Natural Balanced Dog Food

When you shop for natural balanced dog food, what should you look for when choosing the best product for your canine friend?  In general, the best natural dog foods achieve balance through the food ingredients they contain.  However, you need to know what to search for before you’re able to find truly natural and healthy options for your pet.  Most dog foods are marketed as ‘nutritionally balanced’ or ‘nutritionally complete,’ indicating that the constituent food ingredients have been supplemented with nutrients at the levels recommended by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), which is essentially a pet food industry regulated entity.   Although these recommended nutrient levels are based on individual research data collected by the National Research Council (NRC), these data cannot possibly reflect the actual needs of every pet, as even identical twins may exhibit metabolic differences based on environmental factors alone.  How can laboratory-based nutritional studies, or even laboratory-based feeding studies, compare to real life scenarios if even the qualities of the water supplied to the animals differs from lab to lab and home to home?  Moreover, most laboratory studies are conducted with ‘purified’ diets, which are a far cry from present-day commercial dog foods.   As well, the quality of nutrients added to attain the AAFCO established levels to allow dog foods to be marketed as ‘complete’ or ‘balanced’ are often of such low quality that they may actually pose risks to, rather than support, your dog’s health.  Many of these supplements are manufactured in China, where manufacturers may have low quality assurance and are often subject to little oversight.

A natural balanced dog food is composed of real food ingredients that supply the nutrients that your dog requires to maintain good health—just as nature intended.  Of course, supplementation with nutrients often becomes necessary when low-quality food ingredients are used, as is often the case in most so-called ‘balanced dog foods.’  Both non-certified and feed-quality ingredients alike contain low levels of nutrients, as well as a variety of toxic chemicals from agricultural and manufacturing processes.  Not surprisingly, pet food manufacturers balance these ingredients with added nutrients to provide at least some nutrition for your dog.  Moreover, the long shelf lives of most balanced pet foods—designed to accommodate consumer convenience—require the addition of preservatives, which in the best case are ‘natural’ (albeit often derived from cheap, genetically modified plant materials with high pesticide and other chemical residues).  In general, the bioavailability of all these added nutrients may be a far cry from optimal, as many of the supplemental vitamins and minerals may be not bioavailable.  Bioavailability of added nutrients is especially low in cases where pet foods or their ingredients have been treated with high heat, which can destroy most vitamins and all enzymes, and may denature all amino acids.

A true natural balanced dog food contains ingredients that are rich in the nutrients your dog requires.  High quality, organic, humanely raised animal-derived ingredients and properly grown, certified organic plant material are much richer in minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, essential fatty acids, and other nutrients than conventional (and significantly less expensive) ingredients.  Although natural balanced dog foods are necessarily more expensive than most conventional dog foods, they are unquestionably healthier for your dog.

Feeding your dog natural balanced dog foods gives you the unique opportunity to provide real food for your dog and reserve supplementation—with high quality nutritional supplements that are truly healthful and bioavailable—for times when such supplementation is required (i.e., after injury, during pregnancy, or to mitigate the effects of particular breed-associated chronic diseases that may occur in older dogs).  Ideally, natural balanced dog foods are either fresh or frozen, but may also be dehydrated for convenience.  But be careful: not all dehydrated natural balanced dog foods are created equal!  Even dog foods labeled ‘natural’ and ‘balanced’ may contain otherwise good quality ingredients that have been subjected to high heat before being mixed with other, lower quality, ingredients and dehydrated.  Given current laws governing the pet food industry, you, as your dog’s true guardian, must do your homework before serving him or her a natural balanced dog food!

Eric Taylor has years of expertise on pet care and pet rearing. He writes on dehydrated pet products, natural balanced dog food, holistic dog foods and pet treats that could be used as diet for your pets and ensure their health and wellness.

More Natural Balance Dog Food Articles

Tagged with:

Filed under: Dog Food News

Like this post? Subscribe to my RSS feed and get loads more!