What is dog food made of
Ingredients in dog food
The Selection of dog food is unmanageable. There are dozens of brands, hundreds of types, and the ingredients they contain differ significantly. Many dog owners are because of terms like Raw ash or animal by-products unsettled. What ultimately belongs in a good dog food and what is better to avoid? Our Guide to ingredients in dog food reveals what is important.
Central ingredients for a species-appropriate diet
Basically, when choosing a dog food, the needs of the four-legged friends should be in the foreground. Owners need to wonder what dogs need to keep them healthy and active.
The following ingredients are expected to be in one high quality feed not missing:
- Proteins (animal components)
- Fibrous materials
- Trace elements
Animal protein is elementary as dogs are carnivores. However, the required proportion depends on various factors and must not be generalized. The general statement, a quality dog food must contain at least 70 percent protein, for example, is not necessarily optimal.
How much protein an animal needs can only be determined by considering age, activity level, protein source and a few other factors. Ground beef, for example, is significantly more fatty than turkey, which is why a distinction must be made here too.
Labeling complete feed for dogs
What dog owners should pay particular attention to when it comes to dog food Labelling as "complete feed". Products labeled in this way must meet individual criteria so that a dog receives all the necessary nutrients and remains healthy through daily feeding.
Among other things, so-called complete feed must have a calcium and phosphorus ratio of 1: 1 to 2: 1. A “supplementary feed” would not be ideal for everyday nutrition, for example, because the manufacturers do not have to adhere to special regulations. If the proportions of the components are not correct, the animals can become ill if they are fed on a long-term basis.
Many dog lovers are also plagued by the question of whether to have a Dry or wet food is the better choice. There is no general answer here either, as there are both positive and negative products of both variants. However, a look at the general properties can make the decision easier. The consumer portal www.haushaltstipps.net has summarized the advantages and disadvantages of dry and wet food in a dog food comparison.
What are animal by-products?
Animal by-products are frowned upon among a large number of dog owners. If you do a little research online, you will come across many guides that completely advise against dog food on the packaging of which this ingredient can be recognized. But animal by-products are better than their reputation: Contrary to what many consumers suspect, only animal by-products that humans could consume are permitted. This is prescribed by Regulation (EC) 1069/2009. This often applies to slaughter products that were once consumed by people, but now rarely end up on their plates. Slaughter by-products such as kidneys, lungs, tripe or udder are rarely offered for human consumption today because the demand is extremely low.
In addition, it should be noted that a dog is not alone with the expensive lean meat gets by. Offal are just as important for a balanced nutrient balance. It contains valuable vitamins, iron and folic acid. If “animal by-products” are to be found on the list of feed ingredients, this should not be a reason to exclude a product from the selection. On the contrary: high-quality offal even enhance the value of a feed.
Crude fiber, crude protein and crude ash in dog food
these are Terms in the ingredients of dog foodthat are particularly confusing. The following list was formulated based on recommended values for dry food and is intended as a guide:
- Raw ash: The importance of the raw ash content is often underestimated, but it is crucial for the health of dogs, among other things. If the ash content in a feed is too high, the kidneys suffer not insignificantly. Crude ash consists mainly of minerals and vitamins. In particular, the mineral content is related to the raw ash. If the phosphorus and calcium content is too high due to the high ash content, this has a direct impact on kidney function. Urinary stone formation is also promoted. The dog food should not contain more than six percent crude ash.
- Crude protein: The proportion of crude protein plays an important role in dog food. In the case of dry food, the proportion should be around 22 percent, but in any case less than 30 percent. But this does not apply to all animals. For example, if the dog is overweight or pregnant, a higher proportion of crude protein is required.
- Raw fat: Similar to proteins, the appropriate amount of crude fat varies depending on your health, age and activity level. A very active animal that is active in dog sports needs a significantly higher percentage of fat than an older animal that only moves a little or a moderately active family dog. In the case of dry food, the fat content can start at 5 percent and should not exceed 25 percent.
- Crude fiber: The crude fiber content of dry feed is ideally between 1.5 and 5 percent. It is different here than with fat. High-performance animals tend to need less crude fiber. Senior dogs or animals with a few kilos too much should get more crude fiber.
Additives in dog food - good or bad?
Is a Dog food free from additives, it doesn't necessarily have to be beneficial, even if many consumers believe it. Finally, additives can also have positive effects and increase the proportion of trace elements, vitamins and minerals to the necessary level. Many products would not even achieve the required ingredients without additives.
In the case of dog food without additives, dog owners must pay close attention to the ingredients and, if in doubt, check with the manufacturer.What else should you pay attention to when it comes to the ingredients?
Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids Not to be missed: while omega-3 fatty acids provide the indispensable alpha-linolenic acid, omega-6 fatty acids ensure the supply of linoleic acid. Both of these acids are critical to dog health. They are essential and therefore have to be supplied through the diet because the animal organism cannot produce them on its own. Recommended oils for dogs are:
- linseed oil
- Black seed oil
- Sunflower oil
- Safflower oil
- Fish oil (correct dosage is a must!)
carbohydrates are also good for maintaining health and, up to a certain amount, are easy to digest. For a proper supply of dietary fiber, i.e. fiber, feed manufacturers like to use beet pulp or cellulose. Fibers have a positive influence on intestinal function and intestinal flora.
That doesn't belong in dog food: sugar
Finally, sugar should be mentioned. This is an ingredient that has no place in a species-appropriate dog food. It damages the teeth and promotes tooth and gum diseases. It is also important to avoid sugar when it comes to treats.
More information about proper nutrition, including advice on feeding time and puppy feeding, can be found in our dog nutrition guide. Check out tips & discussions at forum.hundund.de/hunde-ernaehrung/ in the dog forum!
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Photos: pzbasnik / Pixabay, the3cats / Pixabay
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