Choosing the right pet food isn’t easy. Simply walking into the pet food aisle can be daunting. So many choices you need to make, and so many options for each choice. All life stages dog food. Senior cat food. High-protein food. Flavor. Price point. Quantity. Ingredient. Nutrient. Protein source. What’s it all mean?
Anyone who has ever loved a pet knows that it’s not just a matter of picking out the coolest looking bag of food. If you get anything right for your furry family members, it has to be their nutrition. You could argue that choosing the right food is the most important choice you’ll make in the life of your cat or dog.
We’re in the pet nutrition business, and we understand how difficult it can be to wade through the formulas and flavors of pet food to pick exactly the right food. So we’ve assembled some of our best articles below, to help you choose the right food for your pet. We’ve considered everything from the basics of pet nutrition to best practices for pet food storage (because you don’t just buy a bag of food and forget it, right?) to how to understand the difference between “adult” pet food and “senior” food. You’ll always have more questions about how to be best feeding your dog or cat, but the following primer should get you started on the right four feet.
The Basics of Pet Nutrition
You want to do right by your pet. But cat and dog food can be so complicated. What do the ingredients actually do? Does your cat need different nutrients than your dog? If you take vitamins, does that mean your pet should, too? The best way to get a foothold is to start learning some of the basics of pet food. We’ll get you started.
- All pets need dietary protein.
- Fats are the most concentrated energy source.
- Carbohydrates help promote GI health.
- Cats are obligate carnivores.
- Cats are usually lactose intolerant.
- Proteins are the triggers for most food allergies.
- Pets typically don’t need extra vitamins.
How to Change Your Pet’s Diet
There are many reasons to consider switching dog food or cat food recipes, types or brands. But how do you actually go about changing their food if there’s an ingredient they don’t agree with, and how do you know it’s really time?
Your dog or cat may eagerly devour a new type of pet food, but his or her digestive tract may not be as enthusiastic if they aren’t eased into the process. Vomiting, diarrhea and gas are just a few of the potential consequences to a sudden food switch. That’s why food transitions should be made gradually, over the course of a week or more, to give your pet’s digestive tract a chance to adjust.
Is Your Pet a Picky Eater?
What do you do if your pet has become a picky eater?
First, it’s important to stress that not all up-turned noses are the same. If your pet has refused to eat for more than 24 hours or has lost weight, call your veterinarian right away, because lack of appetite can be a sign of illness. But if your pet is active, at their optimal weight and otherwise healthy but just won’t eat, you might just have a picky eater for a pet. We’ll tell you how to deal with that!
Working Dog Nutrition
Working dogs have unique nutritional needs that must be met in order for them to perform at their best. Just like physical human laborers, working dogs get a workout every day (or they should). And as a result of their active lifestyle, they need more calories to operate at peak performance. Depending on the workload, working dogs need 1.5 to 2.5 times the amount of dog food as a relatively sedentary dog. Does your choice of pet foods work as hard as your dog?
All Life Stages Pet Food
Your dog isn’t a puppy. Your cat isn’t a senior. Does that mean that they should be eating an “all life stages” diet? Diets that are designed for all life stages meet the nutritional requirements for both growth and reproduction as well as maintenance diets. But there’s so much more to it. Click to find out exactly what pet food companies mean when they say “all life stages” dog food or cat food. Is it just complete and balanced nutrition, or is it more than that?
Properly Measuring Pet Food
So you spent all this time figuring out what type of dog food or cat food your pet should eat. Why would you undermine your perfect choice by feeding your pet too much or too little? Believe it or not, feeding food in proper amounts is tougher than it seems.
That’s right. According to a study done by University of Guelph veterinary researchers, pet owners need to rethink how they measure dry food. Consistent measurement errors such as those found in the Guelph study could lead to undernourishment, but more likely would result in weight gain or obesity.
Pet Food Storage
How do you store that big bag of dog food after you lug it in from the car? Do you crack the seal and leave it in a corner? Dump the food into an easy-access tote? More importantly, how should you store the food? We have some tips and best practices for all pet owners!
Feeding your dog or cat properly matters
Caring for a pet dog or cat is incredibly rewarding, but it is not always easy for pet owners. Everything from choosing their food to choosing the right pet food storage can be the reason your pet grows healthy and strong. If you have any concerns whatsoever about the nutrition you have chosen for your pet, do not hesitate to contact your veterinarian. Pet care is their top concern, after all.
No guide to the pet food label or pet nutrition can be truly comprehensive because the subject is so vast and so personal. But we hope this guide to choosing the right dog food helps you build a strong nutritional foundation for your pet.
The information in this blog has been developed with our veterinarian and is designed to help educate pet parents. If you have questions or concerns about your pet's health or nutrition, please talk with your veterinarian.