I love my dog Nebula madly. 🙂
The croquettes are not sweets but the fulcrum of his power supply.
The choice croquettes for our 4-legged friends is not to be underestimated.
There quality of food ingested it is directly proportional to the well-being of the little pelosetto of the house so the croquettes must be chosen with the utmost care by analyzing each factor.
How to choose dog kibble by age? Click here
An idea to prepare croquettes for our friends at home? Here she is:
Croquettes, of course, are not the only food source for our trust, even if they are the main part, they must be alternated or enriched with wet food.
Among the so-called wet foods that dogs really like, there are some cooked vegetables, cooked meat and cans of pre-cooked food for dogs. As mentioned the croquettes should never be eliminated as they are designed to provide nutrients specifically dosed according to the sizes, age, breed and movement that our Fido is used to doing every day.
The automatic dog food dispenser
Let's start by talking about a beautiful gadget:
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I often happen to be away from home, since I live alone and since I have a very demanding job I don't always know who to entrust my Nebula to.
My sister gave me this last year automatic dog food dispenser and I must say that I really found myself very well.
The vending machine is equipped with a motor inversion system to ensure that the food does not get stuck. Furthermore, there is a nice integrated infrared sensor that sends a signal whenever the bowl is actually full, to alert the owner.
What I like most about this distributor is that it allows you to record a sound message with our voice to be able to warn our animals that it's time for lunch, certainly a great Pavlovian idea for not changing our animal's habits , who will be happy to continue to associate our voice with food.
Here is instead what I use as automatic water dispenser:
- The small water dispenser for pets uses the force of gravity to constantly guarantee fresh drinking water to the pet; ideal for dogs or cats in the apartment; suitable for one or more pets
- The tank, with a large opening, can hold up to 3.79 liters of water
How to choose the best croquettes for dogs?
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- Brand: MONGE
The canned wet food is often rich in fat and water, this makes the food tasty for the animals that prefer it to the dry one.
The cost of these foods is higher than the croquettes but they also provide a certain amount of nutrients that are important for the correct functioning of the canine organism even if they are deficient in essential amino acids. For this reason they should not be considered the basic food of our dog but simply a tasty addition.
It must also be said that chewing dry food helps the dog take care of oral hygiene and helps improve digestion.
Chewing, as happens with men, activates the digestive processes facilitating the absorption of nutritional elements that are not lost in the faeces, thus making the dog feel the need to feed again.
When the substances are absorbed correctly the daily quantity of food is less the animal feels in a state of well-being and therefore does not require other foods except for pure gluttony.
But how to choose the best croquettes for our four-legged friend?
Having several dogs and many dog lovers, I asked myself this question very often. Experience has led me to make choices rather than others but I have to say that changing dogs also changes the nutritional need and therefore the type of dry food.
Croquettes for medium-sized dogs
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- Brand: MONGE
For medium-sized dogs instead, the size of the croquettes can be normal and not reduced as they have a more developed set of teeth and a medium-large size stomach. A substantial difference between small and medium-sized dogs is that the latter have a slower metabolism, therefore it is advisable to administer foods rich in protein but with a low fat content.
Large dogs, on the other hand, need products made up of an adequate percentage of protein and carbohydrates and which are easily digestible to help their slow metabolism. For this kind of dogs the rich croquettes of Omega 3 are preferable, which have a beneficial effect on the heart and skin tissue of the animal.
How to choose the dog croquettes based on the breed
The choice of croquettes for our Fido must necessarily take into consideration the breed to which it belongs and the age range it is currently going through. These two parameters are two fundamental data on which dry pet food producers are often based, making packs of dry food designed specifically for the different types of dogs.
The nourishment of your four-legged friend is very important and the purchase of one or the other variety of dry food should not be taken lightly.
On the market there are packs of croquettes on which the breed or breeds to which they are destined is well highlighted. For example if you have a Russel Terrier you will have to buy croquettes suitable for the size of your mouth and with a formulation that contains EPA and DHA, two nutritional elements that strengthen bones and joints. This is very important for electrified dogs like the Russells who do not know the meaning of the word laziness.
Always in constant motion and with an infinite desire to play and jump wherever they need to receive, through nutrition, adequate nutrients.
If, on the other hand, you own a small pet, such as a pincer toy, it is better to opt for dry foods rich in vitamins and antioxidants in order to safeguard the health of the body and the aesthetics of the hair.
This must be shiny and firm, if there are many losses and it is off means that the dog is not well or does not have the right nutrients. Try then to change the type of croquettes and observe if there are changes both in the lucidity of the hair and in the vitality of the dog.
