Tips for Comparing Dog Food Brands

Dog food brands are not created equal. Feeding a high-quality diet can improve your dog's health and add years to his life, so learning to compare food levels is an important component of owning a dog.

What kind of Dog Food Brands to Buy

Compare food labels before purchasing a new brand of food. Look at the first three ingredients. They should all be high-quality protein sources. Meat byproducts do not contain muscle meat, which is primarily where dogs consume the protein necessary for healthy functions.

High-quality foods do not include corn or wheat. Dogs cannot digest these very efficiently, so they just turn to sugar in your dog's blood, much like giving a child too much sugar. If your dog is on a low-quality dog food and has a lot of anxious energy, that could be reduced with a diet change.

High-quality foods don't have preservatives or food coloring and often don't even include grain. In the wild, dogs don't eat many carbohydrates. They aren't necessary for healthy functioning.

Comparing Labels

When comparing high-quality food with cheaper brands, the difference is clear. The first three ingredients in a popular, grocery store brand are ground yellow corn, chicken byproduct meal and corn gluten meal. More than 75 percent of the food is the first three ingredients. Thus, this food is made up mostly of low-quality protein and something your dog can't digest.

A high-quality food, however, lists these as its top three ingredients: turkey, chicken and chicken meal. This is all high-quality protein, which your dog can use.

The lower quality food has 46 ingredients, which includes several preservatives, sugar and added color as well as small qualities of the healthy ingredients carrots, peas, vitamin E supplement and vitamin B12 supplement, which are listed after the preservatives and food coloring.

The higher quality food as only 22 ingredients, which include brown rice, potatoes, herring, apples, carrots, cottage cheese, egg and sunflower oil. These are all ingredients that your dog can process and use. There are no preservatives or food coloring included.

Comparing Prices

As you would suspect, higher quality foods are more expensive. Since they are not using the cheap filler that popular brands use, they can't afford to produce their food at the same price.

However, since there are many more necessary elements in high-quality food, your dog needs much less per meal, which will reduce the additional cost a little. In addition, your dog will need fewer supplements and veterinary visits.

High-quality foods are also harder to find since they are not sold at major pet store chains or grocery stores. However, most local pet stores provide these brands, and many of them can be purchased online.

Upgrading the quality of your food provides many benefits to your dogs: shinier coat, cleaner teeth, fewer infections and allergies and more healthy energy. Learning to read food labels and look for quality ingredients will make a definite improvement your dog's quality of life.