It might seem obvious to say that the quality of food you feed your pet has an enormous impact on her health. However, many pet owners feel confused about how to interpret nutrition labels on pet food bags and how to make the best feeding choices. This can cause them to purchase pet food based on convenience rather then what is truly best for the animal’s nutritional needs.
When selecting food for your dog or cat, it’s important to consider his special health needs. This could include issues like chronic joint pain, food allergies, or a sensitive stomach. Another common mistake that pet owners make is feeding a dog or cat the wrong food for his species or age. For example, giving cat food to both a dog and a cat because it’s less expensive or giving a kitten food meant for a geriatric cat. These choices might not seem like a big deal, but they can contribute to poor health for your pet over time.
How to Evaluate Pet Food and Make the Best Choice for Your Pet
Although the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is heavily involved in regulating food for humans, it doesn’t get nearly so involved in the production and sale of pet food. That’s why it’s important to look for an endorsement from the American Feed Controls Office (AAFCO) on the label of your pet’s food. This endorsement means that the manufacturer met minimum requirements for nutrition as well as quality, ingredients, and even packaging.
Food for cats should have antioxidants, fat, and fiber while food for dogs should contains vitamins, minerals, fats, carbohydrates, and water. These are minimum AFCO requirements. The agency also recommends that pet owners look for the following:
- Name of manufacturer and product
- List of ingredients
- Statement of nutritional adequacy
- Statement of net quantity
- Guaranteed analysis, which should include a percentage for each of the food’s primary ingredients
Another important thing to know is that the above requirements don’t give a complete picture of the pet food. A company besides the one that originally manufactured the pet food can also add ingredients, and they’re not required by law to include the extra ingredients on a list for consumers. We also encourage you to use caution when evaluating marketing tactics of pet food companies. Just because a marketer claims that a pet food is premium or all-natural doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s better than other brands.
Ask for Pet Food Recommendations or Schedule a Nutritional Assessment
If you’re concerned that your pet could need a special diet, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment at Cedar Pet Clinic Lake Elmo. Our veterinarians will evaluate your dog or cat’s health and let you know if she would benefit from a change of diet. We’re also happy to recommend a specific brand or a pet food that meets your dog or cat’s special needs. You don’t have to wait until your pet’s annual check-up to visit us. We care about your pet almost as much as you do and want to see her as happy and healthy as possible.
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