Otherwise go to the vet for a check-up so as to remove any doubt about possible pathologies. Usually the change of power solves the problem quickly and easily. Remember to always check the faeces which are another fundamental signal and to provide your Fido with a bowl of fresh water that is always very clean and that must be changed very often.
How to choose dog croquettes based on age
The age of the dog is another characteristic that cannot be forgotten in the choice of croquettes for dogs. It is enough to think of feeding children to understand that even the pelosetti puppies certainly cannot feed themselves in the same way as adult dogs. The physical and growth requirements impose a different formulation of the croquettes as well as the diversity of size and also the consistency that must adapt to the deciduous teeth of the puppies.
For these reasons the packs of croquettes for four-legged puppies are divided into distinct categories: puppy, junior, adult and senior.
Here are my favorite puppy croquettes:
they are designed to provide the growing puppies with vitamins and minerals suitable for the phase of psycho-physical development to which they are subjected. The supplied energy allows him to face this growing period giving him the right amount of nutrients to make them vital during the day but without weighing down the digestion. The size of the dry food is reduced to facilitate chewing with milk teeth and not very sharp. The protein content is about 6% as it is used to build the puppy's muscles.
The croquettes Junior
they must be administered after the first 6 months of life during periods of dog puberty. This type of feeding is ideal until the age of one and a half years after which the quality of Adult kibble is passed. Protein dosage is designed to facilitate the dog's bone and muscle construction. The transition from one type of crunchy to another must always be done in a gradual way so as not to create digestive and intestinal problems for the animal.
they are the food the dog will feed on for most of his life. These can be administered from the year of age up to 9/10 years of age depending on the breed. On the market you can find a great variety of these dry food for both taste and nutrients included (see nutrition table).
- Potatoes (no grain): recipe recommended for delicate animals because it uses potatoes as the only source of newly introduced and gluten-free carbohydrates
- Rabbit meat: ideal for dogs predisposed to food sensitivities because it is monoproteic: it uses the digestible and alternative proteins of the rabbit
The croquettes Senior
they are dry foods suitable for dogs in old age. Their composition is adapted to the needs of our four-legged friends who are over 9 years of age, an indication that varies according to the breed of the dog. As we humans, even the pelosetti getting older have different needs from adulthood.
The teeth begin to weaken and sometimes someone falls, so the croquettes must be made in order to facilitate chewing and digestion. There may also be intestinal problems due also to the reduced movement of the dog, therefore it is necessary that there are substances in the croquettes to solve this problem.
The consistency of the crunchies is softer to facilitate chewing and in the nutritional table you will be given the quantities of omega 3 and omega 6 that reduce joint inflammation. Older dogs should be fed regularly and without food changes so as not to subject them to physical stress due to change.
To be sure that you feed your puppy correctly with the certainty of providing him with healthy, high-quality food, it is important to evaluate different nutritional characteristics that can be found on every pack of croquettes on the market.
In case they didn't exist, which is impossible because they would be outlawed, don't buy them but report the impropriety to the shopkeeper or to the consumer association you prefer.
As I said on the back of each packet of dry food, the table is clearly marked in which vitamins, minerals, fats and all that is contained in it and the quantity can be read very clearly. We see in the next paragraph how to read the nutritional label of dog kibble.
On the packaging front, usually, the primary indications are given, that is, to whom that particular type of croquette is intended. You will therefore find written the name of the croquette and the brand, the writing junior, senior or midi, the age of the dog divided by bands, the size and often also the breeds.
There are many varieties of dry foods, so I will try to recommend the best croquettes for dogs on the market. Crunchies for pets are a type of dehydrated food, therefore deprived of humidity, and very nutritious.
A real concentrate of vitality to munch on and it is precisely by munching that the dogs clean their teeth and keep them strong, filed and healthy above all with some types of kibble that contain substances necessary to strengthen them. In order to properly assess the quality and the most suitable type for our puppy, we must learn to read the label and that's what we will do in the next paragraph.
How to read the label
To discover the qualities of a food, both for humans and for pets, one must learn to read the nutritional table printed on the back of the package. I know that often you do not want to read numbers and terms that you may not understand, but it is essential to find out if you care about the welfare of your puppy. If I did it, I assure you that you can do it very well too!
The law article that obliges dog food producers to print the nutritional table on the packaging is the EC regulation 767/2009 and is in force in all EU countries.
The nutritional table can be found in different forms, sometimes it is referred to as a simple list or the data is inserted in a real table with lots of diagram. Sometimes it is not very visible but surely you will find it on the package of croquettes which, otherwise, could not be sold. The products that are put on the market in our country must contain the description of the content in Italian.
Even for products purchased online, the same rule applies as those sold in physical stores with the difference that foods on e-commerce must show the ingredients and the nutritional table also in the description on the site. If it does not appear, you can request it by writing an email to customer support.
