Feeding Your Best Friend

It's time to pick up another bag of dog food for your pup; what do you do? When you look at the back of a bag, do you recognize what the ingredients are? Maybe you don't even look. For the health of your beloved pets, it's important to make sure you know what's in their food. Look for the words: protein, fat, fiber and by-products. These four words can tell you a lot about what's included.

4 Words to Look for When Choosing a Bag of Dog Food:

Protein - Dogs need protein in a daily diet, and many veterinarians will recommend food with 23 to 30 percent protein depending on your dog's age. Food with a higher amount of protein than this isn't necessary, as your dog won't be able to process it.

Fat - Although pet obesity is a common problem among dogs in the United States, some fat is necessary for a healthy diet. Experts recommend dogs eat foods with 10 to 15 percent fat content if they are a healthy weight, and between 8 to 10 percent fat if they need to shed a few pounds.

Fiber - Just like humans, dogs need fiber in their diet for a healthy digestive system. Fiber mainly comes from plants, and experts recommend around 3 to 5 percent content for a healthy diet. This ingredient helps your dog's digestive system work properly and also helps prevent colon cancer.

By-products - By-products are often waste products of animals not fit for human consumption. If you purchase a dog food that contains by-products, make sure it is safe for pet consumption. The two recognized grades of by-product meals are feed grade and pet-food grade. Pet-food grade by-product meal is the better choice, as it is higher in protein, more digestible and more consistent.

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