You try to make healthier choices for yourself—doesn’t your dog deserve the same? If you’re like most people, including us before we started our mission, you’ve probably never been told what’s really in many commercial grade dog foods, or the benefits of natural dog food. Well, we’re here to give you the knowledge you need to feed your dog high quality dog food made with quality ingredients.
Better ingredients make better food
You want the best for your dog, and the experts say that natural dog food is it. On this website, we’ll introduce you to excellent natural dog foods that use human-grade ingredients, natural preservatives and that are minimally processed. These natural dog foods stand in stark contrast to many commercial dog foods that are packed with cheap fillers, chemical preservatives, artificial colors, sweeteners, and other downright revolting ingredients like animal byproducts—low grade animal parts that are not fit for human consumption, such as bones, organs, blood, fatty tissue and intestines, some of which are from animals that have long been dead, dying, disabled or diseased.
Is that stuff really in dog food?
Yes! And it should come as no surprise that some commercial dog foods have ingredients that have been implicated in a number of illnesses and diseases, ranging from pancreatitis, skin allergies, cancer, obesity, food intolerance, and inflammatory bowel disease, to chronic ear infections, bladder and kidney stones, certain heart diseases, hip dysplasia, bloating, and diabetes, to name a few.
At Natural Dog Food Express, we demand more from dog food manufacturers and only offer you natural dog food that meets our standards.
What is natural dog food?
Natural dog food is dog food that doesn’t contain artificial preservatives, sweeteners, colors or products and provides properly balanced nutrition for dogs. Natural dog food should include high-quality ingredients, species-specific meat sources listed at the top of the ingredient label, unprocessed fruits, vegetables and grains further down the ingredient list, very limited use of corn, soy and wheat, and contain no by-products. Seems straightforward enough — but without having been taught the basics, it’s difficult for consumers to determine quality dog food from low-grade commercial dog food, which uses fillers as its primary ingredients. To make matters worse, dog food labels don’t tell us how much of each ingredient is in the food, and some of those brands with the clever “healthy” looking packaging are the biggest offenders. Following are guidelines to help you make healthier choices for your dog.
Avoid cheap plant-based and other fillers
Very simply, dogs are carnivores and should be eating a diet that consists largely of meat. Look at their sharp teeth, which are designed to shred and tear meat, as opposed to flat teeth designed to grind grains. As carnivores, dogs have other key anatomical qualities uniquely different from plant-eating species. For instance, dogs have enzymes and a high concentration of stomach acid for digestion that breaks down protein and fat from meat, but not from plants or grains. Therefore, while grains contain protein, dogs don’t have the digestive enzymes required to digest, absorb and use plants. So plant protein is not as useful for dogs. Meat, on the other hand, contains proteins of a much higher quality and more appropriate for a dog than plant proteins. Dogs also have simple and short intestinal tracts where meat is more easily digested than plants.
While dogs are designed to be meat eaters, sadly, most dog foods are significantly based on grains or other plant matter because those products are cheaper than meat. Unfortunately, while less expensive, cheap plant-based and other fillers offer your dog less nutritional benefit.
Look for meat-based dog food that is species-specific
A primarily meat-based dog food is more biologically appropriate for dogs. And, the best dog food is made from high quality or human-grade natural meat. Has your dog ever gone wild when you lifted the lid on the corn pot or opened the cereal box? We’re guessing not. How about when your dog caught a whiff of fresh meat? Dogs love meat! And unless they have a particular health issue or sensitivity, they need the protein.
Don’t be concerned by the term “meal” on the label, which only means that the meat ingredient has had the water removed prior to being ground up. In fact, because meal has already been dried, it will not drop any more in weight, which means that it has a higher proportion of protein than meat with water and moisture still in it. What is more important is the quality of the meat product, not whether it is in meal form or not.
When reading dog food labels, look for meat and fat ingredients that are specifically identified by species. For instance, look for “chicken” rather than “poultry,” and “beef” instead of “meat.” Similarly, look for specific fats like canola oil, chicken fat, olive oil, Omega 3, or Omega 6. Why? Because meats and fats that are not identified by species are very likely to be of very poor quality and really could be anything that falls into the broad category. As they say, “parts is parts” . . .
No grain fillers and limited whole grains
While grains are not essential for dogs, if there are grains on the label, look for quality whole grains and avoid dog foods that contain grain fillers, which have little nutritional value. Grains and grain fillers like peanut hulls, rice hulls, wheat gluten meal, ground whole corn, corn gluten meal, or soy bean meal should not be the first ingredients on the label (remember, look for meat first).
Fruits and vegetables can be beneficial
Although fruits and vegetables are also not a necessary part of a dog’s diet, they are beneficial, especially blueberries, apples, peas, carrots, sweet potatoes, beans, potatoes, broccoli, and spinach, and they are generally preferable to large amounts of grain.
At Natural Dog Food Express, we say avoid dog foods containing byproducts. Meat byproducts consist mainly of animal parts that are not used for human consumption, such as bones, organs, blood, fatty tissue and intestines. To be fair, some folks have no problem feeding their dogs byproducts, since ancestral wolves would eat all parts of an animal, including bones, beaks, lips, etc. However, we generally wouldn’t feed something to our dogs we wouldn’t want to eat ourselves, and we’re not fond of parts.
There is also a low-quality ingredient called “animal digest,” which is a byproduct of the meat rendering process. Although there is meat content in animal digest, it’s not very digestible and it is of little nutritional value to dogs.
No artificial preservatives or products
Avoid dog foods that contain artificial colors or flavors, such as Red 40, Blue 2, Yellow 5 and 6, and any other such dyes. Also steer clear of sweeteners like any kind of corn syrup, sugar, sorbitol, sucrose, fructose, cane molasses, glucose, ammoniated glycyrrhizin, propylene glycol. And avoid preservatives—especially those believed to be carcinogenic or that are banned from use in the human food chain. In dog food, principally these are butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA), butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), ethoxyquin, and propyl gallate. Instead, look for natural preservatives such as tocopherols (Vitamin E), and ascorbic acid (Vitamin C).
Also beware that some ingredients, especially fish products, contain artificial preservatives not disclosed on the ingredient list. If they are not added by the manufacturer, they are not required to be listed. To be safe, look for dog foods that do not contain artificial preservatives.
High quality, natural dog food results in fewer digestive problems, a healthier coat, and firmer stools. Also, since dogs absorb more nutrients from high quality dog food, they’ll eat less of it and less is passed as waste.
We know that’s a lot of information, but the good news is that we’ve done a lot of the work for you, because we only offer high quality, natural dog food. We invite you to join our family at Natural Dog Food Express today and let us bring a bag to your front door!