Not all pet foods are created equal - feeding a high quality diet will
give your pet a significant health advantage. Animals fed a premium
food not only look and feel better but are less likely to require
treatment for diet related illnesses like soft stools, vomiting,
obesity, malnutrition, bladder stones, dry skin and dull haircoats.
WHAT'S REALLY IN A BAG OF DOG FOOD?
Understanding what's in the bag is not an easy task with creative
marketing and misleading buzzwords it's difficult to determine the best
food for our furry friends.
Words like Natural, Organic, Human grade are often used to describe pet
foods. Understanding the difference in these terms as it pertains to
pet food is important.
Of course cost is a factor, although we would all like to feed our pets
the very best it's not always possible. There are many options
available today no matter what your budget is, with a little research
you should be able to find a diet that works for you and your pet.
Always keep in mind that dogs and cats by nature are carnivores which
means the majority of their diet should come from animal origin. Meat
provides protein their primary energy source and should be the main
ingredient. Starches, grains, fruits, vegetables and omega fatty acids
are also necessary to provide a complete balanced diet but in lesser
quantity. Remember ingredients are listed by weight so the first few
ingredients are going to be representative of the bulk of the food.
Ingredient lists should contain words you recognize and can pronounce
Understanding the ingredients is tricky and a topic in itself, but here
is a brief overview of what you should look for and try to avoid when it
comes to purchasing food for your dog or cat.
PREMIUM FOODS GENERALLY INCLUDE :
REAL MEAT listed in the first few ingredients
Specific sources of meat should be given. Is it beef, turkey, lamb vs
generalized description like poultry byproducts or animal byproducts.
The first few ingredients will tell you if it's meat based vs plant
based or if there are a lot of fillers like potato, soy, corn, wheat
MEAL provides a concentrated source of essential nutrients but should
not take the place of real meat. During processing the proteins can be
denatured. Meals should not be the only or major protein source.
Vegetables/fruits/carbs/starches/grains - Provide vitamins, minerals and
essential nutrients. It is better to get natural sources of essential
nutrients vs synthetic supplementation with chemicals.
Omega Fatty Acids have many health benefits (nervous system development,
skin/coat health). The best source is from fish oils but they can also
come from plants like flaxseed.
Grain - Is not always the enemy. Although many pets do better on a
grain free diet, healthy grains in appropriate amounts are beneficial
for most animals. If you feel your pet requires a grain free diet
discuss it with your veterinarian. There are several ongoing studies
investigating a possible link between grain free diets and
cardiomyopathy in dogs. Development of cardiomyopathy is multi-factoral
but certain breeds and other risk factors may make a grain free diet the
wrong choice for your pet.
HOW TO KNOW THAT YOUR'E GETTING QUALITY VS QUANTITY
Where the ingredients are sourced ( US vs China)
Where the food is manufactured and packaged
A Guaranteed Analysis Statement
A Nutrition Adequacy Statement
What life stage is this diet appropriate for
WHAT A PET OWNER SHOULD AVOID
artificial dyes or colorants
large amounts of fillers
harmful preservatives (propylene glycol, BHA, BHT)
ingredients sourced from questionable countries with low standards of
regulation and quality control
WHAT YOUR PET EATS IS WHAT THEY BECOME
Remember our pets do not have a choice in their diet. They rely solely
on us to provide them with what they need to live a long, happy, healthy
A good quality diet that is appropriate for your pets stage of life and
activity level is one of the best gifts you can give!!!
***If your animal has any health concerns always discuss with your
veterinarian. The best/most expensive food on the market may not be
ideal for your pet if they have special dietary requirements**