Feeding and Nutrition, Nutrient Requirements of Dogs, Classification of Dog Foods, Premium foods, Generic foods.

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Feeding and Nutrition
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Classification of Dog Foods

The first way to classify dog foods is based on which age group they are formulated for: a puppy, adult, or senior (less active).

The second way to classify dog foods is by their quality. Dog food is often categorized as popular, premium, or generic. What these categories are based on is the percentage of protein, fat, and fiber in the food as well as on the quality of the main ingredients and whether preservatives or artificial ingredients are used. Popular foods are the national or regional brands that you find in grocery stores. They're made by well-known manufacturers that spend a lot of money researching canine nutritional needs and testing their foods by feeding them to dogs. One potential disadvantage of these foods is that their formulas can vary from batch to batch, depending on the cost and availability of their ingredients. Some dogs suffer tummy upset when their diets change, so this is a factor to consider in choosing a dog food. In general, popular foods aren't as digestible as premium foods, but they're of better quality than generic foods.

Generally speaking, the performance and premium foods have higher levels of protein and fat, with reduced fiber for a smaller stool. Too much protein can be stressful to the kidneys, but that's after years of consuming a high-protein food. This is not a concern in puppies. Puppies have higher requirements for protein, fat, vitamins, and minerals than adult dogs.

Premium foods are expensive, but because of their higher digestibility you can feed less of a premium food than of a popular or generic food, which brings down the cost per serving. Premium foods are often labeled as organic or natural. That definitely sounds good, but it doesn't have any real meaning. The term "natural" doesn't have an official definition. Instead, it is usually used to mean that a food doesn't have any artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives.

Generic foods have poor quality ingredients such as protein, vitamin, minerals and fat. Generic foods are low cost, but because of their lower digestibility you can feed lot of a generic food than premium food.