A Quality Diet
Dogs that are fed a low-quality diet often have chronic ear infections, eye discharge, diarrhea, frequent bouts of vomiting, skin problems, allergies, and hyperactive temperaments. Not all of these ailments are caused solely by a dog's diet, but poor nutrition does not support a healthy immune system and therefore makes the dog more prone to problems. The best way to help your Golden Retriever get a balanced, high-quality diet is to educate yourself, as a consumer and a dog owner, and to buy the very best food you can.
Commercial Dog Foods
Many people are surprised to learn that commercial dog food has only been available for the past fifty years or so. Before that time, dogs lived on meat scraps and leftovers, and they were no less healthy than dogs today. In some ways, dogs that lived fifty years ago were even a bit healthier; for one thing, they had far fewer allergies and skin conditions.
The convenience of a processed food has brought with it some very undesirable side effects. The main problem with commercial dog food is the variation of the quality of the ingredients from brand to brand. Contrary to what you may have been led to believe, not all dog food is the same. As with many things in life, you get what you pay for.
Price Matters … But Beware
Price alone does not guarantee the quality of a good dog food, but good quality ingredients do cost more. The best dog foods are not cheap. Most of the larger companies don't invest in that market because the profit margins are just too small. The reason for this is that it is expensive to make a dog food with human-grade nutrients and proteins.
Lower-quality dog food is much easier to process because of the high grain content. The ingredients are less expensive, and therefore the profit margins are huge. A large-scale manufacturer can afford to sell its food for pennies a pound because it costs them next to nothing to produce. To avoid paying more than you should for low-quality food that is not going to benefit your dog's health, learn to read the label and decide for yourself whether or not a food is worth the price.
Beware of using price alone to determine food quality. There are many high-price brands that promote themselves as “super premium,” but if you scrutinize the label you will find that the quality is not always there. More effort and money may have been put into slick advertising and marketing to get you to buy the food than into the food itself.