Dry food is an excellent, fast and easy option to give to dogs, but you have to be careful when choosing the right one.
We tell you what you must take into account to choose the best dry food for your pet. / Photo: Unsplash
LatinamericanPost| Juan Manuel Bacallado
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For most people, dogs are another member of the family, so they take care of them as if they were human. As for their diet, there are a variety of options to give them, from "homemade" food, wet foods and -in this case- dry foods such as croquettes. The latter is one of the easiest and fastest alternatives to give since they come ready to serve and usually provide advantages to dogs and their owners like a more solid and dry "evacuation". However, not everything can be beneficial for dogs and the nutritional contribution of their food must be taken into account, as well as its main ingredients.
First of all, you have to know what dog kibbles are generally made of. According to Ateuves, these dry foods are prepared based on meat or meat by-products, it is vital that this ingredient be among the first on the label as it means that it is the most prevalent in the product. Meat can refer to beef, poultry or other animals, while meat by-products are derived as meat meal (mixture of remains in slaughterhouses, they must be 50% protein), dehydrated meat, among other presentations, although it doesn't sound tasty, meat meal and dehydrated meat usually indicate higher protein content, since "fresh" meat includes a high amount of moisture that in the end does not provide protein.
Lo ideal, tanto para perros como para gatos, es que consuman alimentos secos de acuerdo a cada etapa de crecimiento y a cada necesidad. Nunca deben consumir alimentos crudos, puesto que estos podrían ser fuente de enfermedades parasitarias. pic.twitter.com/JSyCVKFW7m— Secretaría Distrital de Salud (@SecSaludBAQ) September 13, 2019
Cereals are also important, since they provide fiber, carbohydrates, and proteins, it is always preferable that the manufacturer indicates what type of cereals he uses, although it is usually marked in the label as cereals or cereal by-products. Fat is the third pillar of the ingredients, these come from added meats and some brands get them from fish, fat makes food more appetizing for dogs - it is important that they enjoy eating their meal. Finally, there are usually vitamins and minerals, represented by the inclusion of vegetables or mixtures of micronutrients, some brands add amino acids to benefit muscle development, Ateuves highlights that the fewer preservatives and colors the dog food has, the better it will be for them.
It may interest you: What can your dog eat?
The ingredients are known, but really how many nutrients do they actually provide? Dogs require a minimum of nutrients that is normally represented by percentages. According to the European Federation of Manufacturers of Food for Pets (FEDIAF), 100 grams of food must provide a minimum of 18% protein, although in the case of puppies of less than 14 weeks this number should reach 25%. The recommended minimum fat ranges from 5.5% to 8.5% as they get older, they need less fat. On the other hand, the portal Animal Expert states that dogs should consume a maximum of 3.5% fiber to avoid digestive problems.
A algunos #perros no les gusta el sabor o la textura de los alimentos secos. Si tu pequeñín es incapaz de comer comida seca, intenta mezclar una pequeña cantidad de comida húmeda #DibaqSense con su alimentación habitual para que sea más agradable— Dibaq Petcare (@DibaqPetcare_es) March 29, 2019
A vital aspect when choosing dry dog food is not to get carried away by the packaging , according to Wiki How review, the labels of "premium" do not have any support or standard regulation by any specialized federation, so it could be a marketing strategy, likewise croquettes labeled as "artisan" are not really beneficial for dogs.
For this reason, the Fatherly newspaper points out that it is essential that dog food has been approved by the institution in charge of each country, in the case of the United States this is the Association of American Food Control Officials (AAFCO). This evaluation ensures that the food meets the quality standards for the purity of the ingredients, Fatherly also notes that the big brands tend to be better because they invest more money in nutritional research and content quality.
What the vet says
In the end, the review and advice of a veterinary doctor is always essential, since good dog food is not necessarily beneficial for certain dogs, as some canines may have special needs due to the level of physical activity they perform, pathologies that present as kidney and intestinal problems, among others, as well as the age, size or condition of each dog, which is why foods with specific ingredients or percentages of nutrients could be prescribed according to El Comercio.