Have you found yourself wandering the pet food aisle, trying to decide which food sounds the yummiest for your pet? Are you worried about your pet’s health and nutrition? Choosing a pet food can be overwhelming with all the choices available.
So, how does one know what food to buy for your pet to keep them healthy and safe? Here are a few tips to help you make an informed decision:
Check the label to make sure food is “Complete” which means it contains all the nutrients required and “Balanced” which indicates that the nutrients are present in the correct ratios. Nutrition standards are based on your pet’s different life stages which includes growth for kittens and puppies, pregnancy/lactation plus maintenance in adulthood.
Food should also be species specific because they have different nutrient requirements; cats eat cat food; dogs eat dog food. For example, a cat needs such things as taurine and ‘pre-formed’ Vitamin A, that dogs do not need.
Cats are not vegetarians and in fact need meat and food that is high in animal protein, plus amino acids like taurine, arginine, methionine, and tyrosine that come from an animal source. Cat food should also include fat for energy and vitamins A, D, and E.
Since every dog is different, it is wise to ask your veterinarian to recommend the best food for your canine friend, based on their size, breed, age, activity level and health. Most dog food has meat, grains, vegetable, fruit and vitamins.
You want to not only pick a food for your pet’s species but also their life stage (puppy, adult, senior, etc.) and health condition. Follow feeding directions on the label, even when they beg for more and avoid people food as it can cause a nutritional imbalance. Plus, we all know, table scraps lead to chubby, furry companions and possibly cause future health problems.
These are just recommendations on how to begin to select your perfect pet food. You should always consult with your veterinarian on your specific pets’ needs. It is also essential to talk with them if you pet is having medical issues, is overweight, sluggish or just not up to par.
And remember, Fido and Fluffy always need plenty of fresh, clean water available to help them live a long and happy life.