An Insider’s Guide to Finding Superior Dog Food BrandsAzia Weisz
With a wide variety of brands and types of foods on the market, it can get overwhelming when trying to purchase the best food for your pet. Finding the most suitable food for your dog’s breed, their overall health, your lifestyle, and budget can become quite a challenge.
It does not need to be a challenge to find superior food for your pup. This list of top tips will help you to pick the perfect food for your pooch:
Top Tip #1: Know the Company
There seems to be a phenomenon that large companies are less trustworthy then smaller independent brands. People tend to assume that smaller companies produce safer foods. This is, however not true. In the USA 93% of pet food sold is produced by only three major companies- Purina, Mars and Big Heart. Yet, 83% of all recalls in the last five years, have been for products produced by smaller pet food brands.
Additionally, smaller pet food brands are not likely to live up to the nutritional claims they make about their products for the simple fact that do not make any effort to verify the safety of their food or the nutritional content of the foods. Since smaller brands are not likely to have large budgets, they are also less likely to take steps to ensure the highest quality of their products.
Larger brands are thus, more likely to make use of qualified food scientists, nationalists, and veterinary experts to develop their products, as well as test food products for nutrient content and impurities. They are also more likely to conduct regular quality and safety procedures.
This is not to say that smaller brands have inferior products, but you should read their labels more critically and do your research before buying food that is right for your dog.
Top Tip #2: Always read the label
Labels are always the first place you should look. They are packed with loads of valuable information. However, this does not mean they are easy to read. Take note of the ingredients used and in what quantities.
Look for brands that display multiple product lines that boast higher ratings. These highly rated recipes will contain more meat, less by-products, less nasty preservatives and are less likely to contain anonymous meat ingredients.
The rule of thumb here is to look for less carbohydrates or grains, preservatives and unnatural ingredients and more real meat. Dogs are carnivores after all.
Top Tip #3: Look at any recall history
Recalls on dog food can provide you with valuable information to help choose a superior brand of dog food. It will give you clues into the brand’s manufacturing habits. You must, however, not overact about food recalls. This is often the case with a lot of pet owners, who misunderstand the recall and overreact about it unnecessarily.
It is important to note that human error is always inevitable, and in processes where humans are involved in producing dog food, mistakes are going to happen. Thus, recalls are unpredictable they are not entirely preventable. What is important is how the brand chooses to handle the recall, as opposed to trying to cover it up only notifying distributors and not the public.
More often than not, recalls are made for a limited batch of products. Pet owners are urged not to overreact and reject the brand as a whole when it is only one recipe that has been affected.
Top Tip #4: Identify the food’s manufacturer
Many dog owners are under the impression that the food they buy is produced by the company itself. In fact, many companies make use of third-parties to produce their food in whole or in part, while other do make all their products themselves.
This is not a definitively good or bad ranking factor; however, it is important to know if you are interested in looking at product recall history. This will be important in judging if the food brand is good for your pup or not.
Top Tip #5: Question product design
Surprisingly, there are no legal requirements stating that pet food should be designed and formulated by a professional, whether it be a veterinary expert or pet nutritionist. In the past, it has been uncovered that a large amount of dog food had been designed by amateurs with no qualification to do the job.
When looking for the most superior food for your dog, you might want to find out not only who manufactures the brand’s food, but who formulated the recipe and what qualifications that have that entitles them to do the job.
Top Tip #6: Ingredient Sources
A dog food product is only as good as the ingredients used to create it. Thus, it is important to investigate the quality of the raw ingredients that make up your chosen brand of food. Some companies source their ingredients from established companies on a regular basis and provide superior ingredients regularly.
Other companies may purchase their ingredients on the open market from commodity brokers. The cheapest bidder will usually provide the ingredients which can be of inferior quality from other countries where food quality standards are not held in the highest regard.
Unfortunately, Federal law currently does not require that companies list any sourcing information or the country of origin on the packaging. This is not to say that all imported ingredients are inferior quality. There are numerous ingredients importer regularly that are of greater quality than those sourced from within the country.
Top Tip #7: Expect transparency and demand it
A company that remains transparent is usual one of the best. When companies try to hide errors from the public, this is not a good sign and usually reason enough not to trust the brand. Simple things such as maintaining an active website and social media presence and being available to talk to customers over the phone can greatly help to remain transparent with customers. When a company does not answer your questions adequately, they are not being as transparent as they should be. You have the right to know what processes they use to formulate and manufacture your dog’s food.