Ingredients in High Quality Dog Food

There is no single dog food that works for all animals. However, a high quality dog food typically contains a certain mixture of ingredients and food types. In order to select the food that will best help your pet to grow and to stay healthy, it is important to first recognize the foods and ingredients that constitute a complete and balanced canine diet. Following that, you can make specific adjustments for your pet depending upon his age and existing health conditions.

Nutritional Requirements of a Canine Diet

Dogs require four basic ingredient types: proteins, fats, carbohydrates and fiber. Wild dogs typically subsist on a meat-heavy diet, but they will also eat other non-meat items as well. A high quality processed dog food should emulate this natural diet.

The single most important ingredient in your pet's diet is protein. Look for dog foods that list a meat, fish or egg product as a first ingredient. While all commercial dog foods contain a large percentage of protein, some use synthetic or non-meat sources. These are inferior to meat-based ingredients because they are difficult to digest and oftentimes contain a lower nutritional value from the outset. Fats are another important element and are typically associated with the protein source. Natural meat ingredients contain a certain level of accompanying fat.

Your pet also requires carbohydrates. Although a wild dog's diet does not usually contain a high percentage of this nutritional element, many commercial dog foods contain 50% carbohydrates or more. Ensure that your pet's food does not include raw potatoes, bananas or raw cereals, as these are difficult for your pet to digest. Rather, a high quality dog food should contain rice, wheat, oats or corn as the primary carbohydrate source. These help to provide quick bursts of energy for your dog.

Fiber is not essential to pet health. However, it has been shown to help promote a healthy digestive tract and to reduce rates of colon and other types of cancer. Most fibers in pet foods are rice hulls, corn products and bran.

Other Considerations

When selecting a pet food for your dog, consider first whether a canned, moist, or dry food are appropriate. Generally, dry foods provide the widest range of nutritional benefits and the most complete ingredient breakdown. However, pets with certain medical conditions or preferences may be better off with canned food.

It is also important to consider whether your pet has any health conditions, or if he is at a developmental turning point. Most brands of dog food market specially formulated food types for puppies, old dogs or dogs with a variety of health conditions, including diabetes, obesity and more. In all of these cases, examine the ingredients list for each medicine before purchasing. The general ingredient list should remain the same, although the food may change the proportions or add extra ingredients in some cases. Before you purchase a specialized food for your pet, consult with a veterinarian for further assistance and information.

With a high quality diet composed of proper ingredients, you can help to promote growth and stable health in your dog for many years.