|Choosing the right food for your dog
Proper nutrition is as important to your dog's health as it is to your own. But his nutritional needs are quite different from yours! While a human diet should be high-in fibre and low in fat, a dog needs more fat-for energy and a thick, luxurious coat-and less fibre-for good intestinal health. Dogs are best fed as carnivores, because they have simple stomachs and short intestines that are ideal for digesting animal protein and animal fat. Dogs also need carbohydrates for energy and fibre for good digestion.
Life Stage and Lifestyle
Having to pick up among thousands of different pet foods that are available in the market, how will you chose the proper one for your dog?
Start by identifying the dog's life stage and lifestyle. Puppies, nursing mothers and senior pets are examples of life stages. And each life stage has different nutritional requirements. All dog foods must state which life stage they are recommended for.
Nutritional needs also vary depending on lifestyle. A dog whose primary activity is guarding the couch doesn't need as much energy as one who guards a herd of sheep. Another factor to consider is breed size: small, medium, large or giant.
Finally, it is important to take into account any special medical condition your dog may have, like food allergies, that requires a special diet recommended by your veterinarian.
Dry or Canned?
Once you've determined your dog's life stage and lifestyle needs, you need to decide whether to feed dry or canned food. Most dogs thrive eating only dry food. Dry foods promote oral hygiene for healthy teeth and gums through abrasive action.
It's important to remember that while dry food can be left in a bowl all day, canned food should be thrown away after 30 minutes if not consumed. Therefore, dry food is the most convenient choice for busy people.
Once you know your pet's nutritional needs you are ready to go shopping
Ingredients are listed in descending order, according to weight. Because dogs need meat, it's best to pick a food in which the first ingredient is an animal-based protein source, such as chicken, chicken meal, lamb, lamb meal, fish, fish meal or egg. These ingredients contain a full complement of essential amino acids unlike vegetable-based protein sources, such as soya bean meal or maize gluten meal.
Scientific studies show that using a combination of carbohydrates in the diet, such as maize or barley and sorghum, offers optimal carbohydrate digestibility and helps maintain energy levels.
Scientific studies also show that beet pulp-the material remaining after sugar is extracted from sugar beets-is an excellent fibre source and helps promote a healthy digestive tract.
For a glossy coat and healthy skin, your pet needs fatty acids in the diet. Good sources include animal fat, fish meal and linseed.
Dog food labels provide limited information regarding the nutritional value of the food because labeling regulations do not allow manufacturers to describe the quality of ingredients on the package.
A reputable pet food manufacturer will be able to explain to you their specific methods for evaluating and assuring the quality of ingredients used in their products.
When choosing food, the price on the bag, while important, is usually not the best indications. Low price may indicate inexpensive ingredients, or ingredients that change as market prices fluctuate.
In addition, many lower-priced products have higher daily portions to provide the same amount of nutrition found in a high-quality diet. To get a better representation of cost, it is the cost per feeding, not the total cost, that counts.
To calculate the actual cost of feeding Eukanuba, divide the cost of the bag by the number of days the product lasts. For example, a 15kg bag of Eukanuba Maintenance costs £35.00 and lasts a 20kg dog (e.g. a Collie) about 83 days. The cost to feed, per day, is therefore £35.00 divided by 83, which works out at only 42p a day.
* Contained in every adult & senior dry formula of Eukanuba. The Eukanuba Dental Care System helps reduce tartar build-up. It's made with a combination of minerals to help prevent tartar-forming materials from depositing on teeth