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(BPT) - As a pet owner, you want the best for your dog. Determining what constitutes "the best," however, can be difficult, especially when it comes to pet food.

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Keping your dog healthy and happy

A simple search on the internet about pet food can lead pet owners to question what information is accurate - with much of it being contradictory and confusing. When it comes to understanding your options, you need to know what's most important to consider. To help you find the right food for your dog, Dr. Lauren Pagliughi, DVM, veterinary communications manager at Purina, offers these tips to aid you in your search.

1. Know the quality of the food you're feeding your pet. Every pet food manufacturer says their products are best, but how do you know if that is true, and more importantly, if they're best for your specific dog? It's vital to research beyond the marketing and even the ingredients of a product and look at the brand's manufacturing reputation and quality standards. The following are a few key questions to research or ask:

* Who formulates the food and what are their credentials? It's important to look for brands with nutritionists and veterinarians on staff to formulate the food. While many smaller brands were created based on their undeniable love for pets, they may not have the nutritional qualifications needed to create the best food for your dog.

* Where is the food produced? Does the company own their manufacturing facilities? Also, ask the manufacturer for any applicable regulatory or quality assurance practices being implemented.

* How are the ingredients sourced and to what standards?

* Is a complete nutrient analysis of the food available?

Thoroughly examining the label on your dog's food and conducting research to determine its true quality is a significant step to help keep your pet healthy.

2. Dogs evolve, their food should too. Just like you, your pet's nutritional needs will change as they age. Your dog's food may need to change over time to accommodate his new nutritional needs, changing body and evolving lifestyle. Just Right by Purina, for example, is a personalized dog food that is designed to meet the specific nutritional needs of your dog at his life stage. By combining an owner's firsthand knowledge of their pet with proven nutritional expertise, the brand creates personalized dog food by taking into account qualifiers like a dog's age, breed size, coat condition and activity level. As a dog's nutritional needs change, their blend of Just Right can change with them.

3. Be proactive. Picking the right pet food is important, but your dog needs a comprehensive approach to help him stay healthy. Your dog's health regimen should include regular physical and mental exercise, biannual veterinarian wellness checkups, vaccines and other preventive care. Beyond daily walks with your dog for physical activity, ways to include mental exercise into his routine can include playing hide-and-seek or incorporating food dispensing toys into his daily feeding regimen. Because every dog is unique, it's best to consult with your veterinarian with specific questions about what type of exercise is best for your dog.

Making the proper health choices for your dog can be tough, but if you're willing to put in the effort and focus on their overall nutrition, the results are well worth it. One convenient and simple step to helping keep your dog healthy is through personalized nutrition. To learn more about the benefits, visit




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