What defines semi-moist commercial dog food?
Commercial dog foods shaped like pork chops, burgers, or other meaty foods are called semi-moist foods. These kinds of foods are the least nutritional of all dog foods and contain many artificial flavors and colorings. They can be given to your dog as an occasional treat, but they should not be considered a diet in themselves, because they do not provide the nutrition that your dog requires.
Semi-moist dog foods are created mostly from meat by products and vegetable protein. They are pricier than dry foods, but they aren’t good for dental care because there’s no crunch to “scrub” the teeth—and they stick to the teeth and gums.
There are also dog foods that come in canned and dried kibble versions, but you should read labels thoroughly. Some things for which to look:
• Dog food ingredients: Avoid dog food with corn, soy, or another vegetable listed as the first ingredient; meat or meat-by-products should be listed first.
• Nutrients: According to the American Association of Feed Control Officials, or AAFCO, growing or reproducing dogs need their diet to contain a minimum of 22 percent protein, eight percent fat; 1 to 2.5 percent calcium, and 0.8 to 1.6 percent phosphorous.
An adult dog that has finished growing and is not reproducing requires about 18 percent of its diet to be protein, five percent fat, 0.6 to 2.5 percent calcium and 0.5 to 1.6 percent phosphorus.
The activity level of a dog also plays a significant part in what specific nutrients she needs. A working dog or dog that has a higher energy level will require more nutrients, and thus more food, while a less active dog requires fewer nutrients and food.
• Labels: Look for dog food with an AAFCO-certified label that guarantees the food meets nutritional requirements for each stage of a dog’s life. AAFCO determines those requirements by laboratory or computer analysis and by feeding trials.
• Nutritional supplementation: Should not be necessary if your dog is receiving a quality food that meets all of its daily nutritional needs. Added nutrients can cause a variety of musculoskeletal problems, conditions of the nervous system, and an overall decline in the health of your dog.