Most people don’t think much about the dog food they buy; they simply pick out the cheapest bag on the shelf or buy the brand that’s been most promoted to them. After all, dog food is dog food, right?
It’s tempting to see all bags of dog food as being mostly the same. You’re not the one tasting it or eating it, so you’re not going to experience the differences firsthand. And if your dog isn’t very particular, it might be happy to eat anything you put in its bowl.
But it’s important to think about how your dog food was made – and use that information to make better food choices for your dog.
Consumers everywhere are focusing on improving sustainability. Sustainable foods are those created with environmentally conscious practices, reducing their negative environmental impact and leading to a brighter future for all of us. Foods created sustainably may also offer higher quality, due to the level of attention and care necessary to ensure sustainability.
Some dog food brands pride themselves on sustainability. They follow best practices for environmental protection and attempt to minimize the impact of your purchase.
You can discern the quality of a food based on the ingredients that were used to formulate it. Better quality ingredients make better dog food. There are several considerations here.
For example, many dog food brands use filler to add calories without much nutritional substance. Corn, soy, wheat, and other grain ingredients aren’t necessarily good for your dog, but they represent a disproportionate amount of dog food ingredients.
Similarly, crude protein sources like beaks, hooves, and hair tend to be passed through your dog’s digestive system directly, meaning your dog is not absorbing any nutritional value from it.
On top of that, you’ll need to think about allergens that could result in damage to your dog, artificial preservatives, coloring agents, and even flavoring agents that aren’t good for your pup.
Special Dietary Needs
You may also need to think about any special dietary needs that your dog has. Some dog foods are specially formulated to treat these conditions or increase comfort in a dog with those conditions. For example, some foods are designed to reduce obesity. Some are designed for sensitive stomachs. Others are formulated for puppies, or for senior dogs. Make sure to talk to your vet about your dog’s specific health needs and shopp for food that specifically works for them.
Does Brand Matter?
You might wonder whether some brands are better than others, or if there’s a single brand that represents the best quality dog food. Unfortunately, there’s no clear answer here. Some brands do have a great reputation, while others have more questionable practices.
But within the same brand, there can be a variety of different dog food products available. Additionally, what’s appropriate for one dog may not be appropriate for another dog, so you’ll need to do your research before making a final decision.
The Effects of Better Dog Food
Why should you care about the type of dog food you get for your dog?
Better dog food can lead to a variety of different benefits, including:
· Peace of mind. Most importantly, you as a consumer are going to have greater peace of mind. You’ll know for sure that your dog is getting the best quality food you can afford and that you’re doing your best as a dog owner. If you purchase environmentally sustainable dog food, you’ll also feel good about doing your part to minimize your environmental impact.
· A happier dog. Most dogs aren’t going to complain about the food you give them, as long as they go to bed full. But it’s true that dogs that eat higher quality food tend to be healthier and happier. Feeding your dog better stuff is going to result in them being more comfortable, more energetic, and more satisfied.
· A longer lifespan. You have a special bond with your dog, so obviously you want your dog to live as long as possible. Feeding higher quality food can reduce the possibilities that your dog develops a premature health condition and ultimately support your dog’s health well into their senior years.
· Reduced veterinary costs. In line with this, feeding your dog better food can reduce your veterinary costs. If your dog is healthier and has fewer health complications, you’re ultimately going to save money.
You don’t have to buy the most expensive dog food on the shelf. You also don’t have to spend more time selecting dog food than you do selecting your own groceries. But you should take the quality of the dog food you purchase seriously and think carefully about your feeding decisions. Doing so can result in a happier dog, and therefore a happier life.