How to choose healthy, dog food & treats
Choosing healthy food and treats for our dogs can be difficult. When we enter a pet shop or look at an online store, there is a bewildering array of food and treats that all look and sound delicious So how do you choose the ones that are healthy and good quality?
It is all about the label, not the one on the front that promises you all sorts of fabulous things but the ingredients label on the back which is where the truth lies
Things to look for:-
Clear & honest ingredient lists that you can understand and identify the ingredients. These are fixed formulation products where the ingredients will be same every time.
Healthy, natural & hypo-allergenic – this means that the product does not contain any artificial colours flavours or preservatives and is more suitable for dogs with a sensitive digestion
No artificial colours, flavours or preservatives – make sure it is all three. Colours are just for your benefit, your dog doesn’t eat by colour. If you use quality ingredients then there is no need to add any artificial flavours and we can use air drying, rosemary and Vitamin E to preserve pet food naturally so there is no need for chemical preservatives
Meat Content – did you know that if it says “with Chicken” on the front it only needs to contain 4% Chicken? I am confident that is not what you think you are buying when you pick up that pack because you know your dog loves chicken. Check the meat content, make sure it is a reasonable amount
4% meat is never enough for anything, especially food.
Grain Free – not every dog needs to have a grain free diet although it does seem to be better for dogs with a sensitive digestion and all our foods are grain free as are many of our treats. We do not use wheat in any of our products as it is a very common cause of itching and stomach upsets in dogs.
Country of Origin – Due to the quality of the products and the illnesses and deaths that have been recorded after feeding treats from China, many owners prefer not to feed any treats made in China but how do you ensure that you don’t?
Unfortunately, it is not a legal requirement to put the Country of Origin on the packaging, the only requirement is that there are some contact details. So look for the words “Made in UK” or “Made in EU”. If it states a UK or European address but doesn’t say “Made in” then that company may only be a distributor. The only way to find out is to ring the company and ask where they source their products from and if they are originally from China.
It is more likely that dog treats sold in discount stores and supermarkets are from China as they often much cheaper than those in a pet shop.
If in doubt, don’t buy it.
Ethical Accreditation – always worth looking out for, it means that the company have been independently audited and approved by the Ethical Pet food Company, this is a very strict process and generally only 20% of any market sector gain approval.
What to be wary of:-
Vague descriptions such as cereals, meat & animal derivatives, of vegetable origin or derivative
These are called categories and are deliberately meant to be vague. They allow the company to vary the ingredients they use based on what is available or at the best price at the time of manufacture.
Cereals – this will almost always contain wheat which is the most common cause of itchy skin & coat and dogs and can also cause stomach upsets. As you don’t know which cereals may be in the product it is better to avoid
Meat & Animal Derivatives – could be any type of meat of any type of quality and if your dog has an intolerance or allergy to any particular protein, you don’t know what is in it so it may cause a reaction
Vegetable origin/derivatives – again, this is not clear what exactly is in the product
What flavour is it really? Always check that the protein source quoted on the front is the only one listed in the ingredients. Venison for example is expensive and when you check the ingredients you may find that your product labelled Venison is actually mixed with Beef. This may not be a problem but could be if your dog has an intolerance to Beef which is why you are buying Venison in the first place.
All Feelwells Venison products are 100% Venison
Sugar & Salt – dogs do not need either sugar or salt in their diet, avoid any products that list either of these as an ingredient
Made in China/PRC – as stated previously, these may not be best quality and there have been many reports of illness and death following the eating of these products. Avoid
All Feelwells products are healthy, natural and hypo-allergenic
We do not use any artificial colours, flavours, preservatives, wheat, soya, sugar, salt or GM ingredients
All our products are fixed formulation, you get the same ingredients every single time
Our ingredients lists are clear and honest, everything is listed, understandable and identifiable
All our products are made in the UK or the EU – none of our products come from China
We are dog owners too and we wouldn’t feed anything to your dogs that we wouldn’t feed to our own