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An Informative Guide To Dog Food Ingredients

Trying to understand dog food ingredients can be a difficult process. There's simply no arguing the fact that the majority of dog foods on the market today come with an incredibly long list of ingredients. The safety of many of these ingredients has been questioned at some length, and you'll find countless unnecessary fillers used in the less expensive brands of dog food.

Healthy Ingredients To Look For In Dog Food

When attempting to make sense of the many ingredients listed on commercial dog food packages, look for specific items rather than generic or blanket terms. Taking this into account, bone meals and unspecified meat byproducts should not be the first ingredients in the list. Meat sources such as beef, chicken, lamb, turkey, venison and fish are the ideal choice and when listed as the first ingredient, indicate a better quality dog food.

When it comes to finding healthy sources of starches and grains for your dog, look for foods containing only whole grains like brown rice, not the commonly used brewer's rice, as well as fresh, whole vegetables and fruits instead of the processed variety.

Dog Food Ingredients To Avoid

While we know to avoid meat byproducts and such, what else should we be on the look out for when it comes to bad dog food ingredients? After all, due to the mind boggling list of often unfamiliar words and terms used on dog food labels, deciphering the list of ingredients isn't the easiest thing to do without a degree in some type of science. All fats in dog foods should come from known sources, meaning "chicken fat" or "sunflower oil", rather than the ambiguous "animal fat."

Corn and wheat, two sources of grains used in varying forms, are commonly found in commercial dog foods, as they are used as inexpensive fillers and preservatives. You will see names such as corn bran, corn cellulose, corn meal, corn gluten meal, and wheat bran or wheat flour. None of these items offer any nutritional value to your dog and aren't the easiest foods for them to digest. Straw, peanut shells, cottonseed hulls, and feathers, all fillers that often make their way into cheap dog food, are also very difficult for canines to process.

You will also want to make it a point of avoiding artificial and chemical preservatives, dyes, and colorants in the dog foods you buy, and there are plenty to be found in commercial pet foods. Watch for names such as BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole), BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene), ethoxyquin, propyl gallate, and propylene glycol, all potentially cancer causing agents. Things like corn syrup, fructose, sorbitol and sugar should also be strictly avoided.

The Ramifications Of Poor Nutrition

Poor dog nutrition can lead to a host of physical ailments, health conditions, and even a shortened life span. Puppies suffering from poor nutrition will often also suffer from an immune deficiency, leaving them susceptible to a number of problems and diseases.

Countless dogs suffer from various allergies, often unbeknownst to their puzzled owners. Corn and wheat are both notorious for causing a number of conditions including skin allergies, obesity, heart disease, hypothyroidism, ear infections, fever, kidney and liver failure, dental disease, and digestive problems.

Final Comments

Fortunately, armed with complete and accurate information, you will then be able to make the absolute best choice for your pet and their individual needs when it comes to providing the ultimate in good nutrition.

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