Monday, April 18, 2016

Pet Nutrition (aka How to tell what food and treats have the best nutritional value for my pet)

We all know nutrition is important, but it’s not just important in our diets, it’s also important in our pets diets as well. Pet parents want the best for their pet, but it can be difficult to figure out what that may be. For best results, we recommend talking to your vet, but we’re going to go over a few things that may help the average pet owner understand their pets nutritional needs a little better, as well as guide them towards food and treats that have great sources of vitamins and nutrients your pet’s need.

But how do you know if your pet food is giving your pet the right diet they need? Every pet food is going to claim they are the best and that they offer the best nutrients and diet needs for your dog or cat, but not everyone can be on top. So what pet food has the best benefits for your pet? To know this, first take a look at the ingredient list on your dog food. Pet foods must list their ingredients by weight, starting with the heaviest. Some people claim that getting a dog or cat food where the first ingredient is meat means it is a great dog food, but keep in mind that meat is about 75% water, and without that water weight the meat probably would fall lower on the ingredient list.

Meat meals, such as chicken meal or meat and bone meal, have most of the water and fat removed which concentrates the animal protein. So, although real meat is a great ingredient, make sure you look for these meat meals to really get the protein your pet needs.

What about byproducts? Those can’t be good for my pet right? That’s not entirely true, and veterinarian’s say that it’s really a matter of personal choice to allow your pet to eat a food containing any. Liver, which is a byproduct, is rich in nutrients such as vitamin A. Meat byproducts also contain blood, bone, brains, stomach, udders, and cleaned intestines, according to the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). Byproducts don’t include hair, horns, teeth, or hooves. Meat meal can also include esophagus, tongue, and diaphragm. Although these ingredients may sound really gross to you, your pets would disagree. So don’t necessarily turn a pet food away just because byproducts are on the list.

Next, look for a statement of nutritional adequacy on the label. Many pet food makers follow model regulations set by the AAFCO that establish the minimum amount of nutrients needed to provide a complete and balanced diet. The statement may say the food is formulated to meet AAFCO standards or that it has been tested in feeding trials and found to provide complete nutrition.

Now, a human should be getting 20% Protein, 50% Carbohydrates, and 25-30% Fats & Oils in their diet each day, but your dog and cat have a completely different set up for their diet. Dogs should be getting 40% Protein, 15-20% Carbohydrates, and only 10-15% Fats & Oils. Cats should by getting 40% Protein, only 5% Carbohydrates, and 30% Fats & Oils. We’ve included a lovely pyramid, just like the food pyramid a human has, that shows different sources of the things your dog needs (there isn't one for cats, their diet can be loosely based off this but they do require different things and it's best to ask your veterinarian) in their diet, water being the most important of course!

Another step in helping to figure out if your pet food as the right balance for your pet, check out the guaranteed analysis. This will list the minimum amount of protein and fat in food and the maximum percentage of fiber and moisture. Some pet food labels also list the percentage of other ingredients, such as calcium and phosphorous.

My dog food is labeled as “natural” or “holistic”, doesn’t that mean it’s better? No, not necessarily. Food labeled as natural should contain few, if any, synthetic ingredients. Holistic, along with premium and super-premium, are marketing terms and there is no rule that controls how they’re used.
So what are some good pet foods and treats that contain the kind of nutrients my dog or cat need for a healthy diet? Orijen, Ziwipeak, Fromm, Acana, and Evanger’s have a wonderful selection of food and treats for dogs and cats that are formulated for a healthy diet.

We hope this has been helpful in giving the best for your furry family member! Check out this website that has a Nutritional Calculator to help you with how much your four-legged pal should be eating each day to be the appropriate weight!
Visit Mickey's Pet Supplies and take $3 off your $25 order with coupon code BL316.