small dog eating from a bowl

Quality and Safety in Dog Food Manufacturing is Key

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Choosing the best dog food you can budget for your dog is never easy.  Price changes, brand availability changes, quality and safety of ingredients even changes. There’s no doubt about it — it can be frustrating — it can be maddening.  This post is a follow-up to our previous Pet Hooligans dog article, “Best USA Made Dog Food”. And, along with other useful information, it’s about the Quality and Safety in Dog Food Manufacturing.

Naturally, you want to know that the dog food you’re feeding is not only affordable, but that it is also tasty, safe, and nutritious. The quality and safety of dog food are critical factors to ponder before you ever buy. Brand loyalty is great and it takes years to develop, but it can be destroyed in minutes — bad news travels at light speed on the information superhighway!

Thankfully in the U.S., dog food manufacturing is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and its subsidiary, the Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM). The FDA sets standards for pet food labelling, ingredient safety, and manufacturing practices. The agency also has the power to recall pet food products that are found to be unsafe for consumption. These regulations help ensure that the dog food you purchase is safe and meets the minimum nutritional requirements for your special dog.

Manufacturers of dog food in the U.S. must follow strict quality control procedures so that their products are safe and high quality. They must also be in compliance with the FDA’s regulations and guidelines for pet food manufacturing. Random inspections of pet food manufacturing plants help make sure that manufacturers are following these guidelines and not just chasing the bottom line.

If a U.S. manufactured dog food is found to be unsafe for any reason or does not meet the FDA’s regulations, the manufacturer will be notified and may issue a recall. A recall is a manufacturer’s voluntary removal of the product from the market. The FDA also has the legal power to order a recall if it declares the product is unsafe. In that case, the manufacturer must comply or face legal action and angry consumers.

Some dog food manufacturers go the extra mile by having their own quality and safety standards. For example, Hill’s Pet Nutrition has a team of more than 220 veterinarians, food scientists, technicians, and PhD nutritionists who develop all of Hill’s pet foods to meet the needs of pets.

The takeaway of this post is that the quality and safety of dog food is highly important. As a caring pet owner, you should carefully weigh all dog food factors when trying to do the best for your pooch. The FDA regulates pet food manufacturing in the USA, and manufacturers must comply with strict quality control procedures. This ensures that dog food products are safe and of high quality. Remember, if a product is found to be unsafe, then either the manufacturer may issue a voluntary recall or the FDA may mandate a recall.

Top Dog Food Brands 

When it comes to finding the best dog food for your canine buddy, it’s important to choose a brand that you are comfortable with and trust. Fortunately, there are loads of good dog food brands made in the USA. Unfortunately, space limitations don’t allow all the good dog food brands made in the USA to be listed here, but….

….Here are four of the top dog food brands that you should consider:

Blue Buffalo Life Protection

Blue Buffalo is a popular brand that offers a wide range of pet food products. Their Life Protection line is made with high-quality protein sources like chicken and fish, and includes whole grains, vegetables, and fruit. They also offer special prescription selections for dogs with dietary restrictions.

Purina Pro Plan

Purina Pro Plan is a favourite choice among dog breeders, trainers, and owners for good reason. Their products are made with real meat as the first ingredient, and they offer a variety of formulas to meet the specific needs of different dogs. They also have several speciality diets for dogs with health issues.

Taste of the Wild

Taste of the Wild is an exciting recipe brand offering grain-free and ancient grain dog foods that are made with real roasted meat, fish, and vegetables. Their formulas are designed to mimic the natural diet of dogs in the wild, and they offer a variety of flavours to keep your dog happily satisfied.

Ollie

Ollie is a newer dog food and dog treats brand that’s gaining popularity for its fresh, human-grade dog food and treats. Their products are made with high-quality ingredients like grass-fed beef and cage-free chicken, and they’re delivered right to your door. They also offer personalized meal plans based on your dog’s unique needs.

Remember, when choosing any dog food brand, it’s important to think about things such as your dog’s likes, his or her age and weight, its breed, and its dietary restrictions. By choosing a reputable brand that’s made in the USA, you can feel confident that you’re providing your dog with a high-quality, nutritious diet.

Types of Dog Food

Dry Dog Food

Dry dog food, a.k.a. kibble is one of the most popular types of dog food. It is convenient, easy to store, and has a long shelf life. Kibble is also less expensive on a dry matter basis than other types of dog food. Most dry dog food is made by extrusion, a high pressure-high temperature cooking process that shapes the processed dog food into bite-sized kibble.

Wet Dog Food

Wet dog food (canned dog food) is another popular option. It is made with a much higher moisture content than kibble, which can help keep your dog hydrated. Wet dog food is usually easier to swallow than dry dog food, making it a good option for fussy eaters and recovering sick or injured dogs.

