If you're anything like me, your choice of pet food for your furry friends hasn't changed in a very long time. After doing the initial research and label reading that comes with a new pet - or maybe a really good coupon - we all seem to get stuck on the status quo.
As you read those labels, it may help to know exactly what to look for and what to avoid. Even more helpful is knowing what the more vague ingredients really are. According to this video, any animal-derived ingredient should list the type of animal (e.g., duck meal, veal protein, etc.). Unnamed animal products and byproducts are a red flag, as well as over-processed components.
The jury is still out at our house, but so far the most nutritious option may be Blue Buffalo Company, better known as "Blue". Weighing our dog's Science Diet against Blue in the website's "True Blue Test," Science Diet got only one checkmark compared to all five checkmarks for Blue. What are the five essential elements according to Blue?
- Always lists real meat as the first ingredient
- Always includes fruits and vegetables
- Never has poultry by-product meals
- Never has artificial colors, flavors or preservatives
- Never has corn, wheat or soy
Although Blue offers a $5 off coupon on their website, the price is beyond the budget for many. For those in search of a more affordable yet healthy pet food, the Dog Food Advisor website provides some great alternatives, as well as a convenient listing of "Best Dog Foods" by category (e.g., dry dog food, wet dog food, puppy, senior, etc.).
If you're fortunate enough to live near a feed store, a high-ranking yet affordable dog food is Diamond Naturals. It received four stars (out of five) at Dog Food Advisor and is half the price of Blue Buffalo. It is also the next item on our shopping list.