05 Dec Hemp-Based Dog Food Buying Guide
Dog food including hemp seeds, oil or hearts is increasing in popularity. It can be difficult for those who are not educated on hemp to know what to look for in a quality product. In this quick buying guide, we’ll help you understand what to look for when buying hemp-based dog food.
First Ingredients Listed
As with any dog food, it is important to read the ingredients listed on the label. The first ingredients are important as these are the base of the food. A high-quality dog food should have real meat as its first ingredient. The product should not be something like chicken meal, chicken byproduct or anything other than real chicken.
Flour of some kind is often used in dog food to help bind the other ingredients together. It should not be in the first few ingredients listed.
Make sure that the ingredients do not contain anything artificial, processed or an item your dog cannot eat due to sensitivities.
Type of Hemp Product Used
The type of hemp product used in the dog food should be clearly listed. The product could be hemp oil, hemp seeds, hemp seed oil or hemp hearts. The amount of the hemp product used should also be clearly listed.
Avoid hemp dog foods that state “hemp plant matter” or a portion of hemp oil @10% (or something similar) as this is a diluted product of lesser quality.
Source of Hemp Product
While the actual company or cultivator of the hemp product used in the dog food may not be provided – the label should indicate whether it is domestic (U.S.) or European derived hemp. If the hemp was cultivated organically, this should also be listed. Some companies may cultivate their own hemp for their products.
If the company does cultivate its own hemp, it is a good idea to ask how the hemp was grown. Hemp should be cultivated outdoors without fertilizers or chemicals. It just needs good soil, plenty of sun and water to grow well.
Purity of Hemp Product
The dog food brand should list that the hemp product has been lab tested for quality and purity. If the brand has a website, see if the lab results are available. If they are not, ask for them.
Pure hemp products are free of chemicals, preservatives and additives. If an oil is used, also view the cutting agent. For dogs, olive oil or coconut oil are the top cutting agents to look for.
The dog food that you choose should have good nutritional value. The hemp plant can provide some nutrition such as healthy fats from Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, antioxidants, fiber, protein and essential vitamins and minerals. Hemp seeds, hemp seed oil and hemp hearts can also add more flavor to your dog’s food. The flavor of these products is slightly nutty.
Be diligent when selecting quality dry food for your dog. Take the time to read the labels and do a little research on the product. If you are transitioning your dog from a different brand to a hemp-based dog food, it is ideal to mix them starting with ¼ of the new food with ¾ of the amount of the current food. Slowly increase the amount of the new, hemp dog food, to prevent digestive disruptions. Speak with your vet about the proper time frame to change the ratios of new food to current food.