When it comes to dogs, most people consider them members of the family. As such, it is important to make sure that they are getting healthy food and a balanced diet. However with recent tainted food scandals that have resulted in the deaths of hundreds of beloved pets, it is no longer easy to spot what food is good and what foods are bad. How can anyone be sure that their dog is getting the best nutrition from a safe and reliable source? Are higher end products such as Castor and Pollux’s Organix dog food worth the higher cost?
One of the first places to look when evaluating a new dog food is the ingredients label. Just because a food claims to be natural doesn’t mean it is a good food. In fact, many of the major dog foods you find in the supermarket are full of questionable ingredients.
Take a look at Purina Beneful’s “Healthy Harvest.” On the bag you are greeted with illustrations of fresh vegetables and other healthy foods. Even the name proclaims “healthy.” However if you look at the ingredients label, the first thing you see is ground yellow corn. In fact, there is almost no meat at all in this “healthy” food. Instead there is soy protein concentrate, soy meal, and animal fat. Dogs cannot digest corn well, and it is one of the primary causes of food allergies. Soy is another prime cause of allergies in dogs, and in this food is the primary source of protein.
Dogs are carnivores by nature, and need real meat in their food. A good guideline to follow is that any food you feed should have a named meat source as the primary (number one) ingredient. Stay away from foods which have grains such as corn or rice as the first ingredient. Soy is at least a protein, however still not ideal. Also beware of the vaguely named “meat and bone meal” or “animal by-products” as there is no guarantee of exactly what kind of meat is included.
Fortunately, one of the few positive outcomes of the 2007 tainted pet food scandal is the rise in availability of healthy alternatives. One such example is Organix dog food by Castor and Pollux. The number one ingredient is organic chicken, followed by chicken meal. As the name suggests, almost all of the ingredients in Organix dog food are healthy and organic. Some other reputable brands of healthy dog food include Wellness, Innova, Acana, and Taste of the Wild.
On the surface, many of these foods may seem much more expensive than their supermarket brand counterparts. However, that is not always the case. Because higher end foods are more densely packed with nutrition, less food is needed. Many people find that they are feeding half the amount of food that they did when they fed a lower quality kibble. This means a bag will last twice as long, balancing out the cost.
Pets are valued members of the family. The key to keeping a dog healthy begins with a healthy diet consisting of a good quality food. With the number of choices available, it can be tricky to find a food that can be relied on. Fortunately, by taking a close look at the ingredients label, it is possible to find a food that is not only healthy but affordable as well.