Selecting a good quality healthy canned dog food is important to your dog’s health. Canned dog foods have relatively more fat and protein and fewer carbohydrates than dry and semi-moist foods, as well as containing much higher levels of animal products, so they are much better for canine health than diets high in dry foods.
But what makes up a good canned dog food, what should it contain and what shouldn’t contain?
Ingredients in Healthy Canned Dog Food
The macro mix of a healthy canned dog food should be around 5% fat, 10-50% protein and 50% carbohydrate. Some dog foods are filled out with filling agents which are used to add caloric value or volume to the diet but have no or very little nutritional value so watch out that your canned dog food doesn’t contain too much of these ingredients such as water, wheatgerm and cellulose.
Other carbohydrates to look out for are potatoes, corn and wheat because these are three ingredients that are in the top five allergens list for dogs. Many dogs have either an allergy to one of more of these ingredients or an intolerance to them. The result of this is often digestive issues like flatulence, bloating, lack of appetite, vomiting and bad breath. Other signs may be dry skin conditions and dull coat.
Choice of protein source is also important to consider. Protein is essential to dogs as it contains ten essential amino acids which a dog’s body does not produce naturally. So protein provides these essential cellular building blocks. Protein derived from animal meat is higher in amino acids and vitamins and minerals, but also plant based proteins and legumes can replace these if you wish your dog to have a vegetarian diet. As dos get older they require higher protein levels to maintain muscle mass and energy levels, and these may exceed 50% of diet in some cases.
While fat is essential also for dogs, the fatty acids providing the Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids required for good health, some protein sources are high in fat and can lead to obesity in dogs. Follow your knowledge of human diet when it comes to choice of healthy meats, but do bear in mind that dogs because of their metabolism and energy levels can tolerate more fat than humans and still maintain a good physique.
Bear in mind that chicken is also one of the key allergens for dogs so while many manufacturers are no longer using chicken in generic foods, you may need to check the ingredients list for chicken if you’re yet to identify which food ingredients are causing allergic reaction in your pet.
Other things to consider are that there are hypoallergenic dog foods on the market that eliminate soy, chicken, potato, wheat and corn, but also eliminate other additives, preservatives and artificial flavors from the ingredients list. So if you want super healthy perhaps this is a good choice for your dog, or learn from what they’ve eliminated.