Although dogs like to eat some of the animal parts we don’t, proteins from a specified animal are better than by-products. Likewise, by-products are better than rendered meals and digests.
- Watch for ingredient splitting. A manufacturer can list similar ingredients separately to make you think that it’s using less of a lower-quality ingredient. For example, corn is a mediocre, but cheap protein source. Rather than put it ﬁrst, a manufacturer might order its list of ingredients this way: “Chicken, Ground Corn, Meat and Bone Meal, Corn Gluten Meal, Cellulose, Corn Germ Meal,” etc. Because Chicken comes ﬁrst, you’d think Chicken is the main ingredient. However, when you add up the three “corns,” they could well outweigh the Chicken.
- Don't fall victim to marketing. Just because a package is covered with beautiful pictures of fruit and veggies or uses the terms “natural” or “organic” doesn’t mean that the food is actually nutritious or healthful. You must read the label and see what’s actually in the food.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Lately, many people have been asking us advice about dog food. To tide you over until September 1st when you can read the detailed, but pithy nutrition chapter in our book Happy Dog Caring for Your Dog's Body, Mind and Spirit, here's some information.