In Spain, 386,975 tons of pellets are acquired every year. Dog Food, according to the National Association of Pet Food Manufacturers. But, Does the owner of a dog know what he buys when he chooses his sack of dry food? How to select the best food balls for the four-legged friend, and that does not go over budget? And what tricks must be taken into account to find the right croquettes for the dog? Listed below are eight important questions to investigate and learn to choose the food of the dog, and get it right.
1. What food to buy the dog? Check the price
Balls for dogs, sweets for animals and even dog biscuits. The food for animals has been strained in the shopping cart of half of the Spanish homes. According to the census of the National Association of Pet Food Manufacturers, Spaniards spent about 409,000 euros to feed the 5.5 million dogs with whom we share life.
"A signal to recognize quality canine croquettes is that proteins appear first in the list of ingredients," says veterinarian Patricia González
But what is the first advice to acquire the best food for the dog and get it right? Experts agree: price is a reference. In general, better quality feeds tend to be more expensive than worse category. And the reason is weighty: higher quality ingredients are also more expensive.
But the most expensive dog food in the section does not always have to be the best. As with other products on the shopping list, there are brands of medium or low quality that invest a lot of money in advertising and image, which makes the product more expensive. And the good news is that there are medium and high quality foods in all price ranges. But, How to recognize the best option? It will be necessary to review the protein content and know what the labels say and hide.
2. A different meal for each age of the dog
Like babies and human adults we do not feed in the same way, nor do we have identical nutritional needs, puppies and adult dogs also require a different food. "The Puppy food should be richer in nutrients and more energetic, since its energy requirements are higher, "explains Roberto Élices, veterinary expert in nutrition at the Complutense University of Madrid.
And when to change puppy food for adult dog food? "The right time is when the dog has completed its growth, something that occurs around six months in smaller dogs, but that can last until the year and even the year and a half in larger animals, such as mastiff "replies veterinarian Imanol Sagarzazu.
3. How many proteins and fats does the feed have?
One of the most useful tools for choosing the food of the most hairy friend is the package label. In the section "analytical components " you can know at a glance what is the percentage of proteins or vitamins It contains the food.
And why is it so important? Not only does it let you know the quality of canine balls, but this information is also relevant when you want to make a change of brand. If the new food contains a proportion of fat or protein much higher than that contained in the food that the dog already consumes, you will need to reduce the amount of croquettes daily. The objective? Avoid overweight of the dog, and its negative consequences for health.
4. What date does canine food have?
When you buy food for the dog, knowing the expiration date is also essential. The general rule is simple to remember: better to choose the freshest food available. This code implies looking carefully at the expiration dates of the packages before opting for one, so if the bag of feed expires in less than six months, it is better to check the bottom of the shelf for a cooler one.
5. Exotic and novel components? They are not always the best
The exotic food fever has also reached the world of animal feed. However, choose a feed containing meat from ostrich or quail, instead of more traditional ingredients such as chicken, pork or veal, it doesn't always have to be the right choice.
"Food allergies are not rare in dogs and, if the dog appears, you will need an elimination diet to detect the ingredient that causes it," explains veterinarian Nerea González. When the dog develops an allergy or intolerance to a food, it will be very useful to have a I think hypoallergenic that contains one of these sources of "exotic" proteins (such as ostrich, rabbit or quail) that are unusual, to recognize the origin of the allergy.
6. Dogs with food allergy: check the ingredients
"Although food allergies in dogs usually appear between the first and third year of life, adult dogs are not protected," says veterinarian Patricia Gonzalez. The package label is, again, the key: if the dog has an intolerance or allergy to a recognized food, the list of ingredients must be carefully reviewed. The objective is identify the problematic food and choose a product where it is not present. And watch out! This simple gesture must be repeated every time a new bag is purchased, since it is not uncommon for manufacturers to change their list of ingredients from time to time.
7. What to look for in the feed label?
"A signal to recognize good quality canine croquettes is that in the list of components the proteins appear first"Gonzalez says. The ingredients of dog food, as in human food, are ordered according to their greater or lesser presence expressed in percentages. Also, in the name that tops that list is the key. is to find a source of identified meat (chicken meat, veal, lamb, etc.), and that this is shown at the top of the ingredients.
8. Ask the veterinarian and the manufacturer of your favorite food
The veterinarian can help you choose the best food for the dog, as well as read the labels and understand what is behind each component.
The same can be done with the manufacturers of your favorite food. Do not hesitate to contact them to resolve any questions that may arise.
I think for dogs by age and breed
The best feed for dogs is simply the one that best suits the characteristics of your pet. Specifically, in relation to two:
Age: each manufacturer has its own classifications, according to the months or years. But in general, we can distinguish:
- Food for puppies: the one that they begin to take progressively after weaning. Higher energy load
- Food for adult dogs: here the guidelines to follow are rather those that we will see in the following factor: the breed
- Food for senior or older dogs: they are those that have already exceeded 7 years of age. Your energy expenditure is reduced, so you also have to reduce the caloric component of your food. In addition, it is recommended that it be rich in fiber to favor its digestions
Race: must be taken into account at any age. The differences between races are very large, not only in terms of size but also in terms of their organism. Therefore, dog food must take into account the average weight of each of them, but also other peculiarities such as the shape of his mouth for the apprehension of the croquette (especially, in brachycephalic dogs) and many other aspects.
The right balance between meals
Of course, dog food is not the only food that can be offered to your pet, but the main one. As a complement you can offer wet food (cans, tubs ...), which your hairy friend will surely like much more, since its texture and aroma is much more attractive for your palate and smell. However, it should not be abused, because this meal is much more caloric and, therefore, could lead to overweight problems if it is offered in excess. There is no perfect rule about the proportion between wet and dry food, as it will depend a lot on the life of your pet: more exercise and activity, greater caloric expenditure and, therefore, greater licenses to eat this type of tubs.
As for snacks, they should also have a secondary role in your dog's diet, as they should only be used as a reward or reinforcement method for certain behaviors.
Feed and pets with special needs
Very different is the case of dogs with special needs. In that case, the key to follow is that of your disorder or disease: food for diabetic dogs, with kidney problems, with hip dysplasia, with delicate digestions, for convalescent dogs after an operation, etc. The best brands in the market, which are present in Animalear have their own range of veterinary diet, both dry feed and wet dog food. They include or exclude certain foods depending on the disorder.
Other considerations about dog food
Finally remind you that in recent years there have emerged special natural feed, without animal by-products, which are considered by many as premium foods. You can find them on our website. And if you prefer to offer yourself a natural diet, beware: dogs cannot eat the same as people, because their body is not prepared for it. Although there is no total unanimity about it, foods such as chocolate or onion are some of the ones you should not offer your pet.