[First Published: 24 Dec 2012, Last Updated: 17 Sep 2019]
It is actually quite simple to choose a good pet food. However, not everyone has the time to read up and learn. Here’s a simple guide choose a good pet food for your cat or dog.
Price is Not Everything
It’s not true that the more expensive your pet food is, the healthier/more nutritious it is. In some occasions, price might be an indicator of quality, but that doesn’t necessarily hold true here. Don’t pay for a brand because it sounds good, have a look at its ingredients and nutritional analysis before making your purchase.
Try to Veer Towards Explicitly Specified Protein Sources
For example: Items such as Chicken, Venison, Pork Meal, Salmon Meal. Some argue that protein meals hold more nutritional value than the proteins themselves (eg. Chicken Meal is better than Chicken), because the latter would hold considerably less matter once the moisture is drawn out of it to be put into kibble, as opposed to protein meals, which already have their moisture drawn out; therefore holding more nutritional value… But we’ll let you decide which is better.
Absolutely No By-Products!
Animal by-products are the parts that no one wants. They include feathers, hooves, fur, roadkill, intestines, bones, and in worser cases, animal waste matter, dust and dirt. In all fairness, no one really knows what comprises the “by-product” that comes in a packet of pet food. But most of the time, it isn’t fit for human consumption, so let’s not take that chance.
Look for Products That Are Grain Free, or Have Low Grain Content.
Grain free food can be more expensive, but that just means it has more room for all the other nutrition your pet needs. In the pet food industry, carbohydrates are what veterinarians, and expert pet food analysers/owners refer to as FILLERS. Think of them as the dough that helps all the ingredients stick and form kibble; it is essentially the glue that holds them together. Fillers aren’t necessarily bad, it’s what comprises the filler that is important. Common sources of carbohydrates in pet foods like Brewer’s Rice, Wheat, Soy, and Corn are poor fillers that hold little nutritional value, so steer away from those. On the other hand, VEGETABLES that contain carbohydrates are much better; such as potatoes.
An excess of fillers in your pet’s food mean that these carbohydrates are making your pet full for no good reason in particular. Many manufacturers of pet food use fillers to raise the protein content to make their foods look more nutritious to concerned pet owners, when instead these undigestible proteins simply pass through our pets’ digestive tracts and come out as waste, in the long term leading to conditions such as pet obesity, and sometimes trigger allergies (for your pet and for your family) due to digestive intolerances.
Abstain from (Artificial) Additives, Colourings, Flavourings, Preservatives.
If they aren’t good for us, they aren’t good for your pet either.
Check the Ingredients List
The ingredients in the list are sorted by weight, so it would make sense for you to want the best ingredients to possibly fall within the first 5 to 10 items. Again, manufacturers like to switch things up here to get you confused, so it’s best that you learn how to weigh your options.
Remember Who You’re Feeding
Each and every one has a different pet to take care of, and it is our responsibility as owners to remember that not every pet cat or dog is suited for the same cat food or dog food formula. Certain breeds may be more resistant to allergies, certain pets may have preferences for a favourite flavour of food. Always keep in mind your pet cat or dog’s specific nutritional needs, likes or dislikes, and medical history (if any) when selecting what to feed it.
That was our beginner guide to selecting a pet food. We might possibly release more in future to help you make better decisions. Hopefully what you’ve learnt from this article will prove to be useful to you while making purchases for your furry friend. Happy shopping, everyone!
*Featured Image Source: stratman | VisualHunt & Viktor Hanacek | picjumbo
“Dog Foods – How To Choose?”. 2012. Dogfoods.Angelfire.Com. http://dogfoods.angelfire.com/.
“What Is The Best Cat Food? How I Narrowed It Down To A Short List”. 2011. Natural Cat Care Blog. https://www.naturalcatcareblog.com/2011/08/what-is-the-best-cat-food-how-i-narrowed-it-down-to-a-short-list/.
“Pet Food Labels”. 2019. U.S. Food And Drug Administration. https://www.fda.gov/animal-veterinary/animal-health-literacy/pet-food-labels-general.
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