8 weeks old Springer Spaniel Puppy
The first ingredient in your dog's food should be a specified meat. Not a meat by-product, but the real thing. Puppies and adult dogs were not meant to eat corn and wheat. If the first ingredient in your dog food is a corn, wheat, meat by-product, bone meal or anything but a real specified type of meat, steer clear. By-products are the leftovers, such as the eyes, hooves, skin, feathers and feet, that are not good for human consumption (unless the dog food specifically states otherwise.) Beware of ingredients that do not list exactly what it is, such as words like "animal" and "meat" as opposed to "chicken, " "beef, " "duck, " etc. See Rendered Products in Dog Food.
The first ingredient on the label should represent what the dog food is most made out of, but beware, as this is not always the case...
Using chicken as an example, when a dog food lists a meat in the ingredients such as "chicken" it is going by the weight in the meat’s raw state, before it was cooked.
Chicken in its raw state weighs about 80% more than it does once it is cooked and processed into a dry pellet. Once it is processed you are left with only 20% of the actual meat.
The word "meal" in an ingredient is something that was weighed after the water was taken out. For example "chicken meal" is chicken which is weighed after it has been cooked and the water has already been taken out, giving you more meat and protein per weight volume.
Therefore be aware that if the ingredients read "chicken" first and "corn meal" second, the food may contain more corn than chicken. Corn is a filler that a dog's body does not utilize well, if at all. The corn gets pooped out and the dog must eat more food in order to get enough protein and nutrients that their bodies can use from the other ingredients in the food.
Corn can also cause many issues. Dogs were not meant to eat corn or other grains. Corn has been linked to skin allergies, joint swelling and bloat in dogs, among other things. See Corn in Dog Food. Really?
Take a look at your dog's teeth. Notice that he does not have any grinding molars. They are all ripping canines. This tells us that dogs were not meant to eat grains, as they lack the teeth to grind them up. Dogs have pointy canines for ripping into meat. A lot of dogs develop skin problems and other health issues, including bloat, due to the grains they are being fed in their dog food.
It is best to feed dogs a grain-free diet. While the better quality dog food may cost more, the dog can eat less of it since their bodies use more of what they are eating, producing less waste. Not to mention the vet bill if your dog develops issues from consuming a low quality food. Be sure to read the ingredients label of the dog food you are using. You may have trouble finding a good quality food at a grocery store and may have to go to your local pet store to find a higher grade food.