When it comes to choosing the right pet food, the questions can be endless. Dog and cat food needs differ, so just because it is the right food for one pet does not make it the right food for another. Cats and dogs do have one big diet requirement in common though; they both need protein from a meat, fish, or poultry source, one of the most important ingredients to look for when choosing your pet food. There is no single answer to the question, “what is the best food for my pet?” But with proper research and attention to your pet’s needs, the right food for your dog or cat will be found.
When you are looking for the best food option for your pet, it all depends on their personal nutritional needs, the age of your pet, and so forth. Choosing the right pet food can make a significant difference in their quality of life. When shopping for pet food, remember that the ingredient list is just like the ingredient list on foods that we eat every day. The first three ingredients will make up the bulk of the food. Preferably, you want to have a named protein source as the first ingredient, such as chicken, beef, or lamb, not just “meat”.
There are several low-quality pet foods that are loaded with chemical preservatives. Many pet food bags have long words that many of us cannot pronounce, much less know what they are. It is best to choose a food that is preserved with Vitamin E, Citric Acid, Rosemary Extract, and Tocopherols rather than chemicals. The Liberty Humane Society provides a good pet food vocabulary list for further reference on what the listed meat-related ingredients actually stand for.
If you can, it is best to avoid buying food that uses dyes of any kind. Your pet does not care what color their food is; they just care how it tastes. Quality pet food may come with a higher price tag, but you will not need to feed your dog or cat as much to make them full and there will be fewer fillers and more nutrition for your furry friend. Another great advantage to feeding your pet quality food is that when the food has more nutritional value, your pet can digest more of it, meaning there will be less work for you when you empty the litter box or clean up the yard!
Sometimes it takes a little bit of trial and error to find the right food for your pet. They may turn their nose up at it, or some foods can even cause an allergic reaction and make your pet sick. If you do change your pet’s food, make sure to do so gradually to avoid making them ill. Corn, soy, and wheat grains are common allergens for dogs. Try to remember when you are shopping for pet food to avoid all of the advertising hype and look straight at the source! You will be surprised to find out that several of the big “name brand” pet foods are not all they’re cracked up to be.