It’s true for humans and it is true with pets: You are what you eat. A healthy pet is a happy pet, and the key to healthy is good nutrition. Find out how to choose the best pet foods and be sure your pet is getting the quality diet needed for a long and happy life.
Every animal is different. Depending upon the species and breed, the nutrition needs may vary. Research your pet and find out as much as you can before selecting a pet food. Your veterinarian is a great source of information about your pet and what it takes to maintain good health. Most pets require a high level of good-quality protein in their foods. Cats should be fed a good amount of water, particularly if they’re eating mainly dry food. Cats should be fed wet food often, as dry food contains too little protein and too many carbohydrates. Similarly, dogs need protein and should limit the overloading of carbohydrates.
Decode the food label. There is quite a lot of controversy about pet food these days. Pets have become ill or even died because of poor quality or contaminated pet food. When making your food selection, read the label thoroughly. You are looking for a food with high-quality ingredients and not too many ingredients. The Association of American Feed Control Officials has guidelines that regulate pet food.
- All beef—If a food states it is all beef or another ingredient, it must be at least 95 percent beef or whatever ingredient is named.
- Dinner—A pet food that has the word “dinner,” “entrée” or “platter” in the title need only be 25 percent of the named ingredient.
- With—Any pet food that uses the term “with” means that the food may only be 3 percent of the ingredient named.
- Flavor—If the term “flavor” is used, the ingredient need only be a detectable amount.
Once you’ve selected
After weighing all the considerations, sample a small container of new foods before investing in the bulk size. If your pet is not a fan of the food you chose, you’re not out a large investment. Better yet, save your receipt and return the pet food for another selection.