How to choose a high-quality food
The statement “you are what you eat” holds a lot of truth. After all, nutrition provides the building blocks for the body and all of its processes. But knowing the importance of good nutrition doesn’t mean that picking the best food for your dog is always so straightforward.
Here are some guidelines to choose a high-quality food that will help your dog live a healthier and longer life.
- Partner with your veterinarian: Your veterinarian has examined your dog thoroughly and has a good understanding of your dog’s body condition, breed and age predispositions and medical conditions. Combined with your knowledge of your dog’s lifestyle, habits and energy level, this information will help your veterinarian identify an ideal food for your dog.
- One size doesn’t fit all: Although some foods will be marked “for all life stages,” the needs of a puppy are very different from those of an adult dog, let alone a senior or a dog who is nursing puppies. It is best to tailor food to the specific life stage of your dog.
- Read the label: Dog food should always state whether it is “complete and balanced” or whether it is meant for “intermittent or supplemental use only.” Additionally, be sure to check for a statement that the food has met the requirements of the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). If this statement is missing, then there is no guarantee that the food meets regulatory requirements for levels of specific nutrients.
- Monitor outcomes: Every so often, take a moment to evaluate your dog’s weight, appetite, bowel movements and general health to decide if your dog is doing well on their food. If you have concerns, consult your veterinarian to find out if simply tweaking the amount of food your dog eats is sufficient or whether a change in diet is in order.
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