WHAT'S FOR DINNER?
Golden Retrievers love to eat...we all know that, and they depend on us to make sure their daily meals are nutritious and safe. Since most of our dogs eat the same food day after day after day, providing them high quality food and keeping them at the appropriate weight are the two most important things we can do to insure our furry best friend a long and healthy life.
There are literally hundreds of brands and varieties of dog food and the choices are overwhelming. You might be tempted to believe that the manufacturers of these foods have your dog's best interest at heart. But be aware; most of the dog foods displayed in expensive, adorable TV commercials are consistently rated as the worst dog foods available. With all the choices, it is increasingly important to educate yourself about the ingredients in your dog's food and to buy the most expensive dog food you can afford. Although the price may initially seem outrageous -as much as $2.00 a pound- owners soon discover that because of the high nutritional content they can feed less, and the dog's improved health eliminates costly trips to the vet for skin and ear problems. High-quality dog food cannot be found at the grocery store or big-box discount chains. However, specialty pet stores and pet superstores offer many premium foods of excellent quality.
The best way to determine the quality of your pet food is to carefully read and understand the label. While reading the label, ask the following questions: Does the food use high quality ingredients? Is there a quality meat source as one of the first two ingredients? Better yet, are the ingredients human-grade? Is the bag dated for freshness?
Example - compare the two package labels below. Food A is an example of a high quality, premium dog food. Food B is a very low quality food. (Note: Food B is a big seller because of the very effective advertising campaign. One canine nutritionist compared this food to feeding your dog cotton candy!)
A. Ingredients:: Turkey, chicken, turkey meal, chicken meal, potatoes, herring meal, chicken fat, natural flavors, egg, apples, tomatoes, potassium chloride, carrots, vitamins, garlic, cottage cheese, minerals, alfalfa sprouts, ascorbic acid, dried chicory root, direct-fed microbials, vitamin E supplement, lecithin, rosemary extract.
B. Ingredients: Ground yellow corn, corn gluten meal, whole wheat flour, animal fat preserved with mixed-tocopherols (form of Vitamin E), soy protein concentrate, soybean meal, pearled barley, brewers rice, tricalcium phosphate, sugar, water, animal digest, sorbitol, phosphoric acid, salt, potassium chloride, L-Lysine monohydrochloride, calcium carbonate, sorbic acid (a preservative), dried spinach, dried sweet potatoes, dried apples, dicalcium phosphate, choline chloride, calcium propionate (a preservative), DL-Methionine, added color (Red 40, Yellow 5, Blue 2, Yellow 6), zinc sulfate, ferrous sulfate, Vitamin E supplement, manganese sulfate, Vitamin A supplement, niacin, Vitamin B-12 supplement, calcium pantothenate, riboflavin supplement, copper sulfate, biotin, garlic oil, thiamine hydrochloride, pyridoxine hydrochloride, thiamine mononitrate, folic acid, Vitamin D-3 supplement, menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of Vitamin K activity), calcium iodate, sodium selenite.
These food brands are high quality and easy to find:
1. Many nutritionists recommend switching BRANDS and flavors of dog food every 2-4 months to assure the dog is eating a wide variety of nutrients. Avoid food with “exotic” proteins such as rabbit, pheasant, emu or venison unless prescribed by your vet. These meats are not needed for healthy dogs and if the dog needs them down the road to treat a medical condition it is important that there is no prior exposure.
2. Feed your dog veggeis and fruits as snacks Choose foods of all colors suvh as carrots, broccoli, green beans, cauliflower, squash, aplles , melon, etc. DO NOT FEED GRAPES, RAISINS AND ONIONS which are poisonous and be sure to check out any other fruit or vegetable not on this list to be sure it is OK for dogs to eat.
3. Don't buy more food than the dogs can eat in a month and store the food in a controlled environment in a closed container.
Please consult the following website for additional information and for ratings of a large number of dog foods. http://www.dogfoodanalysis.com/