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INGREDIENTS IN PET FOOD
By-Products - (PETMD by-product) aka Also described as the 5 D's aka 5-D meat: Dead, Diseased, Dying, Decayed, and Drugged animals.
For example, chicken by-products or beef by-products: clean, and non-rendered "parts", other than meat, derived from slaughtered animals. This includes, but not limited to the lungs, spleen, kidneys, brain, blood, bone, roadkill, fatty tissue, and stomachs and intestines freed of their contents, Dead zoo and shelter animals. This is a cheap way for pet food companies to keep the protein levels high (not high quality) while keeping food production costs down.
*Preservatives - There are many ingredients including chemicals in foods. If you are unsure of something research it. Avoid foods with a copious amount of preservatives, chemicals, and unknown ingredients.
Dry or Canned Dog Foods, Raw Diet or Home Cooked - There are pros and cons with the food options above. We selectively choose our dogs' diets based on what is best for their needs (age/activity level), and not what's more convenient or the cheapest.
Dry Dog Food - Most popular choice, economical, hard dog chow helps in keeping your dogs' teeth cleaner, predictable nutrition analysis, convenient, potential recalls. This is what we feed ours and recommend.
Raw - Gaining in popularity, it's the least practical and generally quite costly, having good quality ingredients. Be aware your dog is getting a complete diet of required nutrients. This diet can be unsanitary or pose a risk to those with a weakened immune system. Potential for recalls from raw food companies. From our research, we believe raw feeding is a very good supplement however, we wouldn't advocate an absolute raw diet without first consulting a lic. veterinarian to ensure it covers all the dogs' dietary needs. Also, making sure that the diet can be maintained consistently (In regards to traveling/boarding, etc.) Just tossing the raw meat into their bowl and expecting it to cover your dogs needs nutritionally is not satisfactory. Consult your vet, research about all of the aspects of a raw diet.
Canned Dog Food - May cause a "finicky eater," less economical, convenient. It can lead to tooth decay, predictable nutrition analysis, and potential recalls.
Home Cooked - May cause your dog to "hold out" from eating their regular dog food. It is less economical and convenient, can lead to tooth decay, good quality control of ingredients. If your dog gets sick or an upset stomach, feeding plain cooked chicken and rice can be beneficial.
Educate yourself on learning to read your dog food bag, its ingredients and order listed.
Macros - "Macronutrients are what make up the caloric content of a food," The three categories of macronutrients: carbohydrates, protein, and fat. The caloric combination of the macros is where those mysterious total number of calories is from.
BASICS of DOG FOOD INGREDIENTS:
*Grain Free - Some dogs can be sensitive to a grain filled diet. Usually, it consists of cheap food fillers, corn, and grains.
*Protein Source - Ingredients are in order from the highest quantity to lowest. The first ingredients should be a quality and identifiable protein from a quality source.
*Proper protein, fat, carbs, and fiber ratios - Overall macros is important to maintain weight, condition, energy level and growth.
*Dyes - Avoid foods with heavy chemical dyes.
*Fruits and Vegetables - Certain fruits and vegetable ingredients can be beneficial. Do your research. See our BLOG on (DANGEROUS TREATS).
Read more on this subject: Dog Food Advisor
Chicken meal - Chicken meal is considered to be a meat concentrate which contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.
SIGNS FOR AWARENESS:
*Coat should be odorless with minimal shedding and shiny. A dull coat and an unusual amount of shedding can indicate signs of a deficiency in nutrition.
*Dog likes it. Some dogs just don't like certain foods (taste, size, texture, and scent).
*Dogs overall vigor and demeanor.
*Vomiting - Your dog should not vomit from new food. If they do most likely something's probably wrong. Your dog could be allergic to something in the ingredients or it may not be the food at all. Check into it with your veterinarian ASAP and have the bag ready to make them aware of the brand/ingredients from that particular dog food.
*Bowel Movements (Large stool). It is normal for soft stool while transitioning your pet slowly to a new food over a 12-14 day period. However, after 7-15 days on the new food, their stool should be firm and regular.
*Weight. Your dog should maintain a healthy weight. If they are over or underweight, things may need adjusting but the food could have inadequate macro ratios for their specific metabolism. Consult your veterinarian for professional advice.