Queenie’s Pets® here with another edition of oh-no-that’s-not-true. Today, we’re lifting the lid off the dog food container and diving into the truth behind food labels, nutrition, and more.
Get your reading glasses ready because you’ll want to check out your pup’s food quality by the end of this article!
Myth: The more expensive the food, the better it is.
Expensive food does not guarantee quality. Sometimes, when you pay for a top brand, all you’re really paying for is the name! While we caution you that cheap food does nearly always guarantee a low nutritional value, don’t let your food choice be guided by its price point alone.
If you are cost-sensitive, start by comparing the ingredients and dietary levels on the food labels of two (or more) brands. Then, evaluate the price per pound to see which offers the most bang for your buck.
Myth: A “Complete and Balanced” diet signifies a healthy food choice!
*Insert buzzer here* Just like human food companies use meaningless and confusing labels to get us to open our wallets, so do dog food companies. While humans can choose to set target nutrition goals based on the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA), the closest dogs can come to doing the same comes from guidelines from AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials), a non-profit organization that oversees the safety and quality of canine nutrition in pet food, Based on these guidelines, pet food labels often say MIN and MAX which basically mean the food promises to have a minimum or maximum amount of nutrition. Did we mention the labels are confusing? If you want to scramble your brain more, compare a few labels stamped with “Complete and Balanced.” You’ll notice a staggering difference in quantity and ratio of fats, proteins, and minerals. So who’s right? What’s the maximum for my dog versus yours? And is the food I just saw the commercial for the one that has the right minimum?
Myth: “____ is the best food brand!”
PLEASE STOP ASKING US THIS QUESTION…Like, at the store…but also, at my July 4th party, across the table at the wedding when you find out what I do, or at the Passover Seder. Like, seriously. I’m NOT going to give you an answer. Why? Because there IS NOT a correct answer. Sorry. Not only are no two dogs alike, but a dog’s nutritional needs change throughout their life stages and a rotational diet is the best diet anyway!! A brand might offer great quality nutrition made with domestic ingredients, but that doesn’t mean it’s the perfect food for every dog. Different pups have different needs. It’s important to evaluate different brands and find ones you can trust, but your food search doesn’t end there. That’s just the start. Do a gut-check with your dog and explore a few safe foods to see what helps them feel, look and act the most healthy (and what do they just looooove to eat!? Let’s never abandon that factor).
MYTH: When in doubt, ask your vet.
Dogs and humans share the same boat on this one. Just as human doctors aren’t necessarily nutrition experts, the same goes for vets! Always go to your vet for medical concerns, including if you see something concerning in your dog’s excretions (poop checks are very key to knowing what’s going on with your pets!). But don’t expect them to be experts on dietary needs. The truth is, they are very, very busy learning all about how to heal and treat our pets from all of their ailments, so they spend very little time learning about the wellness side whilst in veterinary school. While we wish that weren’t necessarily the case, it is the truth, and some of them will admit this to you. They are then ‘romanced’ by the big-name companies (Mars/Royal Canin/Purina/Hill’s), and therefore those are the only brands they end up recommending. Not because those are the best, but those are the only ones with which they become familiar. The great news is, there are several other places to turn for many more informed opinions – especially and even when it comes time for those pesky prescription/specialty diets. Certified Canine nutritionists do exist! They are trained to ask the right questions about your dog and guide you toward the best kinds of food.
If you don’t know where to find a certified dog nutritionist, walk into Queenie’s Pets®, find Adina, and boom, you’re done. She literally reads about pet nutrition even on her vacations (nerd alert!!!) so get ready to be thoughtfully advised! We are working on getting the rest of our team to know at least ⅓ as much, and we always do our very best to answer any and all questions to make your cat AND dog tummies much, much healthier!
HUGE MYTH: Dogs like routine. Don’t change their food!
Wrong, OMG….soooooo wrong it hurts our hearts. While your dog might love to sleep in the same spot every day (In your bed and on your pillow? Just me? Oh, ok. Sure.), tummies need variety! It’s ok-even healthy-to switch out your dog food with regularity. If you feed your dog kibble, alternate the bags you buy and gradually swap one for the other by mixing them together for a few days. If you combine wet and dry food, buy different flavors and brands. If you ensure to include a wide breadth of trusted food sources, you’ll be giving your dog access to an array of vital amino acids, fats, proteins, vitamins, and minerals. No matter how much your pup seems to love a particular variety, he’s counting on you as his parent(s) to give him the variety he deserves. Sudden changes in your pupper’s diet could upset their gut, so always be gentle when introducing a new food, but a rotational diet will actually create a stronger gut with time and those bouts of the poopskis will tend to go away. Keeping some Slippery Elm Bark around or some Nature’s Logic Canned Pumpkin around to mix in always helps to keep those poops healthy!
We know this sounds overwhelming and seems like a lot of problem with little solution. We hear you. To make your life easier, we vet countless food brands and products. While any food you find on our shelf is safe and trusted, here are some staple recommendations to get you started:
- Crump’s Naturals – Beef Liver Mini-trainers
- Acana Duck & Pumpkin + Wholesome Grains Dry Food
- Weruva – Jammin’ Salmon Wet Dog Food
- Under The Weather – Freeze Dried Bland Diet
Now, put down your phone, grab your magnifying glass and get ready to inspect some bags and cans! Or you can let us do the hard work for you.