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What Should You Look for in Your Dog’s Food and Treats?
Your new dog is quickly becoming your best friend, and you want to do your best to take care of them—and that includes feeding them a good quality dog food.
However, there are a lot of different choices out there—so, how do you choose which is best for your pup? When it comes to dog food, there’s no one size fits all. Your dog may have their own preference in terms of flavors, textures, and more.
Besides individual tastes, here are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to dog food.
Choose the Right Food for the Right Life Stage
In general, adult dogs need food labeled for ‘adult’ or ‘senior’, depending on their age. There are also several other factors that should be considered when selecting a recipe, such as activity level.
Senior food is often recommended for dogs seven years of age or older, but that may vary depending on your dog’s breed, activity level and overall health— so if you have any questions, contact our customer service team or your veterinarian.
Also, some giant breeds don’t finish growing until nearly two years of age—so your veterinarian may recommend they stay on puppy food longer.
You may also notice some foods are labelled for all life stages. This could be a good fit for your dog, too, as long as the correct amount of food is fed (check the bag for guidelines based on age and weight).
If possible, also look for a food formulated to your dog’s size or breed.
For example, small breed dog foods often have smaller kibbles that are easier for small and toy size pups to chew, and take into account factors like a smaller stomach and shorter digestive tract. Where as large breed dog foods take into account a larger stomach size, longer digestive tract and slower metabolic rate.
Look for Balance Over Ingredients
Individual ingredients can be very important, especially if your dog has a favorite flavor or a food sensitivity.
However, a single ingredient only tells part of the story. It’s important to look at the entire balance of the ingredients in the food as a whole.
For this purpose, it helps to look for the statement from AAFCO (The Association of American Feed Control Officials). Usually, you’ll find this statement right on the bag and it will be worded similar to this:
Fromm Family Puppy Gold Food for Dogs is formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles for gestation/lactation and growth, including growth of large size dogs (70 lb. or more as an adult).
The last part of that statement indicates the ‘life stage’ that food is designed for—in this example, it’s an appropriate food for healthy puppy growth.
Think of it as nutrition in perfect harmony—each ingredient provides its own nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. Put together, these ingredients provide exactly the right balance for your dog.
So, don’t worry about chasing trends in terms of ingredients, or in terms of a particular food style such as raw or home cooked. Those options may be right for some dogs, but there’s no one size fits all. You have many options depending on what you and your pup prefer.
Also, don’t stress about avoiding certain ingredients. Instead, focus on the ‘big picture’ and know the food is complete and balanced.
Focus On Quality
When thinking of ingredients, it’s also important to look at quality rather than quantity.
In other words, when it comes to certain nutrients—such as protein, for example—it’s possible to have too much of a good thing. If a dog food is nutritionally complete and balanced, it will have everything your dog needs—so there’s no need to look for a food based on the quantity of just one nutrient.
Remember, it’s all about balance.
So, rather than looking for more protein—think about other factors such as digestibility and sourcing (wholesome ingredients and whether they undergo USDA inspection or other testing for quality and safety).
Just like human beings like to have ice cream and cake sometimes, your dog may enjoy receiving treats!
In addition to the pleasant taste, treats can help with dog training and provide a bonding experience between you and your dog.
So, we recommend treats to be used in moderation to reinforce good behavior.
For most dogs, treats should account for less than 10% of their total daily calorie intake.
More than that, and your dog could gain weight (and being overweight can have health consequences) or have an upset stomach.
They could also miss out on important nutrients by eating lots of treats and not enough of their complete and balanced dog food.
With that in mind, here are a few guiding principles for treats:
- Break treats into small pieces, especially if you have a small dog.
- Avoid fatty, creamy, or spicy people food as much as possible.
- Avoid human foods that are toxic for dogs, such as grapes, raisins, chocolate, anything with the sweetener Xylitol, and more.
- Look for healthy options, such as a no-sodium green beans or small pieces of broccoli, or low-calorie dog treats.
- Avoid treats that could be unsafe, such as antlers (which can cause broken teeth from chewing) and cooked bones (which could be sharp inside your dog’s intestines).
- To add mental stimulation, try using a puzzle or interactive feeder—a type of feeder that requires your dog to play, lick, or use their nose to get to the treats.
Look for Results
No matter which food and treats you choose, another good indication of a food’s quality is how your dog is doing in real life.
Do they have plenty of energy? Healthy stools? A shiny coat and sparkling eyes? Are they maintaining a healthy weight?
Your veterinarian can give you further advice. But, as you get to know your new dog, your observations at home will be very important, too. Your dog will appreciate your thoughtfulness and will surely be wagging their tail each time you fill their bowl with their favorite food!
From our family to yours,
Fromm Family Pet Food