Culturally, we have seen and are still experiencing a drastic shift in the food we consume. Processed foods are being replaced by fresh, local, organic and holistic alternatives. We are willing to pay a little more for pesticide-free, grass fed and free-range fruits, veggies and meats. High-end grocery stores and farmers markets are doing better than ever thanks to a new found love for getting “back to basics”.
But how do you know what foods uphold the standards you require? Walking down the aisles at the grocery store we are saturated with a plethora of health proclamations all stating the product is “natural”, “organic” or “gluten free.” Dog food packages are no different. So how do you start?
You start much the same way you do when buying for yourself, by reading the ingredients label. The first five ingredients are the most important since ingredients are listed in order of quantity. So checking the first five ingredients will give you a quick look at the quality and type of food your dog is consuming. Lets look at two ingredients lists:
1. Ground yellow corn, chicken by-product meal, corn gluten meal, whole wheat flour, animal fat preserved with mixed-tocopherols (form of Vitamin E)
2. Trout, white fish meal, whole ground millet, potatoes, oat flour
Option one shows the first and most potent ingredient is ground yellow corn followed by chicken by-product, whereas option two shows us trout is followed by white fish meal. I know if I had to eat one of these I would be choosing option two, along with many of you.
The first list is from Beneful and the second is Flint River Ranch. Almost every pet owner knows about Beneful, but how many know about Flint River (who has never had a recall)? My guess is probably not many because Flint River does not have ads on television or eye level placement on store shelves. Advertising and placement do not enhance the quality of food!Several other factors go into eliminating pet foods that are not suitable for consumption and lucky for me, and you, I found a website that did exactly that. Reviews.com has done many, many reviews on various items, and most recently…dog food!
The researchers go through each step detailing their process and talking through each decision they made and why. At the end you have a beautiful listing of the 125 best dog foods, narrowed down from the overly saturated market of 2,223.
This is one fantastic resource that will hopefully get you thinking about what you’re putting in your dog’s body the same way you think about what you’re putting in your own body.