What your pet eats can have a major impact on health, body composition and energy levels. It can even help ease skin or gut conditions and lengthen life.
No pressure, right?
With the wide array of brands and (sometimes conflicting) advice, it can be hard to know what’s best. There’s no single right answer for everyone, but there may be a right answer for you based on your needs. Here’s where to start:
Don’t be misled by marketing. While pet food labels must contain factual information, they are also used to attract customers. Beware of words like ‘premium’, ‘holistic’, or ‘human grade.’ They are unregulated terms that don’t mean much.
Ensure the food is complete and balanced. Unless your pet’s diet has special requirements and is being looked after by a vet, all pet foods need to be complete and balanced. If an over-the-counter pet food says it is for intermittent or supplemental use, it is not suitable to feed your pet daily.
The food should match your pet’s life stage. Kittens and puppies are growing and have different nutrition needs than adults and seniors. Make sure the food you choose works for your pet’s age.
Know your pet’s individual needs. Does your cat or dog have allergies to or gastrointestinal issues with certain proteins? If so, find the ones that work for them. Make sure to check with your vet to be sure you’re feeding something that aligns to your pet’s specific requirements.
Go the extra mile. If you really want to be certain the quality of food is where it should be, call the manufacturer. Ask whether they employ a qualified nutritionist. Check to see what quality control measures they have in place. Find out if there is any published research that you can review.
If you want more help choosing a pet food, you can refer to this article from the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) Global Nutrition Committee or talk to your veterinarian.
If you’d like to take a more holistic approach to creating a pet wellness plan, it’s also a good idea to consider pet insurance.
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