With so many to choose from, how do you know you’re choosing a high-quality dog food that’s best for your pet? After all, our best friends definitely deserve to eat well!
To answer that we have to understand what actually makes the best quality dog food. So, we asked our pet nutritionist, Alex Camara, what her top criteria are when she’s looking for the best high-quality dog food and this is what she came back with:
Important Factors to Consider:
- Your dog’s nutritional needs
- AAFCO or FEDIAF statements and company transparency
- Quality ingredients that provide essential nutrients
- Company/ team making the food
1. Your Dog’s Nutritional Needs
The main purpose of your dog’s food is to meet his or her nutritional needs. Good nutrition means a happy and healthy dog! So, when looking for a high-quality dog food it’s important to look at what factors affect his or her nutritional requirements. This includes considerations such as their age, their life stage, activity level/ current weight and reproductive status.
If a dog is more active or a working dog, they will likely require a diet rich in calories and protein. These are vital to provide them with enough energy for their busy day! If they have a more laid back life or energy level (this includes most dogs out there!) they may require fewer calories to satisfy their needs. Similarly, a puppy is going to have different nutritional needs than an adult or senior dog. Taking the time to look at and consider these factors will help you determine the best choice for your dog.
2. AAFCO or FEDIAF Statement
Once you’ve determined what your dog needs from a food, the next thing is to look for AAFCO or FEDIAF statements. This means the food should meet the basic requirements to be complete and balanced for your pet. Additionally, it shows the manufacturer will follow certain guidelines.
Alex also mentions she likes it when a company is transparent and says if their food is tested for its quality each time a batch is produced and if they post typical nutrient analyses of their products, even better! Companies can also perform feeding trials or have third-party certified labs test for nutrients, digestibility, and palatability of their products. The brands/company’s added transparency is a major plus when looking for high-quality dog food.
3. Nutrient Rich
Many pet owners have discovered it’s important to feed our pets ingredients that serve a purpose. So, when searching for quality dog food, we can consider the ingredients and nutrients provided by them. Top-quality dog foods combine easily digestible ingredients and deliver the right balance of nutrients your furry best friend needs.
When looking at the ingredients Alex always looks for a highly digestible protein source to provide all essential amino acids, carbohydrates to provide energy and fibre, fat for energy and essential fatty acids, and of course vitamins and minerals. All of which supply essential nutrients in a balanced formula.
Last but not least, it’s important to look at who actually formulated the food. Having team members that truly understand and study the science behind pet nutrition is important. This can mean the food is made by animal nutritionists to ensure that the pet food will provide all essential nutrients to your pet.
Choosing a formula developed by animal nutritionists shows the company/brand is passionate about delivering top-quality food to you and your pet. They care about the quality of their food and understand the necessary steps to create a complete and balanced pet food where all nutrients are available in the proper quantities for your dog to thrive. They also have a wealth of knowledge and research to draw on in the formulation process and know ingredient interactions, nutrient losses that can occur in processing, impacts on shelf-life and bioavailability of nutrients.
Choosing the best quality dog food for your furry family members is twofold. First: you know your dog and the nutritional requirements that are specific to them. So, take into account things like age, life stage, activity level, current weight, and reproductive status. Considering all of these factors will help you in your search for the best high-quality dog food.
Secondly: when you have all the factors that affect your dog’s specific nutritional needs it’s important to look for factors that determine whether a dog food is of high quality. Looking for AAFCO or FEDIAF statements, transparency in quality control testing, and that the team employs an animal nutritionist are all important factors when choosing the best food for your dog.