Understanding and addressing your dog’s dietary needs is one of the most important things you can do to keep your pet happy and healthy. Depending on where you live, you may have dozens if not hundreds of brands to choose from. That’s why dog owners need to know the big differences between good and bad dog food.

Balanced Nutrition

The combination of your dog’s wet and dry food should contain all of the vitamins, minerals, and biological compounds they need to survive. This includes carbohydrates, proteins, fiber, and dozens of different vitamins. Owners should ask their vet or research nutritional requirements based on their pet’s age and breed. Since nutritional requirements change significantly as your dog matures and ages, it’s also a good idea to use a formula designed for a specific life stage.

Variety of Ingredients

Unlike cats, dogs are omnivorous. Even if meat is the main ingredient in their food, it should definitely not be the only ingredient. The ideal canine diet includes a variety of vegetables, fruits, and even some starches, so good food incorporates some of these ingredients.

Artificial Compounds

One of the main reasons to choose natural pet foods is to avoid unnecessary artificial ingredients. Not all artificial compounds are dangerous, but many of them can have adverse effects on your pet’s health. Much cheaper and low-grade dog foods use artificial compounds for flavor, color, or preservation.

Common Allergens

Good dog foods minimize the risk of allergic reactions by avoiding common allergens. However, it’s impossible to make food that’s acceptable to all dogs. If your dog is sensitive to certain foods, then you may have to simply find brands that are specifically designed to avoid these ingredients.

Good Reputation

There’s no such thing as a perfect food manufacturer, but it’s still important to use a dog food brand with a good reputation. You should use brands that implement quality controls and issue prompt recalls when problems are discovered. Reputable brands are more focused on consumer confidence and satisfaction, which means less risk to your pet from problems in the manufacturing or delivery process.

The quality of your dog’s food can influence his health, mood, and energy levels. Good dog food may be more expensive than some of the low-grade brands, but a lower risk of health problems and more efficient calorie intake goes a long way toward balancing this difference. When in doubt, talk to your vet or a canine nutritionist to find the best food for your pet.

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