The quality of the food you provide for your dog will have a direct impact on his total health and wellness. High-quality dog foods are made with fresh, natural ingredients and prepared in such a way that the nutritional integrity of the ingredients is preserved. A healthy diet will set your dog up for a long, healthy life by providing him with the nutrition he needs in the proper balance, ensuring that this body has the energy and nutrients needed to sustain essential bodily functions.
What Goes Into a 5-Star Dog Food Brand?
Many dog owners assume that you can tell a high-quality brand of dog food from a low-quality brand simply by glancing at the packaging. While it is true that the information you need to determine the quality of a product is in fact on the label, you won’t find it in the pretty pictures and wordy descriptions of the product – you’ll find it in the small print. The best way to determine the quality of a commercial pet food product is to review the ingredients list as well as the guaranteed analysis. The guaranteed analysis tells you how much protein, fat, and fiber is in the recipe while the ingredients list shows you a breakdown of all of the ingredients that were used to make the product.
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When reviewing the guaranteed analysis for a commercial dog food product you want to make sure that the product delivers more than the bare minimum – that is a sign of a 5-star dog food. The Merck Veterinary Manual suggests a minimum protein content of 18% for adult dogs and 22% for puppies with a minimum fat content of 5% for adults and 8% for puppies. A 5-star dog food will go above and beyond these minimums, offering protein content up to 34% in some cases with 18% or even 20% fat. These products will also show a low crude fiber content (no more than 5%) to ensure that your dog gets enough fiber to regulate his digestion but not so much fiber that it causes digestive issues.
In addition to going above and beyond the minimum nutritional requirements for dogs, a 5-star dog food will exhibit a few key things in the ingredients list. First of all, a high-quality dog food will not have an ingredients list a mile long – products that include a lot of artificial additives (like colors, flavors, and preservatives) tend to have very long ingredients lists. A 5-star dog food, on the other hand, will have a shorter list filled with quality ingredients. It is also important to note that the majority of the ingredients included in a 5-star dog food come from animal-based sources. Because dogs are carnivores, their bodies are better adapted to digesting animal products than plant products. Some plant products are okay because they provide fiber and other nutrients, but they should not be the focus of the recipe.
A 5-star dog food will list at least one high-quality source of animal protein at the top of the list – some kind of meat, poultry, or fish. Do not be thrown off if you see the word “meal” here, either. A meat meal is simply fresh meat that has been cooked to remove moisture and this process actually results in a highly concentrated form of animal protein. The more animal-based protein sources included, the better, and you also want to see quality sources of animal fat like chicken fat or salmon oil. Plant oils can be used as supplementary fats to help balance the omega oil ratio in the product but animal fats are more biologically valuable for dogs.
Not only do 5-star dog foods contain certain ingredients as an indication of quality, but there are also certain ingredients that these products do NOT contain. For one thing, a 5-star dog food will not list anything other than a quality source of animal protein as the first ingredient and any carbohydrates included in the recipe will be highly digestible for dogs. No 5-star dog food will contain any artificial additives including flavors, colors, and preservatives plus they will be free from low-quality fillers like corn, wheat, and soy ingredients. Synthetic supplements are not bad, but natural sources for key nutrients (like fresh fruits, vegetables, and botanicals) are more biologically valuable for your dog. Many 5-star dog foods include chelated minerals – minerals that have been chemically bound to protein molecules which makes them easier to absorb – and dried fermentation products which act as probiotics to regulate your dog’s digestion.
Top Recommended Brands of 5-Star Dog Food
If you are serious about making sure that your dog receives the highest quality diet available, you should be sure to choose a 5-star dog food. There are a wide variety of pet food brands out there, but they are not all created equal. Fortunately, finding a wholesome and nutritious diet for your dog is as simple as picking a product from the following list of 5-star dog food brands:
- Acana Dog Food Review – made by Champion Petfoods
- Bravo – Family Owned
- Castor and Pollux Dog Food Review – made by Merrick Pet Care company
- Evangers Dog Food Review – made by Evanger’s Dog & Cat Food Company
- Go! Dog Food Review – made by Petcurean Pet Nutrition company
- Halo Dog Food Review – made by Halo, Purely for Pets Company
- Honest Kitchen Dog Food Review – made by The Honest Kitchen brand
- I and Love and You Dog Food Review – made by The I and Love and You pet food Company
- Lotus Dog Food Review – Family Owned
- Merrick Dog Food Review – made by Nestle Purina PetCare company
- Natures Variety Dog Food Review – Privately Held Company
- Orijen Dog Food Review – made by Champion PetFoods
- Solid Gold Dog Food Review – Private Label Company
- Timberwolf Dog Food Review – private and independently owned
- Wellness Dog Food Review – made by WellPet
- Weruva Dog Food Review – The Weruva Company
Remember, feeding your dog a high-quality pet food product is the best way to ensure that he stays in good health. If your dog eats well, he will be well – it is as simple as that. Do not be tempted by a lower price tag into purchasing a lesser quality dog food – it could end up costing you more in the long run because your dog could develop serious health problems related to poor nutrition. In the end, it is always worth it to feed your dog the best food you can afford.