HOW your dog performs, looks, feels and acts are the best measures of the quality of food. At least 30 per cent of my clients reporting behavioural problems find a change of food changes unwanted behaviour.
Most foods are categorised as Economy, Regular, Premium, Super Premium and Performance. Regular and Premium foods are not formulated like a Super Premium or Performance food.
Dogs have simple stomachs and short digestive tracts for digesting meat. They also lack the saliva enzyme amylase, which is necessary for pre-digesting starch.
Checking the label of a Super Premium or Performance food an animal protein will be listed as the first or second major ingredient. These should include chicken, turkey meat, or poultry by products, meals, meat or pork meals or other animal by products. A least two sources of fat or oil should be included for adequate energy and essential fatty acids.
Fat is the dog’s source of energy. Animal fat contains essential and non-essential fatty acids and provides a highly digestible and easily metabolised energy source. Generally, poultry, turkey or chicken fat are higher in quality because they have more unsaturated fatty acids.
Vegetable oils, such as soybean, lecithin corn, wheat germ, sesame seed or linseed all contain high levels of linoleic acid, an essential fatty acid for dogs and should be combined with animal fats for the best long-term results.
Carbohydrates are the third most important nutrient and ingredient class in modern Super Premium and Performance foods. Simple carbohydrates in dog food come from quality sources like rice, oatmeal, corn or wheat.
Fibre, a complex carbohydrate is essential for proper digestion and stool formation. Beet pulp and tomato promace are both high in fibre. Other sources include rice, soy hulls, oat hulls, wheat bran and peanut hulls that come from the external portion of the seed coat. These sources, except peanut hulls, have microscopic sharp edges, which can cause small cuts in the intestine. Peanut hulls however, have the potential of being contaminated with aflatoxins and should never be used in a quality dog or cat food.
Vitamin and mineral fortification is a necessity and provides some of the most crucial nutrients. Often the list of micro nutrients is much longer than the list of major ingredients. Expect this list in all dog foods. Super Premium usually feature more than one source for each vitamin and mineral. The ingredient list will be longer compared to non-premium foods.
It’s not recommended you add anything by way of food supplement, or vitamin to Super Premium Foods.
To sum it up lets compare Regular/Economic foods to Regular Petrol, then a Premium food to a Premium petrol, and of course Super Premium food to a Super Premium petrol. That’s a simple example and indication. I wouldn’t put diesel in my car!