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Choosing the right dog food is so important to support your dog’s health. With so many choices these days, it can be a bit overwhelming to sort out the best USA made dog food that will support your pup’s unique needs. This article and our one on quality and safety in dog food manufacturing are for first-time dog owners, experienced dog owners, and everyone in between. Please read on to learn how to make the best choice for your dog.
Here we are going to try to make clear the whole process of understanding dog nutrition. Which, among other things, means decoding nutritional labels, making sense of quality and safety standards in the manufacturing process, and the top picks for your dog.
Remember: Real meat should always be listed first on ingredient labels!
Understanding your dog’s nutritional needs is the first step in finding the right dog food. Dogs need a balanced diet that has good protein sources, complex carbs, healthy fats, and a complete complement of necessary vitamins and minerals.
Decoding dog food nutrition labels can be tricky to say the least, but it’s really important that you understand the labels. You should look at which ingredients are listed and the order they are listed in. The most prevalent ingredients are always listed first. And, all dog food packaging should have a proper ingredient list with an accurate and legal nutritional breakdown.
Real meats should always be listed first! If processed meat meal or some other ingredient is listed first then don’t buy that product and move on to a better dog food brand. This goes for all dog foods, not just kibbles. Quality and safety standards in dog food manufacturing are also very important so that the food is free from any toxic or otherwise harmful contaminants.
You can now decipher dog food nutritional labelling. Plus, you have a basic knowledge of the quality and safety standards required in dog food production and labelling. So now let’s dive into the best USA made dog food brands.
We have compiled a list of what we think are the best dog food brands for your dog’s everyday needs. If your pooch needs a specialized diet, then we suggest you seek the advice of your vet. If no special diet is needed, then from grain-free to organic and from dry to wet food, we have got you covered. Read on to learn more.
Key Takeaways For You….
- Understanding dog nutrition is important to buying the right dog food for your dog.
- Being an informed consumer by understanding dog food labels and knowing the quality and safety standards used by quality dog food manufacturers is really important.
- Top U.S. made dog food brands offer a variety of choices to fit your dog’s needs.
Understanding Dog Nutrition
As a responsible dog owner, you’ll want to provide your pooch with the best possible nutrition. Understanding the basics of dog nutrition can help you be an informed consumer, making informed decisions about what you feed your pet.
Dogs need to have a complete balanced diet that includes protein, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. These nutrients will support your dog’s overall health and well-being.
Here’s a brief breakdown of each nutrient and its importance:
- Protein: Essential building blocks and repair nutrients for all the tissues in your dog’s body. Including the healthy support of all the body’s systems including the dog’s skin and hair coat.
- Fats: Fats provide a ready source of energy and enable fat-soluble vitamins so they can be taken up and utilized by the dog. Fats also play a very important role in maintaining your dog’s healthy skin and coat.
- Carbohydrates: Carbs are a vital source of energy and fibre. They can come from many sources like grains, vegetables, and fruits.
- Vitamins: Vitamins are key for a variety of bodily functions, including immune system function, brain health, blood vessel health, muscle and bone growth, and wound healing.
- Minerals: Minerals are necessary for healthy bones, teeth, and overall bodily function. Some common minerals that dogs need include calcium, phosphorus, and potassium. Minerals are generally lumped into two major classes — macro and micro (a.k.a., trace minerals). Calcium, Phosphorus, and Iron are examples of macros, whereas Selenium, Cobalt, and Molybdenum are examples of micros.
In addition to the above basic nutrients, some other important constituents of dog nutrition include:
- Probiotics: Probiotics are beneficial microbes that can help support digestive health in dogs.
- Prebiotic fibre: Prebiotic fibre can help support the growth of beneficial bacteria in your dog’s gut.
- Fatty acids: Fatty acids, think omega-3, are important for maintaining healthy skin and coat, as well as supporting the circulatory system, nervous and brain system, and eye health.
When shopping for the best USA made dog food, look for products like Merrick Grain-Free that provide a balanced blend of these nutrients. It’s also important to choose a food that is appropriate for your dog’s life stage and activity level. Always ask your veterinarian if you have any questions or concerns about your dog’s nutrition.
Decoding Dog Food Labels to Find the Best USA Made Dog Food
When it comes to choosing the right dog food, reading and understanding the label is crucial. However, the technical jargon and complex terms can be really confusing.
Here’s what you need to know to make a good decision about what to feed your dog.
Understanding the Label
The label on a bag, re-sealable pouch, or can of dog food lists all the pertinent information about the product. It includes the brand name, product name, weight, ingredients, and nutritional information. The labelling also shows whether the food meets the nutritional requirements established by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). If the label doesn’t have that designation and the nutritional information, then buy a different dog food.
Dog food that is “complete and balanced” meets the minimum nutritional requirements established by the AAFCO. Look for this statement on the label to ensure that the food provides your dog with all the proper nutrients that he or she needs, including protein, fat, fibre, minerals, and vitamins.
The ingredients listed on the label should all be of high-quality and provide your dog with all the necessary digestible nutrients. Look for whole food ingredients such as meat, vegetables, and fruits and avoid all dog foods that contain useless fillers, artificial flavours, and preservatives.
Grain-free dog foods have become very popular lately. However, it’s important to note that grains such as corn, soy, and wheat are not necessarily bad for dogs. After all, dogs can partially digest most grains, and these grains can provide some essential nutrients. Unbleached rice is often used and it’s a good choice, but if you prefer to feed your dog a totally grain-free diet, then it should contain other non-grain sources of carbohydrates (No Simple Sugars, Syrups, or Honey!) and wholesome fibre.
Non-GMO dog food is made with ingredients that have not been genetically modified. While there is currently no scientific evidence that GMOs are harmful to dogs, some folks prefer to avoid them for their pets and for themselves.
By-product dog food ingredients are the parts of an animal that are not typically consumed by humans, such as meat and bone meal, certain skin and organ meat, and bones. Even though some by-products can be a valuable source of nutrition for dogs, many owners prefer not to feed them to their dogs.
Artificial Flavours and Preservatives
Artificial flavours and preservatives are sometimes added to dog food to enhance the taste and extend the shelf life. However, some of these additives are known to be harmful to dogs. Buy only dog foods that are free from artificial flavors and preservatives.
Some dog foods contain added sugar, which often leads to dog obesity, heart issues, and other health problems. Buy dog foods that are free from added sugars.
Best USA Made Dog Food
Understanding the label on a bag or can of dog food is essential for you to provide your pooch with a healthy and balanced diet. Always buy dog foods that meet the nutritional requirements listed by the AAFCO, contain high-quality ingredients, and are free from fillers, artificial flavours, and preservatives.
Thanks for visiting Pet Hooligans today! Be sure to check out part two of this post where we list our choices for the top dog food brands for all stages of your dog’s life and much more.