Of course it is not enough to read the nutritional table to realize the type of food we are buying but we must also know all the ingredients that make it up. One without the other does not provide sufficient information on the quality and type of dry food for dogs to choose to feed our four-legged friends.
In any case, the table contains important data on the 4 nutrient elements such as proteins, fats, fibers and mineral salts. To these are added carbohydrates and water, these two last data are hidden and must be calculated to obtain complete information.
We analyze each data individually and find out how to get all the useful information regarding dog food.
Proteins are a very important element for canine nutrition as they represent the building blocks that support the body and make up the muscles. For this reason it is important that they are present in sufficient quantity in daily nutrition. The protein requirement is not the same for all dogs but changes according to various factors, for example puppies need more protein than adults.
The choice of a type of dry food that contains an insufficient amount of protein prevents the animal from having the spare part it needs for daily activities. If the dog does a lot of movement as can happen for border collies that often compete in agility competitions, but also for very lively mestizos or females in the gestation or lactation period, the protein requirement increases.
Dry food for adult dogs must have at least 22% protein which can reach 30% in puppies. However, the legal limit indicates the lowest values of 18% for adult dogs and 25% for puppies. The problem is that these substances are not very assimilable therefore I recommend choosing a dry food that has a greater quantity.
Recent studies have shown that an excessive amount of protein does not create any problems for dogs as their body does not absorb those that are too much using only the necessary amount.
The quantity must instead be decreased if your four-legged friend is suffering from kidney or liver disease. The veterinarian will give precise indications after performing the necessary diagnostic tests. Generally though, the excessive amount of protein in the diet does not cause any problems to the dog.
Fats are an essential part of the daily diet of the small-headed house, they are in fact one of the fundamental energy sources. In dog kibble their concentration is usually 10/20% based on the carbohydrates present. The minimum legal limit for raw fat is calculated at 5.5%.
This substance represents the energy source that allows the pet to perform normal daily functions. An insufficient amount of fat means insufficient energy and the dog will tend to lose weight using all the reserves at his disposal.
On the contrary an excessive amount of fat leads to overweight and finally to obesity with serious consequences for his health especially in the advanced age of the dog. The fat is evaluated on the basis of carbohydrates, always contained within the dry food, as well as for the lifestyle of the pet. This means that the concentration of fat in dry foods changes according to the type of dog. It must also be said that fats are not all identical. Those with a higher nutritional value are polyunsaturated fatty acids such as PUFA, Omega 3 and Omega 6, these substances are not very present in dry dog food as they would activate the rancidity process. If necessary, the veterinarian will add them to the feeding via supplements.
Among the elements that make up the crunchy there is the fiber, an element that the dog cannot digest as it does not have the enzymes necessary to activate the digestive process, for this reason the fiber reaches the dog's intestine intact. Once in this organ two things can happen: the fiber is expelled through the faeces or some intestinal bacteria that make up the microbiota, they use these substances for carrying out its protective activity. The fiber found in dry dog foods has an important function of regulating the peristalsis of the intestine.
The ideal amount of fiber changes according to the needs of each individual dog and there is no legal minimum limit. It is not an element to be worried about unless problems are encountered in defecating. If the dog has a garden or let it run around in the meadows, he will find the right grass and feed on it to get the right amount of fiber. In the nutritional table it is indicated with the common name of Raw Fiber even if there are different types.
The ashes are those substances that when it comes to human foods are indicated with the name of mineral salts. The name derives from the fact that, when a food is analyzed to reveal each component, this is placed inside a sort of oven that reaches a very high temperature. The heat burns all the rest of the substances, that is to say fats and proteins, while the present water evaporates allowing it to isolate the mineral salts. Observing what remains from the thermal process can be defined as ash.
No legal minimum quantity of ashes has been indicated in the food but there is always a minimum quantity of mineral salts. In past times people used to say that if there were too many ashes it meant that the food was of poor quality, today the thought has changed because the foods that contain a lot of proteins also have a high percentage of mineral salts. A method for roughly assessing the ashes is to divide the amount of protein by the number of ashes. A high result demonstrates the excellent quality of dry food. The law requires the reporting of only two mineral salts: calcium and phosphorus. These values must necessarily correspond to a quantity that exceeds the legal minimum for dry food for dogs.
These limits range from 0.6% to 0.5%.
The water contained in a food is moisture and is not considered a nutritional element even if it alters the state of the food product. According to the amount of water they contain, foods are defined as dry, those that have a large amount of dry food instead, are called wet.
Dry foods can have a maximum humidity of 14%, a very low concentration considering that you cannot completely remove water from a food. Generally though, the quantity is even lower and is around 8%. The dehydration of foods allows to obtain a long conservation of the product.
