Pets depend on us entirely for love, affection, shelter and all of their basic needs. In return, they give many health benefits; companionship, unconditional love and affection. Don’t we owe them the best we can offer?

What is the ONE THING you can do every single day to help your pet stay healthy and prevent disease? Feed your pet the best food possible!

There are literally thousands of different pet foods available pets – how do you choose the best for your pets’ needs? Consider these factors in choosing a pet food:

1. The science behind the food – is the pet food tested and nutrients found to be bioavailable? Is the diet balanced and complete for your pet’s current stage of life? You don’t want to feed puppy food to an adult dog or you risk obesity, kidney disease and general health problems. Avoid “all life stages” foods – as these do not take into account the particular needs of your pet.
2. Does your pet eat the food? You want to ensure that your pet will eat the food you offer and not “hold out for something better”. However, beware – many poor quality foods are loved by pets because of increased sodium and fat contents. We all love junk food, but how good do you feel if you’re only eating chips and candy every day. How healthy would you be? Would you feed your child McDonald’s every day?
3. The integrity and history behind the pet food company – many pet food companies are only trying to make money – several companies don’t even have a veterinary nutritionist on staff. Some companies were started simply by people in the marketing industry.
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Factors that should NOT be considered in choosing the best diet for your pet:

1. Cost – realistically cost is a consideration. Although many times the food may cost more if it is a higher quality, but when the cost to feed per day is calculated, you find the price comparable or even lower than lower quality foods. Feeding the least expensive food will likely give you the least nutritional value. However, feeding the most expensive may not be in your pets’ best interest if all you are paying for is a pretty bag and cute commercials.
2. Can I buy it at the grocery store? Reputable food companies often try to keep their food sold in appropriate markets so that they are aware of where each bag is at any point in time. In light of all the recalls, it is best to feed a food that can be traced from each ingredient right up to the time it is placed in your pet’s bowl.
3. What the pet store clerk recommends. Clerks at pet stores are often only interested in selling the current food that offers commissions. They have no information about how the food is manufactured or why it may be the best choice for your pet. They are usually not trained in nutrition at all. Try to get advice from a professional – your veterinary office is the best place – and get a feeding plan tailored to your pet’s individual needs.

While we may not be able to influence the genetics of our pets after we get them, and we have only limited control over our pets’ environments, nutrition is the one factor we can all affect every single day with every meal to help our pets stay happy and healthy and live long lives.

Make an appointment today for your pet’s comprehensive nutritional evaluation and dietary recommendation.

Submitted by Dr. Angela Bentley