Being a pet parent can be tough. You have to ensure your dog is eating right, getting the right amount of exercise, and staying healthy and well-groomed.
One of the best ways to keep your dog healthy and cover all of its nutritional needs is to provide it with a well-balanced diet. This is where due diligence is necessary.
Why is reading food labels important? Understanding the ingredients is the first step to ensuring your dog remains healthy and happy.
Unfortunately, it can be hard to figure out what’s in the dog food you buy—food labels and ingredient lists are notoriously hard to decipher. How can you know if your pet is getting enough protein or carbohydrates? What about vitamins and minerals?
Here are some tips on how to read a dog food label for a happy and energetic fur baby:
What The Labels Look Like
Most dog food labels follow a specific format when listing ingredients.
Under the product name, you will find information on the quantity, liquid measure, and a guaranteed analysis, which lists the included nutrients.
Brands like Wild Earth Dog Food promise the best ingredients and allow you to build meal plans with a specific set of ingredients and nutrients for your dog.
Further down, you will find the ingredients, generally listed in descending order by weight. This section is vital, especially if your dog has allergies.
Some food product labels also have statements assuring customers that the product meets specific nutrient requirements, followed by a best-by date and a caloric statement. They may also have particular feeding instructions before the manufacturer’s name and address.
Brands like Wild Earth dog food promise the best ingredients and allow you to build meal plans with a specific set of ingredients and nutrients for your dog.
All labels contain important information about your dog food, and they are all vital to read and understand.
Allow us to explain how to read dog food labels the right way.
What To Look Out For
Once you have a general idea of dog food label requirements, it’s time to start reading between the lines and taking it on a case-by-case basis. For example, some dog breeds need less protein than others. Others may have some allergies to take into account.
To understand how to read a dog food label, here are some tips to remember:
What Are the Ingredients?
Apart from protein, dogs need fats and oils in their diet. Ingredient lists with specific names of these fats and oils, such as “herring oil” or “chicken fat” are usually considered healthier.
Most dog foods also contain a certain amount of omega 3 and omega 6, as this is mandated by law. Look for high percentages of these essential fats, as they keep dogs’ coats shiny and prevent itching.
Dog labels must include a list of its key nutrients, such as protein, fat, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Finding the right balance between these nutritional levels is essential when choosing dog food.
Avoid products with fillers, like corn, wheat, and soy. Instead, purchase those with whole grains, such as barley, sweet potatoes, and peas.
Foods that contain quantities of whole fresh meats are also generally considered better than those that contain protein by-products.
What Is the Quality of Ingredients?
Determining whether a brand uses good ingredients in dog food may seem challenging. But there are some red flags to watch out for.
Fillers, such as corn, wheat, and soy, are considered to be of cheaper quality. When reading the label, look for high-quality protein sources, such as chicken or lamb, to ensure your pup gets only the best nutrition.
Understand the Nutritional Breakdown
Sure, your dog may happily lap up whatever you put in its bowl, but it’s on you to ensure that this food is also nutritious. Dog labels must include a list of its key nutrients, such as protein, fat, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Finding the right balance between these nutritional levels is essential when choosing dog food.
Most labels list ingredients in order of weight. The first few ingredients should give you a general idea of the bulk of its composition and what it’s lacking. This is an easy way to determine whether the food product provides a well-balanced diet.
Look Out For Allergens
Dog stomachs are notoriously hardy, in the sense that there isn’t much it can’t digest. However, it is very common for dogs to have some intolerances. If you know what doesn’t suit your dog’s tummy too well, it should be easy to look out for ingredients that may trigger a bad reaction.
The most common dog allergens include soy, corn, wheat, and certain types of protein.
Now that you’ve understood why it is important to read dog food labels, make sure you take the extra step when you next shop for pet food. Compare different brands and try out different variations. Follow these tips on how to read dog food labels and keep your puppy’s tail wagging!