A good diet is an important part of your pet’s overall health and happiness.
On a daily basis, a good diet gives your pet energy to continuing playing and enjoying life.
In the long-term, your pet needs it for their overall health and to continuing enjoying many years with you and your family.
A Veterinarian’s Advice on a Good Diet
People commonly ask me for advice about a good diet and which pet food to buy.
I’m glad to provide people with guidance to keep their pets healthy. I believe it’s a valuable part of the service we provide for your pet and your family.
However, it’s not always so easy to name a specific food over another.
There are many factors to consider.
Determining the Pet Food for a Good Diet
When comparing pet foods, a useful analogy is to think about the process of choosing a home.
When we look for a home, every house will have the basic building blocks – a roof, a foundation, walls, doors and windows.
But guidance and choice come into play on the other aspects – quality, location, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and the need for renovations or inspections.
It’s the same with pet food. Every food available will have the fundamental building blocks – protein, carbohydrates, fat, vitamins, minerals and water.
The difference comes in when we look at the percentage of these ingredients, and most importantly, your pet’s age and lifestyle.
When I consider your pet’s nutritional needs, I take into account its species, breed, activity levels, age and metabolism.
There are some things we can do to help us with the choice.
Read the Ingredients Label
Whenever considering a pet food, it is important to read the labels.
All pet food labels list the ingredients.
If you look at the label, you’ll notice that the ingredients are listed in descending order by weight.
However, it’s important to understand that does not necessary tell us the amount of the ingredients.
Meats such as chicken, beef and lamb are often listed first. Those items have a high water content. That means they weigh more than dry ingredients such as grains, meals and vitamins.
They may have the greatest weight, but they are not necessarily the greatest quantity.
That’s something to keep in mind.
A proper pet food will also have an “AAFCO Statement.” (AAFCO is the Association of American Feed Control Officials).
The AAFCO Statement can refer to the clinical trials being done, or it may indicate that the food was ‘formulated’ according to a recipe to meet the food standards on paper only, without clinical trials. Of course, clinical trials will always be the gold standard.
“All Life Stages”
The statement will also refer to the diet meeting the needs of adult dogs and all life stages. However, please bear in mind, there is no such thing as one diet fits all stages. “All life stages” actually refers to a puppy diet.
There is also the “Guaranteed Analysis” that shows you what nutrients are in the food.
The “Guaranteed Analysis” can be a little confusing because the nutrients are listed by percentages. You will also see minimum or maximum next to the numbers.
The key thing to understand is that this label tells you what nutrients your pet will receive on a typical feeding.
Some servings will be more, some will be less, but it gives you an idea of what’s inside.
We Can Help
Please contact us or a qualified nutrition professional that can assist you with any confusion.
We are here to help!
We would love to have you come by our clinic and we can chat in person about how to optimize your pet’s health.
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I would be happy to answer any of your questions, so feel free to share them in the section below!