Dog food basics

Dog food can be a very very complicated topic as in depth as human neutrition but in this post I will attempt to weed through the muck and give readers a simple understanding and guide of how to look at dog food for your family dog.  I will be breaking down dog food into three tiers or categories titled Low Grade, Mid Grade, and Premium Grade.  Before we get to the main topics and break down I know that anyone who has investigated dog food for your dog or kennel business has most likely been told about cancer producing agents, by-product, and animal digest which i will cover briefly in this post however not in dept.  Stay up to date with the site and I will put up an in depth post about dog food and cover specific brands and much more later on.  For now lets get started on the basic understanding.

Low grade

Low grade dog food is basically the very inexpensive dog food but that is for good reason.  Low grade dog food is going to have very poor protein and fat percentages primarily due to ingredients.  This dog food will have a wide range of quality but even the highest quality of this dog food is not good for your family pet and of very poor substance.  The very bottom of this dog food grade will have animal digest such as D4 meet USDA defined as dead, diseased, decaying, or dying animals basically the lowest grade of meat available from USDA.  By-products are also something to watch out for as they are the parts not consistent of muscle tissue such as beaks, feathers, hooves, hair, and a lot of other unmentionable items both of these definitions can be found on USDA website.  So how do we identify a low grade dog food simply without looking for a ton of different things.  Look at the ingredients list on your dog food it is required every bag has the list printed.  What to look for?  Corn, Wheat, and Soy Why would this be the determining factor? it is due to these are the cheapest source of grain to put in dog food but also the worst for the dog as well.  Some of the better ones of these dog foods will have meat such as chicken as first ingredient, thanks to blue buffalow campeign, however if the chicken or meat is followed by several sources of corn, wheat, or soy its in the low grade collum of dog foods and not worth your time or money.

Mid grade dog food

Mid grade dog food is middle of the road but often times as inexpensive and/or cheaper than the low grade foods so much better value to your wallet and pet.  Mid grade dog foods are not going to give your dog the premium life but typically are a big step in the right direction if you can’t afford the higher end foods. A huge bonus is that the mid grade foods typically don’t have the extra horrible stuff like animal digest, meat and bone meal, and by-product.  Adding to the list of pros these dog foods typically have less bad perservatives in them such as BHA, BHT, and others that have caused cancer in dogs for years.  The perservatives and additives are typically not in these dogs foods but best to look at the ingredients yourself and do the research.  This type of dog food also has a wide range of brands and quality levels ranging from run of the mill to Blue Buffalo standard formula, along with prices ranging from low to high as well.  This type of dog food is identified again by the ingredients specifically the grain again, yes there is a pattern.  Rice and Barley is what you will find for the ingredients for this dog food.  As always make sure meat is first and typically this type of food will have more sources of meat than just one or two for a good food.  Rice and Barley are two very mallable sources of grain and much more digestable than the rougher sources of grain like corn, wheat, and soy.  This dog food is an ok solution to your dog’s health and lifespan, not a great source but an ok one.  

Premium dog food

Premium dog food is exactly what it sounds like it is the top of the market.  When you start to examine dog foods you will find that these are typically the dog foods you haven’t heard of.  This is primarially because the premium brands are typically made by the cheaper ones however they make a variety of grades of dog food.  These dog foods are going to have optimal protein and fat percentages.  These dog foods are going to have the best sources of meat available for kibble as well as the top grains.  To identify these dog foods again go to the ingredients list.  These dog food brands are going to have a lot of quality meat sources such as deboned chicken, or food grade meat.  The grain source is going to be sweet potatoes, lentils, and other very digestable sources of grain.  One of my top recomendations for this type of dog foods is Taste of the Wild made by diamond dog food brand.  This dog food has 7 sources of meat in the first 11 ingredients, great sources of grain, good fat and protein, and a fair amount cheaper than the competition, and available in a variety of locations such as tractor supply company.  

Why is grain such a huge part of dog food?  Dogs are carnivores, which means they eat meat.  This is a basic understanding of what that means but here goes.  All animals need some source of grain to turn into sugar and energy to live as well as protein too.  If an carnivore were to kill and eat another animal how do they get a source of grain?  They would gain the grain needed by eating the inner workings of the kill i.e. stomach and other contents.  This would turn the stomach of people however in a basic stand point this is nature in the works.  Grain from a herbavore is already partially digested thus the dog or carnivore can digest it and use it for energy.  Grain tends to be a good way to place dog foods especially kibble into a basic three categories.  I hope this post has been helpful.  I will attempt to post more on this topic in the future and go much more in dept.  Any questions or comments are very welcome.