Whether you’re adopting a new member of the family or thinking about switching your dog’s current food, choosing what to feed a dog can be overwhelming. Here are some of the most important things to look for when you’re deciding what to feed your dog.
Focus on your dog’s nutrition — not yours.
It may be tempting to choose what to feed your dog based on what sounds appealing to you, but it’s important to remember that you and your dog have different nutritional needs. For example, grain-free and gluten-free diets are extremely popular with people, but they may not be the right option for your dog.
Your dog’s food should always meet (or surpass) regulatory standards.
Every dog food needs to meet federal (FDA) regulatory standards in order to be sold, and many dog food companies elect to follow guidelines established by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). Look for a food with a statement on the label that says the food meets AAFCO’s requirements for your dog’s life stage.
Pay attention to your dog’s activity level, size, and weight.
When choosing what to feed your dog, think about how active your dog is. Very athletic or working dogs can benefit from a diet with high protein or fat, but if your dog’s only exercise is a short walk around the neighborhood, he might do better on a light or healthy weight dog food. Your dog’s breed and size can also be a factor. Large and giant breed dogs, for example, are more likely to suffer joint problems, so you may want to choose a food formulated with glucosamine, which helps support healthy cartilage.
Look for a dog food that’s complete and balanced.
Because dog food makes up the entirety of your dog’s diet, his food has to deliver all of the nutrients he needs to help keep him healthy. That’s why when you’re choosing what to feed your dog, it’s so important to look for a food that is labeled “complete and balanced.”
Consider your dog’s food preferences.
When you’re choosing between complete and balanced dog foods, you may want to take your dog’s individual preferences into account. Just like humans, every dog has different taste preferences, which is why we make dog foods in a variety of textures and flavors. That way you can find a healthy food your dog is sure to enjoy, whether he likes wet food or dry food, or whether he prefers a classic flavor like chicken or a more unique one like venison.
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