A Brief History
While you have a plethora of options to feed your dog today, things were not the same before. In fact, if we look back in history, it was the mid-1800s when the world saw its first pet food, particularly for dogs.
Prior to being a domestic animal, dogs survived mostly on a carnivorous diet, but James Spratt, an American electrician, made the first dog foods using wheat meals, meat, and vegetables.
Nowadays, several pet food companies are producing canine foods commercially, but are these foods safe for your puppy? Probably not. That is why it is crucial to do some research before you feed your dog any of these foods.
Digging Deeper: Things to Consider Before Buying Dog Foods
If you are a new dog owner or first-time purchaser of dog food, there are certain things that you need to consider. While your puppy is fine with the homemade food you’ve been serving, things might not be the same when it comes to commercially produced foods.
The Age of Your Dog
Just like humans, your dog requires different types of foods based on his age because the nutritional needs and metabolism of your puppy change in his adulthood.
For example, puppies require more proteins and calories than adult and senior dogs. For proper nutrition, they need plenty of amino acids, fatty acids, minerals, and water.
On the other hand, after entering adulthood, they should eat less protein and calories to avoid being overweight.
There is no fixed food formula for the different stages of your dog’s life, so when you are buying dog food for your pet, make sure this one carries the required nutrition appropriate for their current stage.
Wet or Dry Food – Which One to Go For
You can also decide the right food for your dog based on its type. Not all dogs like wet food as much as they like dry food. Besides, each type has its own pros and cons.
While wet foods or canned foods are an excellent source of hydration, they can also cause dental problems such as tooth decay and bad breath.
Besides, some of the canned food products contain high levels of BPA, which may cause potential health-related issues.
Dry foods, on the other hand, help improve dental health and kill bacteria in your pet’s mouth. However, you should go for the food based on your dog’s preference and the recommendation of your vet.
Checking for Potential Allergens
You must be extremely careful while choosing the right food if your dog has an allergy, redness on the skin, or thin coat quality. Feeding your pet with the right food can trigger a strong immune response against allergies.
Besides, foods that contain harmful and artificial ingredients are prone to trigger an allergic reaction.
You can start with foods that are a good source of carbohydrates and protein for a certain period. It might help to reduce the allergens and improve the immune system of your puppy.
Considering The Feeding Schedule
Determining the proper dog food depends on how often you feed your puppy. If your dog has any digestive issues, setting the right time is quite important.
Fixing the right time for your dog’s meal also depends on their preference. Some dogs like to have their meal before walking, while others prefer it afterward.
Some veterinarians suggest feeding your dog frequently to avoid overeating at one time. While healthy dogs don’t need to follow any strict time table, sick and adult dogs must follow a time table to avoid bloating and other digestive issues.
Checking The Label Properly
Reading the food label is quite essential before buying any dog food. Not every commercially produced food is equally beneficial for your puppy. That is why it is important to learn about the ingredients it contains.
While reading the label, opt for the brand that contains fewer ingredients, and higher water intake. You should also consider better processing while buying pet food.
Considering The Expiration Date
The quality of any commercially produced food depends on the manufacturing and expiration date. The same goes for your dog’s food.
While considering the expiration date for your pet food, you need to count both the food ingredients and the packaging because the packaging of food is also responsible to determine for how long the food will remain edible.
Checking the expiration date on the label helps you to decide how fast you need to finish the food and how you can store it. Dry foods usually come with a longer shelf life than canned or wet foods.
Also, higher brands come with better packaging, meaning that those can be used for a longer time. Always consider these factors before purchasing any dog food.
The Breed of Your Dog
Not every dog requires the same diet to follow. While the food will be different based on their age, you should also consider the breed of your dog before buying any commercial food for them.
The diet plan your bull terrier follows may not be the same as your neighbor’s husky. Based on their breeds, all dogs need a different diet plan in order to stay healthy.
When purchasing dog food, make sure the ingredients it contains are suitable for your breed. Some popular brands also produce food for different breeds.
They say dogs are man’s best friends, and there is surely no doubt in that. That is why it is important that you properly take care of your little buddy.
Whether you are feeding your puppy with homemade foods or canned foods, you must know the right amount of the proteins, carbohydrates, and other nutrients required for canine health.
Most commercially produced pet food contains artificial additives and harmful ingredients that can have an adverse effect on your dog. Whatever the food contains will eventually go into your puppy. That’s why it’s crucial that you thoroughly check the label.
No matter what type of food you’re feeding your dog, always consult with a veterinarian to make sure your little friend remains healthy and happy.
Question for students (and subscribers): Do you have a favorite brand of dog food? Please let us know in the comments section below this article.
Your readership is much appreciated!
For more information, please see…
Grier, Katherine C. Pets in America: A History. The University of North Carolina Press, 2006.