As a good pet parent, you want the best for your dog. The best bed, the best toys, the best collar and leash, and you especially want to make sure you choose the best dog food.
With so many options on the pet market, it can be overwhelming to decide what’s best for your pup. After all, dogs have unique needs and there is no one-size-fits-all dog food for everyone. Providing healthy nutrition for your dog is one of the most important responsibilities you have, so ACANA’s come up with 5 tips to help you choose the right food for your dog.
- Talk to your trusted veterinarian or connect with a veterinary nutritionist.
Your veterinarian knows your dog’s medical history and his or her current health concerns and will be able to provide a trusted vet recommended dog food based on the individual needs of your dog. For exceptional cases where your dog has very specific dietary needs due to underlying health conditions, find a qualified veterinary nutritionist. A pet nutritionist will take into consideration your dog’s medical history and life stage to personalize a meal plan that best fulfills the needs of your dog’s diet.
- Read the ingredients panel on your dog’s food.
Pet food is primarily composed of the ingredients listed nearest the top of the ingredients panel. That’s why the first ingredients listed in your pet’s food should be easily identifiable, with meat, poultry or fish always being the primary ingredient in your dog’s food recipe. ACANA® pet foods Go Beyond the 1st Ingredient™, and premium animal protein always makes up the first two ingredients in every one of our pet food recipes.
- Make sure your pet’s food comes with a nutritional guarantee.
Quality pet food will always include a nutritional adequacy statement, which confirms whether your dog’s food meets all 37 daily nutritional requirements for dogs according to the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) profile for dogs. Check your dog’s food for phrases such as “formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profile”. This will guarantee that your dog’s food meets all nutritional requirements set by the AAFCO, which is the gold standard for dog food makers in the US.
- Confirm that the contact information for your pet’s food manufacturer is easily available.
If you, your veterinarian or your animal nutritionist have questions about whether a specific recipe is the best dog food for your pet, contacting the pet food manufacturer for more information should be an easily available option. Information such as an address, phone number, website, and e-mail address should be clearly marked on the packaging of your pet’s food. The manufacturer should be able to provide you with information on the experience, knowledge and quality control within the company, which are important factors to assure your dog’s food is nutritious and safe.
- Be wary of popular pet food buzzwords.
Popular pet food buzzwords, such as “human-grade,” “organic,” and “artisanal” are common marketing terms used to persuade owners to buy the product. However, what’s most important for the health of your beloved pet is to pay close attention to the actual ingredients listed in your dog’s food label, the nutritional panel—also known as the “guaranteed analysis”—and the manufacturer’s track record.
All said and done, choosing the best food for your dog is a deeply personal decision. By working with your dog’s veterinarian or pet nutritionist, paying attention to your dog’s food ingredient panel and nutritional guarantee, and researching the background on different pet food manufacturers and drowning out popular pet food buzzwords, you can be confident you’re choosing a nutritious, high-quality dog food for a full and happy life.