2.1. Selecting the best commercial food for German Shepherd
Here are the things that You have to look for in a commercial food (dry form - kibble or a wet canned form):
- Human grade ingredients (USDA approved)
The best commercial dog food companies will use human grade dog food ingredients.
- Ingredients sourced locally from USDA inspected facilities or from reputable countries
- Protein content (the meat)
Protein is the most vital substance in a dog’s diet. You can get an immediate tip-off regarding the quality of the dog food, just by studying the meat component.
- Check the position of the meat ingredient on the label.
- Check how many times it is listed before the fat source.
- Check whether or not the type of meat is specified.
The type of meat MUST be specified, such as chicken, beef, salmon, etc.
Avoid dog food brands with the words “meat” or “meat meal” listed without any specific animal mentioned, for example, "meat and bone meal".
Avoid the word “by-product” - of any kind - whether its source is named or not!
- Quality sources of fat
Check that all fat sources are specified. Look for chicken fat, olive oil, canola oil, flax oil, etc.
In addition, the presence of Omega Three and Omega Six, gives a very good indication of one of the best commercial dog food.
Avoid dog food brands that contain non-specific fats, such as “meat fat”, “poultry fat”, “vegetable oil”, lard, etc.
- Quality grains
Grains are not essential to the canine diet. The best commercial dog food products will either contain no grains at all, or they will not appear in abundance before the fat source on the labels.
All listed grains must be quality ingredients such as rice, barley, oats, etc.
Avoid dog foods that list excessive grains and fillers among the first few ingredients on the labels (ground whole corn, corn gluten meal, wheat gluten meal, soy bean meal, etc.).
Avoid unspecified grain sources.
- Fruits and vegetables
Although fruits and vegetables are also not essential to a dog's diet, many of the best commercial dog food manufacturers include them in their products.
Quality vegetables to look for: potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, peas, beans, broccoli, spinach, etc. Fruits to look for: apples and blueberries.
Avoid food that contains onions, apple pomace, grape pomace or citrus pulp.
- Label of dog food preservatives, colors and other chemical additives
Look for natural preservatives such as Tocopherol (Vitamin E), and Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C).
Avoid artificial dog food preservatives and chemical additives:
(BHA) Butylated hydroxyanisole
(BHT) Butylated hydroxytoluene
Artificial Colors and Flavors
Sweeteners (Cane molasses, corn syrup in any form, sugar, sorbitol, sucrose, fructose, glucose, ammoniated glycyrrhizin, propylene glycol)
Menadione (Might be listed as "Vitamin K3" or "Dimethylprimidinol Sulfate").
2.2. Dry form - kibble or a wet canned form
Dogs prefer canned food because there is not only a much greater variety of flavors, but the canned food is approximately 70% to 80% moisture, while in dry food it's only about 10% moisture.
From a food nutrients point of view, dry food contains nearly 90% nutrients, with canned food being only approximately 1% and canned food is usually soya based products that are made to look like meat. Some are beef or chicken based and mineral and vitamin supplements are added to improve your dog's health.
Canned dog food cost more than dry food and costs can vary widely depending on quality and brand name. However, the final decision tends to be left to your own dog... what suits one dog may not suit another.