When it comes to pet food, what goes into your pet, via his or her dinner bowl, should be of great importance to any caring pet owner. As domesticated animals, our pets rely solely on us for their nutritional needs so it’s our responsibility to research the best quality diet for our pets. The bag of food with the shiniest label and the expensive TV advert is not necessarily the most nutritious.
Good quality nutrition is the key building block for long term good health and vitality. More
It’s true that a dog or cat can ‘survive’ on a very meagre diet but the associated health problems make this choice a false economy. Most pet owners find that they need to feed less when they switch to a good quality food. You will also notice that your pet’s stools are more solid, smell less and are smaller (that’s because all the nutritious ingredients are being used in your pet’s body!)
What’s in the bag?
Good quality foods will have a high amount of protein from a named meat source. Buying a food which contains ‘animal derivatives’ is risky as there is no way of telling exactly what type of meat is in there, or indeed which part of the animal. One batch may contain chicken and your pet will be fine while the next batch could be full of beef and potentially trigger an allergic reaction.
Another item you may find on some pet food labels is ‘cereals’. As with the meat source, not naming the type of cereal can be dangerous as the source will inevitably vary depending on the cheapest supplier at any given time and your pet may not be able to digest certain kinds (many dogs are allergic to wheat for example). Premium brands like Arden Grange Dog Food and Almo Nature Cat Food use rice as the main carbohydrate – a good choice for most pets as rice is hypoallergenic and unlikely to cause allergic reactions.
Sugar and other sweeteners are often included in poor quality pet food to make them more palatable. Too much sugar can make your pet hard to control and is totally unnecessary in terms of nutrition!
Artificial colours and flavours should be avoided as some of these ‘EC Permitted Additives’ have been linked to behavioural problems and are actually banned in human foods because of health concerns. Many owners find that a previously ‘manic’ dog will calm down with a simple switch to a natural diet without these wholly unnecessary additives. Look for foods that contain natural preservatives such as rosemary and avoid foods with brightly coloured kibble.
The key thing is to keep your pet’s diet as simple and close to nature as possible! When switching over your pet’s food from a brand full of sugar and additives they may initially show no interest in the healthy food (after all, would you expect a child who had lived on McDonald’s all their life to suddenly start tucking into a salad bowl?) Give it time and soon your pet will learn to appreciate the taste of natural ingredients!
Let us know your experiences of feeding different brands of Cat and Dog food in the comments below.
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