Shopping for dog food can be a daunting task especially when you walk into a pet store and are overwhelmed by the aisles and aisles packed with different foods.
I mean how many foods are out there now? Hundreds? Thousands?
I’ve spent so many hours in these aisles and over the years I’ve probably read the back of almost every bag of pet food that’s on the market. It’s hard trying to stay on top of all the foods that are available since there’s is a new food coming out almost every week so I had to come up with a system.
Here’s a few ways that I narrow down my searches when I’m in the pet store.
Here’s what I don’t need:
Pretty colorful bag.
I really don’t care what the bag looks like because it’s what’s inside that matters. Just tell me what’s in it, or better yet, show me. Bags that glow and sparkle do nothing for me or for Sherman and they don’t make the food more nutritious.
Just because it’s the only dog food commercial I see on T.V. a hundred times a day doesn’t mean I’m going to buy it. I prefer that dog food companies are using their money on the quality of their products, not on their marketing. A good food will be found by those who are willing to take the time to actually spend time looking for it, not by seeing it on a commercial.
I actually don’t think I’ve ever bought a dog food that I saw on a commercial.
Here’s what I do need:
Made and sourced in the USA or Canada. No exceptions. No need for more explanation.
Calories or recommended feeding calories.
This is the first thing I look at and if it’s not on the bag I’m out. If the dog food company doesn’t have the time to tell me how many calories are in their food I don’t have the time for them. If they calories are there I look to see many calories are in this food per cup or what the recommend feeding guidelines are.I feed Sherman about 4.5 cups of food per day. I don’t want to feed them 8 cups of food. If this is the case the food is not for us.
No artificial preservatives.
BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole), BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene), or ethoxyquin. These preservatives stop fats from turning rancid and can keep dry dog food fresh for about a year, but their safety has been questioned by some consumers and scientists. But the FDA says they’re safe at the level used in dog food. Natural artificial preservatives that I like to see are vitamin E (mixed tocopherols), vitamin C (ascorbic acid), and plant extracts (such as rosemary).
Where’s the animal protein listed?
Ingredients on pet food are listed by weight so the heaviest ingredient is first. Normally the first ingredient will hopefully be a fresh meat but this is before the water has been removed so that is why you want a few other animal proteins within the first 3 to 5 ingredients.
Fruits and Vegetables;
These vary so much but I like to see cranberries, blueberries, apples, carrots, peas and pumpkin in the food that I feed.
So let’s take a look at Nature’s Recipe® Pure Essentials new line of premium limited ingredient recipes for dogs. Pure Essentials recipes are available in a dry food, wet food, and treats. Sherman and I are specifically looking at the Nature’s Recipe Pure Essentials Limited Ingredient Senior Chicken and Sweet Potato Recipe.
Over 100 pounds gets 4 3/4 of food per day for Sherman’s weight. About 1/4 more than I’m feeding now, which isn’t bad because I’m feeding a multi-protein food so it has more calories and fat than this single protein food.
Vitamin E, Vitamin C and Rosemary Extract. Nice.
First 7 ingredients:
Chicken, Potatoes, Chicken Meal, Sweet Potatoes, Peas, Pea Fiber and Apples.
Fruits and Veggies:
Peas, dried cranberries, apples, carrots, sweet potatoes. One of my favorite fruits is missing but Sherman says that’s o.k. since we’re growing our own blueberries this year.
Since this is a life stages food for seniors I also see that it contains additional glucosamine and chondroitin, flaxseed and yucca. Yucca is a natural anti-inflammatory so it’s nice to see this in a dog food made for seniors.
It’s a long and exhausting process checking out a new dog food and not one that we take lightly, but we have fun doing do it and always look forward to the challenge.
So how about you? What do you look for when checking out a new dog food? What ingredients do you like to see?
This post is sponsored by Nature’s Recipe Pure Essentials. I am being compensated for helping spread the word about Pure Essentials dog food, but My Brown Newfies only shares information we feel is relevant to our readers. Nature’s Recipe is not responsible for the content of this article.