A few facts you should know when choosing a dog food:

Avoid products which contain ‘derivatives’ of meat, just ‘meat’ or ‘animal fat’ or any general terms like this. You simply don’t know what animal by-products you are buying. ‘Meal’ is fine as long as it is named i.e. ‘Duck meat meal’ this just means dried, ground duck.

Avoid foods that contain EC permitted additives, or have the additives listed by name or ‘E’ number. Most details should be in the ingredient list but they may be elsewhere on the packet as well.

Avoid BHT and BHA (preservatives), these are banned in human food in most countries as they’ve been found to be carcinogenic in animals (cancer causing).

If you buy small bags, check the ingredients on the corresponding large bag in the shop – small bag labels don’t have to be as detailed by law.

Don’t worry too much about protein content as labels can be very misleading. Many people say that high protein levels cause over activity or behaviour problems and neither is scientifically proven, in fact low protein levels have been proven to cause behaviour problems in some cases. Labels are very misleading because they give the total protein content including the cereal and vegetable proteins that your dog cannot use as well as meat protein. Look instead for equal or higher meat content,

Be aware that many popular brands contain very high levels of sugar which cause higher activity levels, tooth decay and also make it more difficult for the dog to accept a healthier food.

Note:  All dogs are different and some do better on carbohydrate based foods.  Consult your vet if your dog suffers with digestive complaints.

By Jamie Muir

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