Home & About Dog Foods & Supplies Cat Foods & Supplies Obedience Classes Lawn, Garden & Greenhouses Contact Us
Nickel Plate Mills in Erie, PA has a large variety of holistic cat and dog food.
We feature healthy and nutritious holistic Fromm Gold Dog Foods.
Nickel Plate Mills in Erie, PA carries pet food, supplies and care products.


Pet Foods & Supplies » Best Dog Foods

Choosing the Best Dog Foods:

Just as there is no single diet that works for all people, there is no single food that is best for all dogs, so why people think there might be one ideal food for every dog is beyond us!
Switch foods regularly. We know, you've always heard that you shouldn't switch your dog's food in order to avoid upsetting his stomach. This is only true if you never vary your dog's diet. Think about it, if you ate the same food every day for months at a time, then ate something different, your stomach would get upset too. You would probably be lacking some vitamins and minerals as well!

Say your dog eats the same food day after day, year after year. And say that food has a little more of a mineral than is ideal, or not quite enough of a vitamin, or an unhealthy ratio of this nutrient to that one. Over time, lacking any other foods to correct the imbalances, these problems can contribute to the development of diseases.

When you do switch your dog's food, do it gradually - over a period of 5 - 6 days at first - in order to avoid stomach upset or diarrhea. We recommend using 25% of the new food and 75% of the old for a few days, then slowly increasing the ratio of new to old over the next several days. If you change foods often, you can do it quickly, with no problems.

Ingredients to Look for in a Dog Food:

Keeping the previous principles in mind, (1. Kibble is not the most ideal diet; 2. No one food works for all dogs; and 3. You should switch your dog's food regularly, and 4. You are ready to look for a few good foods for your dog.

In order to find the best dog foods (that's plural!) for your dog, you have to try different foods and observe him to see what disagrees with him. If you see an improvement in conditions such as runny eyes, ear infections, itchy skin, severe gas or frequent diarrhea, then you're on the right track. If not, then try another food. We recommend that you keep ingredient lists to help identify what works for your dog and what doesn't.

Top quality dog foods can be identified by the following ingredients:

1. Animal protein at the top of the ingredient list.

Animal proteins have a higher biological value to dogs than plant proteins and are more palatable (your dog likes the taste better). Ingredients are listed by weight, so the food should have one or two animal proteins in the first five ingredients. The protein source should be named specifically - chicken, beef, lamb, duck, salmon, etc. "Meat" and "Animal protein" are examples of low- quality protein sources of dubious origin. Animal proteins such as "meals" should be named also. "Meat meal" can be - and is - just about anything, including carcasses from animal shelters.
Whole meats, such as "chicken" or "beef" do not contain enough protein to be used as a single source protein in dry dog food. They can contain as much as 65-75% water and only as much as 25-30% protein. When a whole meat appears at the top of a list, we prefer to see an animal meal named next (as in "chicken meal", or "lamb meal"), instead of a plant protein. Although a certain amount of bone, skin and connective tissue are included in animal protein meal, it consists primarily of cooked and dried ("rendered") muscle meat. Animal protein meals are dried to about 10% moisture and contain about 65% protein, so they reflect a more accurate measurement on the ingredient panel than do whole meats.

2. Whole vegetables, fruits and grains.

Fresh, unprocessed food ingredients contain wholesome nutrients with their vitamins, enzymes and antioxidants intact. They are also less likely to have any impurities. That being said, formulators often use a processed part of a grain or vegetable to accomplish a specific task in a dog food. For example, beet pulp is frequently used in a dog food because it will concentrate the dog's solid waste (resulting in smaller, firmer poop). We'd rather see whole foods used for this, but one or two food fragments won't hurt the overall quality of the food, especially if they are lower on the ingredient list.

Ingredients to Avoid:

Here are some of the things that the best dog foods should not contain:

1. Meat or poultry by-products.

Some non-muscle parts of food animals (such as internal organs) are highly nutritious - in some cases higher in protein and fat than muscle meat. But there are many other parts of food animals that are much less nutritious, and cost much less for the processor to use. They are considerably less carefully handled, processed and stored. Poorly handled meats (which contain fat) and fat sources can quickly become rancid. Rancid fats not only smell noxious, (your dog's food should smell good), and taste bad, they also speed the destruction of vitamins and nutrients in the food. In contrast, whole meats are expensive - too valuable to the processor to be handled carelessly. Their cost doesn't rule out poor handling and rancidity completely, but it makes it much less likely. For all of these reasons, we suggest avoiding any foods with by-products or by-product meal.

2. Corn, wheat and soy.

These grains have little nutritional value to dogs and are mainly just empty calories. Remember, dogs are carnivores. Their digestive systems are much shorter than ours, so these grain ingredients are only 20-30% digestible - and thus only 20-30% functional. Dog food manufacturers use them to keep the cost of the food down, but you need to feed your dog about twice as much of a grain-heavy food in order for them to get the protein and nutrients they need out of it. This results in over-weight, under-nourished dogs that don't live as long as they should. And remember, what you save in cheap dog food now, you will inevitably spend in veterinary bills later.

3. Added sweeteners.

Dogs, like people, love sweet foods. Many foods that consist mainly of grain fragments and little animal protein have sweeteners added (sugar, corn syrup, etc.) to get the dog to eat them. These types of foods lead to diabetes and other health problems later in your dog's life.

4. Artificial preservatives, such as BHA, BHT and ethoxyguin.

Natural preservatives, such as tocopherols (forms of vitamin E), vitamin C and rosemary extract, can be used instead. However, there should be some type of preservative listed in the ingredient list as preservation is necessary to keep the fats in the food from turning rancid.

5. Artificial colors.

The color of the food makes no difference to the dog. These useless chemicals are used in foods to make them look good to you. Your dog is better off without them.

Come see for yourself!

We want you to compare and judge our dog foods for yourself! Bring in the ingredient list from your bag of food and compare it to the ingredients found in the foods at Nickel Plate Mills. We guarantee that our foods have all of the ingredients to look for and none of the ones to avoid. We will be happy to help you find a food that is healthier and better tasting for your dog!

  Home & About | Dog Food & Supplies | Cat Food & Supplies | Obedience Classes | Lawn, Garden & Greenhouses | Contact Us>
© 2012 Nickel Plate Mills | Custom Design Website developed and maintained by Firefly Web Studios | Hosted by Engage IT