Did you know that pet foods labeled as “premium”, “super-premium” or “ultra-premium” are not required to contain any different or higher quality ingredients and are not held up to any higher nutritional standards?
Similarly, if a dog food is labeled for “all life stages” it is actually puppy food.
In that respect, take care not to be misled by labels and fancy wording. The enticing advertising and convincing marketing schemes of pet food companies often sway consumers into feeding their pets foods that may not necessarily be the best choice. We will share with you some helpful information and tips but always urge you to seek advice from your pet’s veterinarian when it comes to their diet, just like any other element of their health. Each pet is unique and may have special dietary needs.
- A couple very simple general guidelines for feeding your pets are as follows: Dogs should eat dog food, and cats should eat cat food. Choose the highest quality food you can afford. The three brands of pet food that we recommend are Hill’s, Royal Canin, and Purina. These three companies conduct feeding trials and studies in their nutrition centers to formulate the very best pet foods, backed by science, observation, and continuous research. In addition, they source only the safest and highest-quality ingredients.
- Dogs use protein and fats as their primary source of energy, but they have evolved to also use carbohydrates for energy too, just like humans. Complex carbohydrates such as grains; however, are more easily digested by dogs when they are cooked.
- We do not recommend feeding grain-free foods or raw diets. A sensitivity or allergy to grains is not common in pets. If an allergy is suspected, please see your veterinarian before making any changes. Switching your pet to a different food abruptly can cause gastrointestinal upset, such as diarrhea and vomiting. Furthermore, there are a number of risks associated with feeding raw diets, to both dogs and humans in the home, especially those who are young or immunocompromised.
- AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) is a nonprofit organization whose guidelines are the general basis for nutritional content of commercial pet foods. Look for this label when choosing a food for your pet to be sure it meets the standards. Keep in mind, though, that your dog may have different nutritional requirements depending on his/her health status.
- For most dogs, feeding once or twice a day is recommended, though usually puppies benefit from eating three times a day. Avoid allowing your dog to exercise vigorously immediately following a meal. Generally speaking, most dogs only need dry kibble, unless they require more water or have certain dietary needs that canned foods would satisfy.
- When using feeding charts on dog and cat food, feed the amount of food on the chart that corresponds with the IDEAL weight of your pet. If you aren’t sure what a healthy weight range is, please ask your pet’s veterinarian.
- Carrots and green beans are great low calorie treats for dogs!
- There are many things to consider when choosing a pet food, including breed, age, lifestyle, pregnant or nursing, health concerns, body condition score, etc. It is always best to get your veterinarian’s recommendation!
Visit the links below for further information regarding pet food, including the FDA’s Pet Food Labels Explanation, the AAFCO website, and AAFCO’s statement on hemp byproducts in animal food: