Dog Food Nutrition vs. Marketing: Separating Health From Hype

In order for your dog to lead a long, healthy and active life, proper dog food nutrition is an essential part of your dog's care. Knowing what type of ingredients are going into your dog's food will help you find the proper balance of nutrition and get behind the often misleading commercial dog food market.

Cheap Food Is Often Less Nutritious

Many major commercial food brands claim to have the proper nutrients that are central to a dog's diet, like proteins, fats, vegetables and carbohydrates. But oftentimes these nutrients are most likely coming from cheap and unhealthy sources like meat and poultry by-products, unnamed meat and bone meal, and too many grains from wheat and corn, which are not easily digested by dogs.

Fillers Shouldn't Be the Bulk

When marketing these foods, labels will often list several ingredients like corn meal, wheat flour, corn cellulose, corn bran and other fillers that have little to no nutritional value. Added together, these carbohydrates make up more of the dog food than healthy whole grains and proteins. In order for your dog to get the most out of his food, proteins must come from specific sources like chicken, turkey, beef or lamb.

Look for Specific Sources

If any meals are listed make sure there is an animal name in front of "meal", such as beef meal or chicken meal, and not a general "animal meal" source. The same goes for fats and oils which should not be listed generically as just "vegetable oil" or "animal fat". Also avoid preservatives, colorings, digests and sweeteners.