Semi-Moist Dog Food

This type of dog food is sort of in between dry and wet type foods with a moisture usually in the range of 30%-38%.  It is usually categorized as a dry dog food even though it has substantial moisture. This dog food is typically sold in resealable pouches that need refrigeration after opening because of the higher moisture level.

Freeze-Dried Dog Food

Freeze-dried dog food is a type of dog food usually made by removing the moisture from raw or cooked food. This process helps to preserve the nutrients in the food. Freeze-dried dog food is also convenient, easy to store, and has a long shelf life.

Human Grade Dog Food

Human-grade dog food uses high-quality ingredients that are fit for human consumption. This type of dog food is often more expensive but it gives your dog a high-quality, nutritious diet.

Treats

Dog treats are a great way to reward your dog for good behaviour or to provide a tasty snack. However, because most dogs are prone to getting too fat, it is important to only buy treats that are real meat-based, generally healthy which means low in fats, low in calories, and have no simple sugars, flavour enhancers, or other unwanted additives of any kind.

cocker spaniel eating from a bowl

The Right Food 

Choosing the right food for your dog is a big part of their overall health and well-being. Different life stages require different nutritional requirements.  So, it’s important to feed the right kind of dog food for your pooch’s age, breed, size, and activity level.

Puppies

Puppies have different nutritional needs than adult dogs. They require more protein and fat to support their growth and development. Look for puppy food that has high-quality protein sources like chicken, beef, or fish, and is rich in essential vitamins and minerals.

Small Dogs

Small dogs have faster metabolisms and higher energy requirements than larger dogs. Look for small-breed dog food that is specifically formulated to meet their nutritional needs. These foods are usually higher in calories and protein and contain smaller kibble sizes that are easier for small dogs to eat.

Specific Health Issues

If your dog has non-allergy health issues like diabetes, kidney disease, or obesity, it’s important to choose a food that is tailored by a vet to the dog’s specific needs. Perhaps your dog needs a food that is low in carbohydrates and fat yet high in protein. Maybe your dog has a disorder that requires lower dietary protein. Whatever the case may be, always consult with your veterinarian to determine the best nutritional profile for your dog’s specific health or recovery needs.

Allergies

If your dog suffers from known allergies, it’s important to buy a food that is non-allergenic that will not trigger a reaction. Some common allergens that afflict dogs include beef, chicken, dairy, soy, peanuts, and wheat. Look for dog food that is free from common allergens and is made with alternative protein sources like lamb, duck, fish, buffalo, or venison.

Sensitive Gut

If your dog has a sensitive digestive system, it’s important to select a food that is easy to digest and gentle on their gut. Look for dog food that is made with high-quality, easily digestible protein sources like chicken or fish.  Make sure that the dog food is also free from added simple sugars, flavour enhancers, artificial preservatives, colours, and flavours.

Special Ingredients in Dog Food

When it comes to feeding your dog correctly, it’s important to always buy dog food that contains high-quality ingredients. 

Here are several special ingredients that can be beneficial to your dog:

Human Grade Ingredients

Dog foods that are made with human-grade ingredients are typically of higher quality than brands that don’t use these ingredients. These kinds of dog foods also contain fewer fillers and by-products than lower-cost formulations. Human-grade ingredients are also more digestible and can provide more nutrition to your dog. If it’s not a budget-breaker then look for dog food brands that use human-grade ingredients in their recipes.

Antioxidants

Antioxidants are necessary for your dog’s overall health and well-being. They help to prevent cell structure damage and can reduce the risk of certain chronic diseases. Look for dog foods that contain approved levels of antioxidants such as vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta-carotene.

Sweet Potato

Sweet potato (yams) is a viable source of fibre, vitamins, and minerals for all dogs. It’s also low in fat and easy to digest. Look for dog foods that contain sweet potato as a primary ingredient.  Unsweetened pumpkin is also good for dogs for the same reasons.

Real Meat

Dogs are carnivores and need a diet that is high in protein. Always shop for dog foods that list real meat as the first ingredient. This will ensure that your dog is getting the protein they need to maintain muscle mass and overall health.

Zinc

Zinc is an essential mineral that is important for your dog’s immune system, skin, and coat health. Look for dog foods that contain added zinc in their recipes.

Vitamin A and E

Vitamin A and E are essential vitamins that are critical for your dog’s overall health. Vitamin A helps to support vision and immune function, while vitamin E is an antioxidant that helps to protect cellular integrity from damage. Buy U.S. made dog foods that contain these supplemental vitamins in their recipes.

In Conclusion

Feeding the right food for your dog’s life stage is essential for their overall health and well-being. Consider your dog’s age, size, activity level, and any specific health needs or issues when shopping for dog food. And always consult with your veterinarian if you have any questions or concerns about your dog’s nutritional needs.

Thanks for visiting Pet Hooligans today.  We hope you’ve benefited from this two-part dog food post as well as our many other pet articles.  

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