Premium Dog Food Ingredients

Many dog foods use fillers and avoid premium dog food ingredients. Increasing cases of canine obesity, dog diabetes and cancer are believed to be linked to inadequate or poor quality dog foods. Learn about the ingredients you should avoid and how to read dog food labels, to pinpoint the best dry and canned dog foods.

Why Fillers Are Popular

Dog food companies are simply watching their bottom line. Many companies skimp on premium dog food ingredients to increase their profit margin. Glutens, corn meal, brewer's rice and beet pulp are commonly used to add bulk to dry and canned dog foods. The more fillers that are used, the lower the percentage of meat that makes it into the food.

Granted, many fillers do offer fiber, but they also take away from protein content. Dogs need protein for proper muscle growth. Fillers are also very high in carbs and may lead to weight gain if you're not strictly monitoring your dogs caloric intake every day.

Another thing to consider involves food allergies. Many dogs have or develop allergies to commonly used fillers like wheat, soy and corn. You may save money on the dog food that contains fillers, but your pet's health issues might increase, leading to costly vet bills.

Avoiding Meat and Poultry Byproducts

Inexpensive dog foods bypass premium dog food ingredients and use byproducts as the main protein source. Byproducts, while a source of protein, are low quality. Byproducts include ground up organs and bones left over after meat is butchered for human consumption.

Byproducts often contain ground intestines, skin and organ meat that humans avoid, such as lungs. With poultry, it can even include some features like beaks and feet, which are not a great source of meat.

Premium Dog Food Ingredients

When reading dog food labels, make sure a protein source such as beef, lamb, turkey or chicken is first on the list. Meat meals are okay, but it's best if the meat is deboned meat.

Vegetables and fruits are great for dogs. They offer antioxidant benefits that help keep a dog healthy. Cranberries are great for dogs that have had UTIs in the past. Carrots help with vision. Fish oils can help keep joints healthy and help with heart health.

Many foods add ascorbic acid to preserve the dog food. Ascorbic acid is rich in vitamin C and beneficial to a dog's overall health. Avoid artificial colors and preservatives, however.

Choosing Premium Dog Food Brands

Grocery stores are getting better at carrying premium dog food. Brands like Evolve and Harmony Farms, which contain quality meats and vegetables, are finding their way onto grocery store shelves. It's often easier to go to a pet store or feed store to find holistic dog foods. You get a wider selection of products, so the prices are sometimes better.

When shopping at farm stores, look for Chicken Soup for the Dog Lover's Soul or Taste of the Wild. These premium dog food brands are not horribly expensive and include high-quality ingredients without fillers.