Many people have questions about…
Choosing the right food for your pet (Dog or Cat)
- What is the BEST pet food on the market?
- Should I go with organic pet foods?
- Is Raw Feeding a good option?
- Should I feed dry kibble or canned food?
- What are the benefits of higher end pet foods over your grocery brands?
What are the benefits of higher end pet foods over your grocery brands?
There are many reasons to buy this pet food vs. that one. My biggest pet peeve is seeing someone pick up a bag of low end dog food (also known as grocery dog food). These foods include things like Dog Chow, Pedigree, Alpo and probably the worst one I see of all is Ol’ Roy.
The reason you should avoid the grocery pet foods on the market are as follows:
- They use low end grains as their biggest ingredient source.
- Your pet will have to eat nearly twice as much of a low end food as they would of a high end pet food.
- For the same cost (once you work out cost per feeding) you can be feeding your pet something that will improve their health and well-being.
- Less waste to clean up
- Less food to feed
- Better skin and coat
- Better overall well-being for your pet
First five ingredients
What should you be looking for in those first five ingredients anyway? A real meat in the first slot is always a good start. Make sure that there are no by-products in the top five ingredients on the bag.
Next, make sure that, if you’re buying a pet food with grains in it, there are no low end grains such as corn, wheat or soy in the first five ingredients (for that matter, try to keep these out of your pet foods altogether as they may cause allergy problems for your pets).
The top five ingredients aren’t the entire picture when it comes to the quality of a pet food, but they are a great starting point. That being said, manufacturers often will stuff lower end ingredients further down the list in order to fool a savvy consumer. Beware of ingredients, such as the lower end grains, sprinkled further down in the list but with different names. For example, you may run into something like this. Ingredients: Lamb, Barley, Ground Whole Grain Sorghum, Dried Beet Pulp, Soy, Corn, Corn Meal, Chicken Fat. — While the ingredients don’t look too bad, the soy and multiple listings of corn higher (but not high enough to cause alarm to someone reading the first five) show that the main ingredients are probably corn and soy instead of the meat source.
Everyone is scared of preservatives!
I’m going to keep this section brief and just list some preservatives to be sure and avoid.
BHA (Butylated Hydroxysanisole)
BHT (Butylated Hydroxytoluene)
Ethoxyquin, TBHQ (Tertiary Butylhydroquinone)
So, what are the best pet foods on the market?
There are so many different ways to answer that and many of those answers depend on what the specific needs of your particular pet entail. Short of going into every possible “good food”, I’m going to list some good starting points for both Dog and Cat foods available on the market.
Generally speaking, my top three that I recommend are:
- Natures Variety – (Check them out here!)
- Blue Buffalo – (Check them out here!)
- Innova – (Check them out here!)
There are some that I am leaving off that people will argue about. One food in-particular that I love, but didn’t add to the list is Origen/Acana. Most of the foods that I have left off the list are foods that will be harder to find for most people. My top three picks were based on ability to find and quality of the products.
Should I go with organic pet foods?
This one is a brief answer to me. If you live an organic lifestyle and want to feed your pet organic pet food, then do it. Organic pet foods have great ingredients and no risk of having any of the bad preservatives that you should avoid. That being said, nutritionally speaking, these foods aren’t really any better than your non-organic pet foods (the top of the line brands anway).
Is Raw Feeding a good option?
Raw feeding is an excellent option. Just make sure if you are going to go this route that you do the research required to give your pet a well balanced diet. There are some over the counter raw feeding diets which would take a lot of the guess-work out of it for you. Natures Variety has a line of raw food that you can buy in a store. I know there are other companies that sell this as well, but Natures Variety is the most prominent and accessible. Some of the benefits of feeding a raw diet are that they will get more nutrients in their food that would not be available in processed kibble or canned food; the raw diet has moisture built into the diet to help avoid problems such as urinary tract issues; and the selling point for most consumers on a raw diet is the fact that this is much closer to what your pet would be eating in the wild.
Should I feed dry kibble or canned food?
My suggestion is to feed a little of both. Dry kibble helps break up plaque on your pet’s teeth and is obviously easier to store as well as easier to feed to your animals. Canned foods, on the other hand, provide moisture in their diet that they may be severely lacking. Many animals do not drink enough water and a canned diet is one way to supplement that problem. There are also some vets that believe the canned foods cause your animal to lick their chops a lot more than if they were eating dry kibble and therefore is good for their teeth as well.
Now it’s time to go out and ask questions. There is more knowledge about pet food than I could ever share in one post. Start at your local pet food retailer and start asking questions. Many of the people that work in these establishments are very knowledgeable about pet nutrition and will be able to direct you to a food that will be right for your animal in particular.
If you do decide to switch your pet’s food, make sure that you give your pet a couple of weeks to transition. Don’t just throw the new food down and let them eat it, or you’re bound to give yourself more problems than you want. Most of the time when someone says they didn’t like a pet food, it was because their dog/cat had diarrhea or gas. This can simply be a cause of switching their food. Also, it usually takes about a month before you start seeing the full benefits of a food, so let it run its course before you decide whether or not this new food is right for your pet.
Hopefully this article shed some light on pet nutrition for you. If you have questions on anything I didn’t cover, please leave me a comment and I will do my best to answer those questions for you.