All pet parents want to do right by their pets, and that includes feeding them the best diets we can. But with so many opinions on the web and options on the market, it can be hard to know which foods are right for your furry friend. Luckily, the team at Indy Vet Care gathered some tips to make the decision easier!
- Don’t judge a food only by its ingredients! – Ingredient lists don’t include the quality of ingredients added – so the deboned chicken used in one brand may be of lesser quality than the chicken by-product meal used in another brand! Also, many manufacturers include foods that sound great to humans, but have limited nutritional value for our pets, like blueberries or kale. Its nutritional value that’s important in your pets’ diets, not how good the ingredients sound to us. (Now that we mention it, a kale and blueberry smoothie does sound pretty good…)
- Avoid “exotic” ingredients – Many diets on the market contain “exotic” ingredients like bison, kangaroo, lentils, and chickpeas. There are no known benefits to these ingredients, and in fact, some are being investigated for connection to diet-associated dilated cardiomyopathy in dogs. On top of that, if your pet is on an “exotic meat” diet and develops and allergy, it can actually make it more difficult to manage and diagnose. It’s safer to stick with more common, well-studied ingredients in your pup’s diet.
- Trust the manufacturer! – Pretty much anyone can manufacture pet food – so it’s increasingly important to trust the company who makes it! Trustworthy manufacturers should practice strict quality control and testing standards. They should be able to provide nutritional values of all their diets, and their diets should meet AAFCO nutrient profiles. Unfortunately, you won’t get this type of information from the label alone – you’ll have to do your own research from trustworthy sources!
- Look for an AAFCO label – AAFCO is the Association of American Feed Control Officials who use local, state, and federal laws to regulate the sale and distribution of animal foods. Trustworthy manufacturers will test their foods with AAFCO feeding trials, or at the very least, ensure they meet AAFCO nutritional standards. The AAFCO statement on a pet food label tells you whether the diet meets all nutritional requirements and what life stage the food is truly meant for – not just how it’d being marketed.
- Talk to your pets’ veterinarian! – Navigating all the options on the pet food market can be confusing and frustrating, from reading labels to finding a reliable source of information. But luckily, we’re here to help! Your pets’ veterinarian is the perfect person to help you find the right diet for your pets – after all, who else knows your pets’ health as well as you? Stop in for a visit, and we can help you figure out the best food options for your furry family members!
With all the options for pet foods already on the market, and the new options being developed every day, it can be tough finding the right kibble for Fido or the purr-fect pate for Mittens. Visit our veterinary office in Philadelphia, or give us a call today, and let us help you get their diets on the right track! Another great resource on all things pet food and nutrition is Tuft’s Vet School Nutrition department: https://vetnutrition.tufts.edu/