Health, energy and lifespan of your dog all depend on two things. One is how well taken care of your pet is and the second directly related thing is the dog food you purchase. Not all dog foods contain the same ingredients. Knowing which ones have the correct vitamins and nutritional value for your dog will ensure that he is around for a long time.The Recall of Dog FoodThe dog food recall in 2007 that was the result of companies in China and the U.S. using melamine in their pet food products was directly responsible for the deaths of 2,200 dogs. This is a chemical that is used to manufacture plastic.About 800 tons of wheat gluten that contained this chemical was found in China. Not only was it found, but it had been mislabeled to avoid inspection.The melamine was added to boost the protein content of the gluten used in the dog food. The reason behind this was the cost. It was merely cheaper to use melamine than it was to add real protein.This is where a lot of companies cheat on the products being sold. Consumers read the label and think it contains a certain ingredient. In fact, they do not contain that product at all; they often contain ingredients that are dangerous and may even cause death as in the case of the tainted food.How Do You Know What Product to Buy?So how are you supposed to know if a dog food is good for your dog or not? This is not something you can tell by looking at the food. The ingredients used to make the food will be one way of discovering if the food has the right combination of nutrients to keep your dog healthy. This is found on the bag itself.Look for the first ingredient listed. The first ingredient is extremely important as this will be the ingredient that makes up the largest percentage of the dog food. If the first ingredient listed is an animal protein, such as chicken meal, you are on the right track. Keep in mind that if it says poultry protein, this is not the same thing.Do not buy food that has meat meal or meat by-products either. The protein required by dogs is not present in these ingredients. Nutritional value can be affected by using these products as well as soy, wheat and corn. Preservatives are another ingredient you should beware of in your dog’s food. There are certain ones that can be extremely hard on dogs. This is especially true if this is what the dogs eat for an extended time period.One of the things you will learn is to never take the word of the manufacturer when they label their food ‘complete and balanced’. Dogs can even look outwardly healthy unless examined by a veterinarian. This is when they will notice the coats that are not healthy looking and often dry or oily skin. In addition they may have excessive itching and ear infection. The ‘complete and balanced’ food they were eating contained corn as the main ingredient.This used to be hard to diagnose because the dogs would appear healthy and some even looked to be overfed. However, the reason for the constant problems with coats and ear infections was the grain diets they were consuming and the absence of meat. Combined with itchy, flaky skin and the overweight condition, the grain fed diets were not providing the proper nutrition.When purchasing a truly ‘balanced and nutritious’ food for your dog, meat-based is the choice. The meat is an essential part of the dog’s diet as long as it is the correct type.Dog food companies should stop worrying about making fancy commercials to try and get the public to buy their product. Instead, spending this money on quality ingredients will tell the public far more readily that this is a dog food that will be nutritious and beneficial for their dog. A fund for the owners of these animals was started in 2008. Documented proof of the owner’s expenses related to the tainted food can allow them to be reimbursed. What, however is supposed to happen for the families that lost beloved pets that were a part of the family for years?