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How to Pick a Healthy Pet Food

Different animals have different nutritional requirements. Before you pick any food it is essential that you consider the following

- Age: Younger animals require more calories than adults. Old animals on the other hand will require diet with low calories, high protein and high fibre dog food.

- Health status

- Size: Large breeds will generally have higher requirements than small breeds

- Physical activity: Dogs that have high levels of physical activity will have higher nutritional requirements

- Physiological state: A pregnant bitch will need a food high in protein on the other hand one that is lactating may require food that has high levels of calcium and phosphorus.

What should you look for in healthy pet food?

1. Nutritional balance

A good food will have adequate levels of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, minerals and vitamins. If the food is good it will not require any form of supplementation.

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2. Quantity of nutrients

The law requires that ingredients are listed by weight. This means that those ingredients that are listed first are higher in quantity in the food. Go for a food that lists proteins first rather than fats or carbohydrates.

Any food that has fillers high up in the list is a no-go zone. These fillers are only a source of empty calories.

3. Quality

Sources of nutrients will differ in terms of quality as well as digestibility. A good food will have high quality nutrients that are readily digestible. E.g. Plants such as corn and soy may provide the necessary levels of carbohydrates but they are not readily digestible and may cause allergies in some pets. Carbohydrate sources that are desirable in a healthy food are barley, oats, millet or brown rice.

Good protein sources are animal protein such as chicken, lamb or fish. Stay away from any food that uses animal by-products.        

4. Cost

Sometimes people are tempted to go for some food just because they are cheap. Remember cheap is expensive!

Buy premium food, while it might cost you more, you are less likely to have problems. It ensures that your pet has a nutritious and balanced meal.       

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5. Preservative

Ideally a healthy food should not any artificial preservatives. If you find a strange ingredient in the list you are not too sure off be sure to consult as it may be a preservative or filler. Natural preservatives found in dog food are Vitamin E or Vitamin C. Some foods may also use citric acid as a natural preservative.

6. Additives

Most additives in dog food will either be vitamins, minerals or essential fatty acids. Additives such as omega 3 are a plus for your dog since they are good for improving coat condition as well as strengthening the immune system.

Minerals serve different purposes they are good for bone growth as well as general body condition.

It is important to remember that dogs are different from humans. That means that even if you are a vegetarian, your dog need not be one. Dogs are carnivores by nature and require meat as part of their diet. If you like taking chocolates or candy, keep this away from your dog. Some of these foods may be poisonous for the dog and may cause health problems.

Above all keep in mind that your dog also has likes. Go for a food that your dog will enjoy.

I highly recommend that you get yourself a copy of John Miller's "245 homemade healthy dog food recipes".

After years of new improvements, John reveals --FOR YOUR OWN USE-- the best recipes to transform your dog into the healtiest dog of your dreams.

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