Easily determine the quality of your dogs diet
One of the easiest and most logical ways to determine whether you are feeding properly is to inspect your dogs waste. If his waste is firm, doesn’t smell too bad and doesn’t come in to large quantities relative to his size then you’re probably okay. If on the other hand his stools are often soft, sometimes almost liquid (think diarrhea), smell horrible and are produced in large and frequent quantities, then you have a problem.
To understand why, consider this
Dogs that are able to utilize the majority of the food they eat, excrete less. Dogs that do not, excrete more.
In other words, with better quality food, more of the foods nutrients are absorbed by the dogs digestive system, thus less stool is produced.
When the food is of poor quality, the dog is not able to convert the food into usable energy, thus more stool is produced.
As a sidebar, even though good food is more expensive, you ultimately have to feed less of it, so the difference in price might not be as big as you think. Besides, if you can afford good food, you owe it to your dog to buy it.
Like humans, dogs were not meant to eat certain things in excess
One such thing is grain. But unfortunately, because grain is so damn cheap, dog food makers love to fill their kibble with it. This is especially true for cheap “super market” kibble, which almost always consists of large quantities of grain.
Both because dogs have not evolved to live on grain, and because their digestive tract is very short (compared to humans), grain, which takes a lot of time to digest, usually passes right through the dogs system and out the other site smelling like shit (pun intended) without having done the dog much good.
If your dog produces stool in one of two ways as described above, it will give you a fairly decent indicator as to whether you should change his diet.
Other factors to look for are the quality of the coat and general energy levels.
Whilst I mentioned energy levels as a factor to look for in relation to diet, please don’t mistake that for a dog jumping on walls simply because you aren’t walking him enough. That has nothing to do with diet. Nor am I suggesting that a dog fed excellent quality food will become a charged rocket. Please insert your common sense in the situation.
It’s important to note that no matter the quality of food you switch to, it’s fair to expect the first few days to produce loose stool. This is not because the food is bad, rather your dog needs a bit of time to adjust to a jumping from one food to another. This is why it can be beneficial to make the transition gradually, mixing the foods together, and over time ending up with only the new one.