Most dog foods contain lots of animal by-products, referred to as "meal", ie chicken meal. Basically, it's the leftovers, like the beaks and bones (yeah, yuck). Also, most contain lots of wheat gluten. All of that is tough for a dog to digest.
Look for natural foods, such as California Naturals, Wellness 5, Propack, Nutro Natural Choice, or Canidae (I use this one). They all have REAL meat - no by-products. The bag should advertise that. Canidae is the best for staying away from high amounts of wheat gluten. All that is is filler. Many dogs are allergic to wheat flour.
There are also vegetarian dog foods out there. I've not tried any yet but am considering it. Let me know if you find a good one.
We buy different brands because our dog will get sick of it, or she will start reacting to it (she is really old). We always make sure that it doesn't contain "meal". I'm strongly against Purina, especially that kind for over weight dogs. That kind gave our dog bloat and almost killed her.
I just started buying a new brand called Blue (www.bluebuff.com). My vet told me that unlike the "meal" used in most other foods, Blue contains all grade A ingredients (people quality, which I know still isn't great, but better than most). The ingredients are all natural and they go through a special process when making it so that the nutrients aren't lost during heating (which is the case with almost all other foods on the market.) It was developed by Dr. Bob Goldstein who is a pretty well-known homeopathic veterinarian. It is very high end so it is more expensive than other brands, but 100% worth it. Our dog was on it for only a month and people started to comment on how shiny her coat was all of the sudden.
And on a side note, one of the cute things about it is that you can submit a pic of your dog to the company and they make a trading card out of it and put it in bags of their food.
We sent ours in and are patiently waiting to see our pooch in the next bag we buy!
I buy Nutro Natural Choice. Never knew about the stuff until a Nutro Rep. educated me at the store one day. It's a premium dog food that doesn't contain all the by-products other commercial foods contain. It's not any more or less expensive than any other premium food.
I've noticed because it has fewer by products and fats that the volume of stool has reduced and the consistency and stink factor has improved. My dogs also experience less gas than with other foods.
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