Feeding Your Dog
dry dog foods were introduced in the United States during the late 1890s
in the form of baked biscuits made with blended grains, vegetables and meat.
Many of the early pet foods were collectively labeled "dog and cat
food diets" and little was known about the individual nutrient requirements
of dogs and cats. However, as animal nutritionists began to study the nutritional
needs of dogs and cats, certain unique nutrient requirements were established
for each species.
Most dry dog foods contain 18% to 27% protein, 7% to 15% fat, less than 12% moisture and 35% to 50% carbohydrate (also expressed as N.F.E. or nitrogen-free extract). These diets deliver between 1,400 and 2,000 metabolizable kilocalories per pound of product.
In addition to distinguishing pet foods based on their form, products are also distinguished more generally based on the criteria of cost, place of purchase, nutrient density (number of calories per pound) and, to a lesser degree, palatability and digestibility. Super premium, premium and non-premium products can all offer 100% complete and balanced nutrition. No official definitions exist for these categories of pet foods and the characteristics of products vary from one manufacturer to another. In general, super premium products tend to be at the high end of the spectrum for the distinguishing characteristics, premium products fall in the mid-range and non-premium products tend toward the lower end of the spectrum for cost and nutrient density. Super premium foods are generally sold in pet specialty stores and veterinary offices, and usually have more calories per pound of food. Premium foods are traditionally sold at grocery stores but are also available in pet specialty outlets. These types of products are moderately priced. Grocery stores, most pet stores, department type stores and feed stores often carry non-premium pet foods which are very inexpensive.
Some pet foods are designed with palatability as their distinguishing feature. These products often have kibbles with different sizes and shapes and carry various flavor claims. They appeal to pet owners interested in indulging their pet and providing great variety.
Store-brand products are those
pet foods sold under the store's name as opposed to a national brand name.
These foods are designed to offer similar guarantees, ingredients and
performance to the nationally advertised brands at a lower price.