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>By Kendy Smith
Dog owners are concerned about making sure their pets get the healthiest options available when it comes to dog food. Owners spend time and effort reading up on the optimum nutritional values in dog food and the alternatives. Today our pets have a wide variety to meet their tastes and needs and we have our choice of what kind of food we can choose to feed them. Despite the variety, pet foods usually fall into three major categories. These categories are: Grocery store foods, these types of dog and pet foods are usually found in grocery stores and mass marketed retailers and can contain lower quality, less expensive ingredients. The second category is "premium dog foods," which can also be found in grocery's stores but are also found in pet stores and through your local veterinarian's office.
These types of foods are usually made from some higher quality ingredients and are usually made evident by the expense of the food. Some of these pet foods though can contain lower quality ingredients that you aren't aware of. The third and final category is healthy dog foods which are a relatively new addition and make use of the latest research into the best foods and blends for your pet.
So what is best for our pet and how do we choose the proper dog food?
Quality, healthy ingredients make quality, healthy dog food. Nutrition is important no matter whether you're a person or a pet. Pets, just like humans, need good nutrition not just to survive but to truly be healthy. They need good quality protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and fats. This is where premium, healthy dog food can benefit your pets.
Typically, healthy dog food contains quality protein, good quality carbohydrates and fiber, natural fats and preservatives. The protein does not come from dead or diseased animals and you will never see the word by-product on the label. By-products (feet, bones intestines, etc) are inferior protein sources that are sometimes used and can be very hard for your dog to digest. Less digestion means less nutritious and therefore not as healthy. Quality protein helps build and maintain muscle strength.
If you see corn, soy or wheat used as protein sources instead of meat, you now know your pet isn't getting healthy dog food. Good quality carbohydrates give your pet the energy to be active. Good fiber sources help promote a healthy digestive system and colon. Quality fats from animal sources contain omega fatty acids that benefit the skin and coat.
Believe it or not dog food manufacturers that label their bags "premium food" use these ingredients as well as chemical preservatives and artificial colors that can be harmful to pets.
Benefits beyond healthy nutrition
When your pet is eating right, it feels better, giving you a happy and more playful companion, fewer trips to the vet, and less wasted food. Ultimately, giving your pet better food might seem expensive initially, but keeping your pet healthy saves you money, time and expense in the long run. Healthy, premium dog food can possibly extend the life of your pet giving you more quality years together.
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