For many pet owners one of the biggest challenges is finding the right diet for their pet, as that’s probably the biggest contributor to their longevity; and with so many “complete and balanced” options on the shelves, it can be hard to decide which one is best. As the dog nutrition experts, we will say there isn’t a universal answer to which type of food your companion will do best on, but we can offer a few bullet points you should ensure your preferred brand meets so you know your dog is well nourished.
- Avoid Corn as a Main Ingredient. Your dog has very little use for grain in his diet, but pet food companies love it because it’s cheap and filling. If corn is a first ingredient, it’s time to reconsider your kibble. Main ingredients should be a protein source, like beef, chicken, or lamb.
- Beware of Byproduct. ‘Byproduct’ is a PR-friendly term that you could realistically just substitute for the word ‘parts’ (ie: chicken parts, beef parts). Not only is it incredibly ambiguous but byproduct has very little regulation in the pet food world, making it a true wild card. The hotdog of the pet world, if you will.
- Peruse those Percentages. In the guaranteed analysis look for at least 30% protein content, a minimum of 18% fat, and for Omega Fatty Acids to be present. Preservatives should come in the way of Vitamin C or E.
- In General: Sound it Out. If you can’t pronounce some of the ingredients on your pet food label, it may be time to reconsider what you’re feeding. We know kibble has been around for decades, but more and more people are realizing pets need wholesome, easy-to-digest food just as much as we do and some brands simply don’t provide that. For more information on what goes into our food and why, head to the Learning Center and click the “Product Benefits” tab, everything you need to know is under “Ingredient Benefits”.
The most popular signs that your pet may be on a poor diet include flaky skin, a dull, smelly, or oily coat, ear infections, and hotspots. As far as how much to feed, start with the company’s recommended feeding – but remember that those recommendations are based on healthy, regularly active pets; if your animal has a thyroid condition, food allergy, or other issue, consult your veterinarian about ideal weight and feedings. From there, monitor your pet’s weight and adjust feeding (and treating) as necessary.
Do you have a story about how pet food drastically improved your pet’s life? We’d love to hear it!