The dog food that you choose impact’s your dog’s level of satiety, their muscle health, their weight, their energy levels, and their overall wellbeing.
This is why it is so important for every dog owner to invest in a high-quality dog food! But what is it that makes a high-quality dog food? And, how does the quality of food affect those things listed above?
Let’s take a look!
What is a High-Quality Dog Food?
Most of us know that the cheap brands of dog food found in discount stores aren’t the best for our dogs…but why?
The answer lies in the ingredients of these foods. Low-cost dog foods are low cost for a reason. They use low quality, more affordable ingredients. These foods load up on cheap filler ingredients like grains. Instead of using lean proteins they depend on unnamed meat “meals.” In comparison, high-quality dog foods utilize more whole, species-appropriate ingredients.
What does species-appropriate food look like for dogs? It includes the following characteristics:
- Whole muscle meat
- High moisture content
- Low to no percentage of starches
- Animal fat content
- Fruits and vegetables
What Are the Benefits of Feeding a Species-Appropriate Dog Food?
When you feed your dog a food that is species appropriate, you will notice a wide range of benefits.
When you are hungry and you eat foods that are less than optimal to satisfy that hunger, you will notice that you become hungry again soon after. This is a result of how the body utilizes the nutrition that you offer to it. “Junky” foods are broken down quickly and the resulting macronutrients are used as fuel for the body. The poor quality fuel that results from these foods is burned through rapidly which results in a “sugar crash”.
The same principle plays into your dog’s diet. When they eat poor quality foods that are low in nutrition, ingredients in that food are broken down and used rapidly. When this happens, your dog is going to experience increased hunger within a short period of time. Additionally, some of the ingredients in low-quality foods are not used by the body at all! This is why you will notice that your dog uses the bathroom more often when you feel a low-quality food.
When you feed your dog a high-quality species-appropriate food, they will experience a higher level of satiety. This is due to the “usability” of that food’s ingredients. You see, a species-appropriate food targets ingredients that are optimal for your dog’s biological needs!
Good Muscle Tone
Just like us, our dogs require protein in their diet to maintain healthy cells, tissues, and organs in their body. Protein is the only source of the amino acids we need to repair these things when they are damaged through daily functions. If we do not provide good, high-quality proteins, our dogs have limited access to these necessary amino acids. What does this mean? It means that minimal repair can be performed and the result is muscle atrophy and poor muscle tone.
Providing high-quality protein, however, ensures that your dog gets the amino acids that they need to perform daily “maintenance” on internal systems.
Ever notice that when you eat a diet that is too high in fat or carbohydrates that you start to gain weight? The same thing happens to your dog! Unfortunately, because fats and carbohydrates are more affordable ingredients, cheaper dog foods are often full of them! This is why when you feed your dog a poor quality food, you will notice that their weight becomes harder to control!
High-quality dog food, in comparison, provides whole nutrition. For example, increased protein content, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats all provide nutrition without contributing to weight gain in the way that “junk” ingredients do.
Appropriate Energy Levels
Just like us, our dogs experience a level of energy that is a direct result of the food that they eat. The body requires energy to function. This energy is obtained through the breakdown of foods. Some foods break down faster than others and provide a fast release of energy. Some foods break down slower and provide a prolonged release of energy.
A good example of this is looking at how you feel when you eat a candy bar versus when you eat whole grain crackers as a snack. The energy from the candy bar is a fast release, but it isn’t long until you experience that “sugar crash” once your body has used up all of that fast release energy. When you eat the whole grain crackers, however, your body can “cut off” smaller “pieces” of fuel from the larger complex fuel sources. This means that energy is available over a longer period of time and the dreaded sugar crash doesn’t take place.
How is this relevant? The same process takes place in your dog’s body when they eat. High-quality dog foods provide energy sources that are usable over a longer period of time because they take longer to break down.
Once again we go back to how you feel when you eat a whole and nutritious diet versus how you feel when you eat a diet packed with junk food. You wouldn’t eat fatty take-out food and candy bars for the rest of your life! Your body needs real nutrition that provides necessary vitamins and minerals and so does your dog’s!
So How Do You Choose a High-Quality Dog Food?
The first thing you need to do is to talk to your vet or a canine nutritionist about your dog’s individual nutritional needs.
Depending on how active your dog is and any special needs they might have, what your dog needs is going to vary.
Once you know what your dog needs from a food, you can begin your research! Read food labels, compare brands, look at ingredients, and give your dog the nutrition they deserve!