Finding a healthy dog food shouldn’t be a difficult proposition. After all, nearly all dog food brands and products sold in the United States are certified by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) as meeting the nutritional requirements of puppies or of dogs of all ages. The AAFCO isn’t a federal agency itself, but it is a way for regulators to work together and standardize the nutrition guidelines for dog food, cat food, and livestock feed.
So by following the AAFCO’s guidelines and getting their stamp of approval, every dog food can claim to be the healthiest dog food around, right? Unfortunately, the AAFCO only sets minimum standards, and many dog foods sold today are more harmful than you may realize.
The Canine Digestion
The first thing to understand about dogs is that they’re what’s known as facultative carnivores, which means they can digest nutrients from plants but they’re far better at digesting meat. This is different from an obligate carnivore who can only survive on meat, such as a cat.
You can see that dogs are predators from their digestive system. It starts with the sharp teeth that extend from the front to the back, and it ends with a small gastro-intestinal system which doesn’t have enough time to break down many plant proteins and carbohydrates but which also doesn’t give salmonella and other bacteria enough time to take hold.
However, many dog foods contain more plant than animal ingredients because plants are cheaper and they offer the carbohydrates needed to give kibble the right consistency. The current AAFCO guidelines don’t distinguish where nutrients come from, and so products that claim to be the healthiest dog food may be anything but.
Get Some Insider Knowledge
At Dog Food Insider, you can find reviews for all the dog foods out there, from the mainstream to the obscure, so you’ll be able to find out which ones are truly the healthiest dog food and which ones aren’t. Our reviewers take a long, hard look at the ingredients lists and break down where the calories and the nutrients are coming from and what you need to know. They also point out which preservatives and other additives have been linked to cancer and other illnesses, along with which ones are only the subject of internet rumors.
Our reviews also go beyond the ingredients and discuss the company behind the dog food, where their headquarters are, and where the production factories are located. We look into each company’s history with recalls and other problems, and we investigate the claims they make on the packaging and in their ads. After all, even a good company which puts out great products will sometimes make claims that aren’t strictly true or aren’t actually important.
Expand Your Understanding
Dog Food Insider also has articles about dog nutrition, diet plans, and training methods. After all, the healthiest dog food doesn’t necessarily come from a factory, and many dog owners choose to feed their pets fresh foods and table scraps instead.
That’s why we have articles with tips on how best to keep your dog healthy and warnings about the dangers that come with certain foods and diet plans. For instance, while the danger of chocolate is fairly well known, fewer realize that onions and garlic can be just as deadly. We also offer tips on what to do when your dog doesn’t want to eat or starts getting too possessive about their food.
Another thing that’s important to understand about dogs is that they can have the same sorts of food allergies as humans. Grain allergies are particularly common, since dogs aren’t designed to eat grains, and so many dog foods are specifically grain-free. Other articles deal with things like age-specific dog foods, such as what makes puppy food different and why dog food formulated for older pets might not be the good idea it sounds like.
Dog Food Insider is a place where you can find out which dog food is the healthiest dog food and much more. Whether you want to find out how dog nutrition works, whether kibble or canned food is best, or how to make your own dog food from scratch, you can find it here.