One of the most challenging parts of being a dog owner is picking out a brand of dog food that is good for them and that they will actually eat. While this may be a trial-and-error process for most dogs, finding the right dog food is a necessary step for their healthy growth and development.
When picking out dog food, most owners will consider the brand name and the price first. However, what you really need to be looking at is the ingredients list on each package. For your beloved pet’s optimal health, here are some of the best ingredients that you should be looking out for:
Plant-based proteins (for dogs with meat allergies)
If your dog is allergic to meat, it is imperative that you find an alternative that can provide them with the right amount of proteins that they need. An excellent option is quality vegan dog food made in one of the cleanest countries in the world—New Zealand—with high-quality soy, oats, and rice. You can also feed your dog with homemade vegan meals, but this may not be the most convenient nor safest option since wet food tends to spoil faster in the Singapore heat.
Salmon is an excellent source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, which help repair tissues, promote growth, and support the immune system, along with many other health benefits. It can also help keep your dog’s coat looking healthy and shiny, which is especially important for thick-haired breeds.
Dogs love chicken. The best part? Chicken is a rich source of protein that helps build muscle mass and promote healthy growth. More than that, chicken contains omega-6 fatty acids that promote healthy skin and a shiny coat, as well as amino acids and glucosamine that promotes bone health.
Chicken is a common ingredient in many dog food brands, both dry and wet. Aside from commercially-produced dog food, you can also feed your dog cooked chicken (without the bone!), ideally the white meat parts.
Carbohydrates and grains
Contrary to popular belief, carbohydrates and grains are good for your dog—in the right portions, of course. Dogs need protein the most, but they also need small portions of carbohydrates for energy and good digestion. Look for carbohydrate sources like rice, barley, peas, and oats on the ingredients list. They should be lower on the list compared to protein sources. You can also choose a dog food with corn, whole wheat, and soy, but these are considered lower quality ingredients.
On a similar note, be careful about feeding your dog human food that is rich in carbohydrates. Too many carbohydrates can promote weight gain—just like in humans—and may contain other ingredients that are not safe for pets.
Sweet potatoes are rich in potassium, vitamin B, beta-carotene, antioxidants, as well as carbohydrates. The vitamins and minerals in this particular ingredient can help boost your dog’s immunity and make them less susceptible to cancer. However, sweet potatoes are not a common ingredient in commercially available dog food, so you may consider adding them to your dog’s dry food for an added nutritional benefit.
Leafy green vegetables
Some dog food brands include vegetables in their formulas. Leafy green vegetables common in Singapore, such as watercress, spinach, and chard, can be found in dried form in many vegetarian dog foods. If your current brand doesn’t have these ingredients, you can add fresh leafy vegetables in your dog’s kibble, but they may have to get used to the taste before they actually eat it.
Leafy green vegetables are great for dogs just like they are for humans. Lettuce, spinach, chard, and other types of leafy greens contain lots of Vitamin A, C, and K, as well as calcium, potassium, and iron. They are also rich sources of fiber, which can help aid good digestion in your pet.
Beef is a high-quality source of protein that provides energy and promotes strong muscles. It is also rich in iron, zinc, selenium, as well as vitamins B12, B3, and B6. If your dog is very picky, the rich taste of beef can also help try to get them to eat a new brand of dog food. And despite the higher fat content, beef is not known to cause arteriosclerosis in dogs, unlike when it comes to humans.
When looking for a new brand of dog food for your pet, look for these ingredients on the package. However, be sure that the ingredients are specifically mentioned (e.g., salmon and not simply ‘fish). This way, you can ensure that each ingredient is safe for your dog, especially if they have food allergies.