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How to Choose Dog Food?

When you go to the pet food store, most of the choices are dry kibble or wet food in cans. There are a few other in-between choices as well, but these are the two most common ways to find packaged dog food. The problem is that the choices seem to be endless. There is at least an entire aisle of dog food at any pet supply store, and the same can be true of the grocery store. Read on to find help on how to choose dog food. 

New Puppies

When you bring home a new puppy, you will want to use the same food the breeder or rescue was using. You can start off with this and if you plan to change brands, make sure that you make the change slowly by mixing the new food with the old food. 

No matter what kind of food you feed your puppy, it should be formulated for puppies. Puppy food is specifically made with the nutritional value that puppies need when they are growing. You can feed your puppy four times a day until it is 12 weeks old, and then drop down to three times a day. At six months, you can begin feeding your puppy twice a day. You can switch to adult dog food when your puppy is 12 months old.

Choosing the right food for your puppy can be difficult. One thing holds true for all puppies under the age of 12 months: you should feed a dog food made for puppies. 

Adult Dogs

Adult dogs are dogs from the age of one to six. You should buy a food that is labeled for your dog’s age range. This is important because it will contain the nutrients necessary for your dog. Most people feed adult dogs twice a day. If the label on your dog food says your dog should get one cup of dog food a day, you can feed ½ cup in the morning and ½ cup at night.

Senior Dogs

Senior dogs are normally those age seven and older. Senior foods are made so that these dogs get the nutrition they need without the extra protein or other foods that might be bad for an older dog. You can follow the directions on your dog food, but generally you can feed your senior dog twice a day as well. 

Dry Kibble Versus Canned Wet Food

You will find many types of canned dog food and dry kibbles, and you can often find semi-moist food as well. It is natural to wonder which one you should use. Take a look at the following:

  • Canned wet food: This is the most expensive kind of dog food, but dogs often love it. People often use it for picky eaters or to complement the dry kibble. The key is to read the label.
  • Semi-moist food: This food is usually sold in packets that are one serving. It might look like a hamburger or a packet of meat. 
  • Dry kibble: This is the most affordable type of dog food, and it can be fed as it comes out of the bag. The nutritional label will tell you if it has the nutrients you want for your dog.

Many breeders and dog owners say that dry kibble is the best type of food to feed because it helps keep the dog’s teeth and gums healthy. You can even wet the dry kibble to make it taste better, but most dogs are happy to eat it as is. 

Premium Dog Food

Dog food companies invest in the development of their premium dog food brands. Premium food normally has higher nutritional density, which means that dogs can eat less of it. This kind of food also has consistency in terms of its ingredients, so it has the same ingredients in every batch. Ordinary dog food has variable ingredients. When you feed your dog premium dog food, you can have confidence that your dog is receiving the nutrition it needs. This is the advantage of feeding premium dog food.

Choosing a Dog Food

It is very important that you become familiar with the labels on dog food. You should know the ingredients, but you should also know what the phrases on the packaging mean. There are FDA guidelines that can help you translate the phrases on the packaging. Consider the following:

  • Beef for Dogs or Chicken Dog Food means that the meat is 95% of the total product before water is added. Once water is added to the formula, it is reduced to 70%.
  • Dinner, platter, entrée, nuggets, or formula are buzzwords for 25% of the protein.
  • With cheese, with salmon, with anything is a code for it contains 3% of the ingredient.
  • Beef flavor or chicken flavor means there is only a trace of beef or chicken.

The actual ingredients will be listed on the label, and they are listed in order of weight. You will want to choose a food that has meat listed as the first ingredient because this is an essential part of your dog’s diet. You should not feed a vegetarian diet to your dog unless your vet has recommended it.

You should check the grains, tubers, and vegetables next. They should not be listed first, and you need to remember that ground corn has low protein and vitamins. Corn is often used as a filler because it is inexpensive. It is not bad for your dog, but it does not supply the necessary nutrition.

How to Make the Final Decision

You need to make sure that the dog food you choose is nutritionally designed for the life stage of your dog. You should stay within the guidelines unless there is some unique reason not to. The next step is to set your budget. There are many different kinds of dog food and many different price ranges. You have to remember that this is a long-term commitment, so make sure you can afford the dog food you choose.

Regardless of your budget, you need to make sure that any food has meat as its primary ingredient. You can read the nutritional labels and make sure that your dog’s needs will be met. Research several brands online to make sure that they are best, and never be afraid to consult with your vet for advice. By paying attention to the packaging and the labels, you will know how to choose dog food.

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