2. Make sure that the first ingredient or two listed on the label of the dog food you are buying is a form of protein such as chicken, lamb, calf, (DO NOT use meat by-products for example - chicken beaks, feet, bones, etc.). Be sure to look for foods that exclude corn, cornmeal, and wheat. These are FILLERS and potential allergens. Corn is pretty much indigestible for your pet. Grains can be a long-term source of energy and energy storage for dogs, but they can also be used as a cheap filler in order to boost the food's protein percentage. Watch out! Any grain you feed your dog should be used in whole form so that it supplies more fiber, vitamins and minerals. The best grains for dogs (when used in the proper percentages) are rolled oats, barley, quinoa, millet, and brown rice.
3.One more important factor on how to choose dog food is that often, low quality dog foods will list a meat ingredient first, which will be followed by several by-products and fillers. In this case, although meat is listed first, there are actually MORE fillers, which changes the ratio noted above.
4. A well-planned vegetarian diet can work for dogs, although dogs are carnivores by nature. Dogs need PROTEIN, but not necessarily *animal* protein. Would a dog naturally be vegetarian? No. He also wouldn't naturally eat dog cookies or live in your home with you or do tricks either. However, most veterinarians and holistic practitioners agree that although a dog can survive on a vegetarian diet, they may not thrive on it.
5. Be aware that while preservatives may be necessary to keep the food edible, preservatives do not have to be artificial chemicals that might be cancer-causing agents. Avoid pet foods that use chemical preservatives BHA, BHT and Ethoxyquin. Vitamin E & vitamin C are great preservatives that are much better for your dog.
6. Choose Premium Brand dog foods instead of Economy Brand dog foods. The cheapest ingredients are rarely the healthiest ones.
7. Go holistic. Holistic foods are 100% natural and 100% nutritious. They contain human-grade ingredients. One holistic pet food manufacturer provides an free online video warning of the dangers in most commercial dog foods you can watch here.
8. Consider this rule of thumb: If you wouldn't eat it, your dog probably shouldn't eat it either. (Think animal fat and added salt or sugar.) But there are some things you would eat (such as chocolate, grapes, raisins, white flour and onions) that are NOT good for your dog. Don't make the mistake of thinking all human food is appropriate for your canine.
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