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There are many different dog foods out there, which can make it pretty hard for dog owners to know what to choose. How exactly does one break down all these choices? It’s never an easy task, but when you’re dealing with an enormous amount of information, breaking things up into categories always helps! Start by grouping your dog into a particular age group: Is it a puppy, an adult or does it fit into the senior category? This simple first step will help you process the immense amount of information out there. Now that you’ve found your starting point, you can begin learning the do’s and don’t of dog food!
Puppies have unique dietary needs. Most foods made for fully grown dogs either lacks, or contains too much of the critical nutrients puppies require (or don’t require). But, it’s not as simple as it sounds to determine if you young dog is truly a puppy or not. Depending on the breed and size/type of dog, puppies mature to full size at different ages. Most puppies reach their full size by the time they are 12 to 18 months, but that can vary. Luckily, there are online puppy age calculators that can help you figure out what age group your dog actually falls into.
Now that you’ve determined whether or not your dog actually meets the puppy criteria, the next step is to avoid foods that contain anonymous meat ingredients, questionable chemical preservatives and/or generic animal fats. Conversely, the puppy foods you want should contain:
Basically, it’s a good idea to start reading labels ASAP. The sooner you start, the more intuitive it will become!
When you’re comparing puppy foods, you’ll likely notice price differences. This disparity isn’t trivial. In fact, it usually stems from the significant quality difference of ingredients used. This quality directly affects the food’s overall nutritional density. So, when it comes to puppy food (and most dog foods), the general rule is: The cheaper it is, the less healthy it is. Spend time reading labels until you find a good compromise between price and quality.
Every dog develops at its own rate, but roughly, adulthood starts between 12 months and three years of age and lasts until the dog reaches its senior years between the ages of six and 10. During the adult phase, the type of food you should feed your dog depends on a number of factors. For example, if your dog is prone to weight gain, you should avoid feeding it a calorie-packed, high protein option. However, an extremely active Husky or Dalmatian might need that high protein option to refuel the energy it’s constantly exerting.
Below are some general tips for selecting the best adult dog foods:
As stated above, a dog’s senior years generally begin between the ages of six to 10 depending on its breed. Fortunately, many brands manufacture specialized formulations for senior dogs to help you narrow down your options.
Here are some general rules to follow when looking for senior dog foods:
Looking for more ways to keep your pup happy and healthy? Consider investing in a dog insurance policy with MetLife Pet Insurance.1 Get your free quote today.
Nothing in this article should be construed as financial, legal or veterinary advice. Please consult your own advisors for questions relating to your and your pet’s specific circumstances.
1 Pet Insurance offered by MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company (“IAIC”), a Delaware insurance company, headquartered at 485 Madison Avenue, NY, NY 10022, and Metropolitan General Insurance Company (“MetGen”), a Rhode Island insurance company, headquartered at 700 Quaker Lane, Warwick, RI 02886, in those states where MetGen’s policies are available. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is the policy administrator authorized by IAIC and MetGen to offer and administer pet insurance policies. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC was previously known as PetFirst Healthcare, LLC and in some states continues to operate under that name pending approval of its application for a name change. The entity may operate under an alternate, assumed, and/or fictitious name in certain jurisdictions as approved, including MetLife Pet Insurance Services LLC (New York and Minnesota), MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions Agency LLC (Illinois), and such other alternate, assumed, or fictitious names approved by certain jurisdictions.