There are many brands and types of dog food on the market today. How do you decide on a brand and why does the "brand" matter? First off, there is not a "BEST" brand of dog food. Every dog is unique, what works for one may not work for another. However, there are some basic guidelines to follow when you are choosing a brand of dog food.
1. Where is your dog food made?
Dog food like many things we purchase can be made in countries other than the United States. "Made in the USA", may also be a marketing technique. Buyers must look at where the dog food is sourced (where ingredients are from) and where it is manufactured (packaged or processed).
Additional deciding factors to think about are:
- Do you trust all countries` manufacturing standards?
- Do you want to know where all ingredients are sourced or just the primary ones?
- Do you want to support a local, regional, national, or international company?
2. Grain-Free vs. Grain Inclusive
There has been a lot of debate on grain-free or grain inclusive dog foods. In 2019, the FDA began to investigate a possible link between a grain-free diet and Canine Dilated Heart Cardiomyopathy (DCM). According to the study, there has not been evidence that proves DCM is linked to a grain-free diet. You may consult your veterinarian on this topic for more information.
With this debate why would you buy grain-free food? Some dog owners choose a grain-free diet because their dogs have an allergic reaction to different types of grains.
3. Reading the Nutrition Label
The nutrition label is usually found on the back or side of the dog food bag. The nutrition label will include the ingredients in the dog food as well as a serving size for each dog. We recommend you read the ingredients and see if any are concerning. If you are not sure what an ingredient is you can google it with your phone! Some dog food companies have ingredients that have been linked to cancer or other illnesses, so it is extremely important to know what is in your dog`s food.
After you have narrowed down some options for a brand of dog food you would like to try, time to look up its recalls. You can look up recalls by using your search engine or going to www. dogfoodadvisory.com. Dog food brands can potentially have 0- 100s of recalls. Recalls can indicate an issue with packaging, ingredients, overages of minerals or vitamins, deficiencies, etc.
Some questions to ask yourself are :
- How often has this food been recalled?
- When was the last time this brand was recalled?
- Would you feel comfortable feeding a brand that had numerous recalls?
- Were those recalls voluntary or forced?
After researching dog food I encourage you to check out your local pet supply retailer for free samples. Free samples are a fantastic way to research the brand and find out if your dog likes it. Pet supply stores may also have coupons, more information, and answers to your dog food questions.