When it comes to your pet's nutrition there are several options. Your pet can sustain or thrive…it’s up to you!
Dry food or kibble is the most widely available and recognized diet in the pet food market. First and foremost make sure you choose a premium food. Sometimes these can be a little more expensive but would you rather pay $30.00 for a bag of corn, wheat and soy and unnecessary vet bills or $40.00 for meat and veggies and save your pet unnecessary vet visits? When looking at dry pet foods ask yourself one question…”Why is this food in a Big Box retailer and not in a specialized pet store?” This is not to say that some specialty stores don’t carry mainstream pet diets… but those who do have not studied pet nutrition, or they have and just don’t care what they are selling. Don’t be afraid to ask questions!
WHICH DRY FOOD DO I CHOOSE?
Limited Ingredient/Single Source Protein – Typically contain one meat, one or two carbohydrates, and one fat. Usually works well for pets with allergies and stomach sensitivities (hairballs, vomiting, and gassy pets).
Grain Free – All Grain Free diets are not created equal!! These foods contain no grains such as rice, barley, corn, wheat, etc. Grain-free diets should ALWAYS be higher in meat protein than carbohydrates. Usually works well for weight loss, active dogs and pets that are picky eaters.
High-Quality Holistic – Quality ingredients are the key. Look for named meats, quality grains such as brown rice, millet, oats, and fruits and vegetables. Probiotics and enzymes are a plus. Good alternative to mainstream commercial foods and will help with overall wellbeing, typically reduces shedding and provides better all-around nutrition.
Canned - As a rule of thumb…the more moisture in your pets diet the better. One way to achieve this is by supplementing with a quality canned food. Typical feeding guidelines for canned is one ounce per pound to maintain weight however feeding a canned diet is usually the most costly. It is absolutely not true that canned or wet food is bad for your dog or cats teeth. Studies show dogs and cats only chew about 20% of their dry diets. Canned foods can also entice those picky eaters.
Stews – Have a more homemade soup like consistency with visible chunks of meat and fruits and veggies.
Pate – A more dense and solid consistency.
WHICH RAW FOOD DO I CHOOSE?
Raw food is considered to be at the top of the pet food pyramid. Many experts believe feeding raw even a few times a week is better than no raw at all. These diets are quickly rising in popularity. The benefits…just to mention a few are…less stool, healthier teeth, weight control, reduction of allergy symptoms, higher energy and mobility, especially in older pets, easier digestion and one of the most important is it maintains proper pH in your pets. There are two basic formulas to consider in raw diets. The Alpha-dog diet, which is a zero carbohydrate, all muscle meat, organ and bone or the Prey Model, which is 90% muscle meat, organ, bone and 10% anything else. Do not let raw diets scare you…they are perfectly safe to feed your pet.
Raw Freeze-Dried or Dehydrated – A good transition to feeding frozen raw. They offer the same formulas and are convenient when traveling. Water can be added to rehydrate or they can be used as a topper for picky eaters.
Raw Frozen – Frozen meat diets in a variety of formulas. They are available in patties, nuggets, and chubs (ground meat). These diets most closely resemble nature and keep protein and carbohydrate levels optimum. More flexibility in rotation of single proteins also helps those pets with allergies. Keep in mind a raw diet needs to be complete! You cannot just give your pet raw chicken or beef every day. If you are going to make your own raw diet please make sure you have all the required nutrients or your pet is likely to become deficient in some area.
There are many considerations when choosing your pet's food. Cost, convenience, existing health issues are just a few. Any quality diet is a better option than the commercial and even some of the prescription pet foods so readily available. Consider your options, research the ingredients and you will see for yourself what a difference a high-quality diet will do for your pet.