When a company produces dry food, it is not obliged to indicate on the nutritional table, the quantity of water inside the dry food for dogs. Being a dry food, it is necessary to supplement the diet first of all with always fresh and clean water that must always be available.
Another important element that can be found on the nutrient label is carbohydrates. In reality they are not reported as the law does not oblige the producers to do so so not everyone is concerned about putting the quantity contained in the kibble for dogs. If we want to know it we need to calculate it using a particular formula that I write to you and explain below.
Carbohydrates = 100 – Proteins – Fats – Fibers – Ashes – 9
As you can see, it is enough to subtract from the number 100, or the total quantity of the food contained in the package, the concentration of proteins, fibers, fats and ashes. From the result obtained subtract 9, a number that represents the quantity of water present in the dry food, generally, if on the selected product you are given a different quantity subtract the one instead of 9.
The final figure is the percentage of what remains in that specific food after having removed all the rest of the nutrients, then the carbohydrates which, scientifically, are known as nitrogenated extractives. This formula is a simplified count and the result is used to get an approximate idea of the carbohydrate content, if you want to learn more there are many other considerations to make.
Carbohydrates, whether they are simple like sugar or complex like starches in potatoes, rice, corn and other plant foods, have an energy charge as they are fat. They are able to immediately supply the dog with energy if they are administered in adequate quantities, but if they are excessive they accumulate forming fat and bringing the pet into a state of obesity. Overweight in animals as in humans, leads to developing a series of diseases including heart disease and diabetes.
Carbohydrates are not a fundamental element in the animal feed regime and for this reason there is no legal minimum quantity to respect. This substance may also be absent without this causing problems for the pet. However, in every dry food there is always a dose of carbohydrates that usually falls within 15-20% of the total.
But what if carbohydrates are not needed because they are in dog kibble? The reason is purely technical, in fact the croquettes, which are made up of dried and powdered foods and nutritional substances, could not blend and stay together without the carbohydrates.
This means that even in the dry foods that carry the word Grain Free on the packaging there is a certain amount of carbohydrates, the difference is that in this case they are not derived from cereals but from plant foods such as peas, tapioca, lentils or potatoes.
Not being a fundamental nutrient for dogs, the less there is the better it is apart from particular cases that will be evaluated by the veterinarian. Accepted the fact that below the minimum quantity necessary to obtain the compound it is not possible to go down, it is necessary to know that if there are carbohydrates in large quantities those croquettes are not of quality.
In this case it is not a necessity of composition but an attempt by the company to reduce production costs by increasing their profits by playing with the health of the dog. Therefore, it is very important not to underestimate this fact, pausing to do the indicated calculation to be able to offer our four-legged friends a truly nutritious food and not a belly-fill that will make it a fat ball.
How to choose the best croquettes for dogs based on size
One of the factors that has an important influence on the choice of the best dry food for our four-legged friends is the size. In fact, as you can well understand, a Chiwawa cannot be given the same croquettes with which a German shepherd or an Abruzzese Maremma is fed.
Although the mini dogs are often seen slipping between the paws of the giants to steal giant croquettes, the little ones have known for their courage, curiosity and uncontrollable throat. However, this is not good as the nutrients that are good for a large dog are useless and excessive for a small dog that has other nutritional needs.
In the market there are packages of dry food for very generic and low-priced dogs, these consist of an average quantity of main nutrients but without specific characteristics for your friend pelosetto. In my experience and the advice I received from fellow breeders as well as from the vet himself, it is advisable to buy a more specific type of dry food following the characteristics of our little dog.
If it is small, its teeth will not be extremely developed and the digestive system will be small, for these reasons it is important to buy small and easily digestible croquettes.
In this way it will be easier for the puppy to chew and digest it without weighing it down or throwing it away.
Another feature to consider when talking about small dogs is the speed of metabolism that is accelerated compared to large ones. This involves choosing croquettes that contain a good concentration of proteins and fats so that they can have the right energy distributed throughout the day.
In conclusion to this article on the dry food choice for our four-legged friends we understand how the choice of croquettes for dogs must be based on fundamental factors such as: age, breed, size and lifestyle of the dog. This applies to dogs in good health, otherwise the veterinarian must give adequate advice on the correct feeding of pets depending on the pathology detected.
Experience has led me to choose dry foods as an essential base for the nutrition of my faithful friends, trying out the different brands available on the market until I find the one most suitable for each individual dog. In fact, I noticed that, as for us humans, every dog has a different tolerance and preference in terms of taste but above all in terms of digestive capacity.
For this reason I advise you to try different types of croquettes until you find the one best suited to your little dog, vitality, appearance of the hair and feces are the three main elements of evaluation to understand if the feeding is correct or must be changed.
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