What Makes Dog Food Healthy?

Fresh Chicken

You're right to ask what makes dog food healthy.

Consider this - Some Commercial Dog Food Companies May Not Care About Your Dog’s Health

"Big Business" can scrape the bottom of the slaughterhouse floor and process “byproducts” into dog food.

But they’re feeding your furry family member beaks and feathers and sometimes parts of diseased animals.

The pet food scare of 2007 exposed some of this practice.

We pet lovers started reading pet food labels and wondering what was really in that stuff a lot more closely.

It once was true that all pet foods were pretty much the same.

Now there are premium and “super-premium” foods and whole aisles of good quality kibble at your local big box pet store or specialty pet store.

So, how do you choose? What should you look for in a healthy dog food?

Whole, Not Parts

I sure don't want my Eskie, Baggins, eating nasty animal byproducts and loads of chemicals and I'm sure you don't want your dog eating that junk either.

Baggins in New Hope, PA

Fresh, whole ingredients make dog food healthy.

If you're feeding traditional kibble or canned food, read the label.

Look for a protein source as the first ingredient.

Chicken, duck, salmon, beef it doesn't matter what protein you choose but make sure the label states the meat product first --you're looking for "chicken" or chicken meal not "chicken byproducts".

What's wrong with "chicken byproducts?"

As I mentioned above, it's scrap from the processing plants.

By products can contain chicken meat, beaks, feathers and all kinds of stuff including parts of diseased animals. Products with any kind of "byproducts" in them should be left on the shelf.

By products are considered unfit for human consumption. If the FDA won't approve it for you to eat, why would you feed it to a member of your family?

Vegetables and Whole Grains Make Dog Food Healthy

There are lots of dog foods available now that include brown rice, barley, peas, carrots even lesser known grains like quinoa. Vegetables and grains bring vitamins and minerals to your dog and keep him healthy.

According to the upscale grocer, Whole Foods, quinoa is a whole protein meaning it has all 9 essential amino acids to keep your dog healthy and strong. Plus, it tastes good!

Skip ingredients like BHA, BHT and ethoxoquin. These chemical preservatives have been linked to cancer. Look instead for natural preservatives like Vitamins C & E.

How to Pick a Kibble

There are literally dozens of healthy dog foods available.

But there’s not one dog food that’s perfect for every pet.

You’ll have to try different ones and see how your pet responds. If your pet likes it, has a smooth and silky coat, bright eyes and plenty of energy it must be good for her!

On the other hand, if your pet is suffering from hot spots, loss of fur, lethargy, vomiting or otherwise doesn’t seem well; stop feeding the food and try another one!

A small number of pets have

food allergies so if your pet shows the above symptoms you will want to switch to a food with different ingredients.

Keep the ingredient labels and make notes about how your pet responds to each food. It can take awhile to isolate an allergy ingredient.

Here are some dry healthy dog foods Baggins has enjoyed over the years.

He LOVES the Chicken Soup brand!

If you want to learn more about what makes a dog food healthy this monthly newsletter is my most trusted resource.

It features in depth reporting on dog health and nutrition and training. Their annual Dog Food Review is a must for knowing what makes dog food healthy.