The dog food nutrition labels, like the nutrition facts box on packaged foods for people, are designed to help you compare products and to learn more about the food.
Reading your pet food label is one of the best ways to determine the quality of the food you are feeding. The ingredients and the guaranteed analysis (amounts of protein, fat, fiber, and other nutrients) are included on the food label. In addition to providing information about the amount and quality of protein and fat, the label will also provide the ingredients and general feeding guidelines.
Many pet food makers follow model regulations set by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) that establish the minimum amount of nutrients needed to provide a complete and balanced diet. The statement may say the food is formulated to meet AAFCO standards or that it has been tested in feeding trials and found to provide complete nutrition.
The AAFCO statement also should say what life stage the food is appropriate for. For puppies, look for a food suitable for growth or all life stages. For adult dogs, look for adult maintenance or all life stages. Nutritional needs for senior dogs can vary, depending on health conditions, and there is no AAFCO standard for senior food.
Don't let the advertising fool you! Blue Buffalo for example has salt listed as a top ingredient. Only .3% of salt per cup of dog food is needed. Orijen has been consistently ranking high for many years. It is what your Doodle eats while at Labradoodles of Long Island.
What is the best dog food on the market? There is no one best food for all dogs. The very fact that there are so many types and brands on the market shows that there are hundreds of options and opinions. Some dogs need higher fat and protein than others; some prefer canned over dry. Feed what is appropriate for your pet: dogs need dog food, and puppies need puppy food. Do not switch brands every month, but do not be afraid to switch brands and find one that your pet does well on.