Not all dog foods are created equal. Some are tasty and healthy. Others are best left avoided. Thankfully, with a little bit of research it’s possible to find some great dog foods at great prices.
Making sure your furry buddy has the best food for the best price is one of the most important parts of being a dog owner. There are many delicious and nutritious dog foods available, but there are also many brands with low-quality and poor ingredients that can actually hurt your dog and his or her health in very serious ways.
Here are some great tips to help avoid the foods your dog shouldn’t be eating.
Avoid These Dog Food Ingredients
When shopping for dog food, keep a look out for the following ingredients. Even though your instinct may be to trust dog food you find in a normal shop or pet store, some of it is poor for your canine companion’s health and can harm them in the long-term.¹ Different dogs need different kinds of food, but these ingredients are absolutely not OK for your dog in any situation. If you see them, do not buy.
Unfortunately some dog foods are crammed with what is called 4D meat. This stands for disabled, dying, diseased or dead and refers to meat that isn’t judged good enough for humans by the US FDA so it gets bundled up into food for animals.
This meat can sometimes make your dog get very sick right away or—even worse—it can take its toll over time and lead to chronic and even life-threatening health problems and long term fatigue. Avoid very low-priced dog food that is unclear about its ingredients or the kind of meat in it and make sure that if you think it could be 4D meat you ask the shop owner first and make sure it is not.²
More Ingredients To Avoid
In addition to dog foods containing 4D meats, avoid ones with many unnatural preservatives like BHA, BHT and Ethoxyquin.³ These preservatives are not necessary and can be unhealthy and even carcinogenic over a long period.
Also avoid dog foods with too many artificial food colorings. Specific colorings to look out for are Yellow 5, Red 40, Blue 2, and Yellow 6. These dyes are not good for many humans, so it would be a safe bet to avoid them for your pet as well.⁴
It also makes sense to watch out for the ingredient propylene glycol in dog treats.⁵ Even though occasional use has been considered safe, many dogs eat foods with this in it daily, and some consider the cumulative effect to be concerning. It’s also a relatively simple ingredient to avoid.⁶
Human Foods You Shouldn’t Feed Your Dog
It’s important to avoid feeding your dog grapes, raisins, alcohol, avocados, xylitol, caffeine, or chocolate. Garlic, chives, onions, macadamia nuts, dairy, and pitted fruits should also be avoided.⁷ While all of these foods may be perfectly fine for most humans, for dogs they can be dangerous and should be avoided entirely.
Finding High-Quality Dog Food For A Good Price
The key to finding the best quality dog food for a good price is to speak with your vet for advice and to carefully read the labelling on the dog foods you are checking out in the store. The best dog food is generally approved by the AAFCO, which stands for the Association of Animal Feed Control Officials, so also keep a look out for this label.
Also watch for a high percentage of protein and fat to make sure you are not getting mostly water weight.⁸ Starting with an online search and also speaking with your vet are both good ways to zero in on the best dog food in your area. Consider looking for some high quality, AAFCO-approved dog food online and having it delivered directly to your home.