Pet owners fear for the health of their animal household members. Feeding your pet healthy meals and snacks helps ensure its excellent well-being.
But, you might wonder how to choose the best food for your animal friends? Continue reading to know five essential factors in shopping for the best pet food.
The Pet’s Age
As you consider your animal companion’s age in search of the best pet food, consider shying away (for now) from the pet food label. Your pet needs age-appropriate food, which means you shouldn’t feed a 5-year old dog with food meant for a 1-year old pup.
The best dog food contains nutrients essential to the pooch’s current growth stage. For instance, a puppy will require more proteins and higher calories than adult or senior dogs. It’s because pups need more energy as their bodies need the nutrients for quick and healthy growth cycles.
Use a similar strategy when choosing the best cat food. After fully-weaning from the mother cat’s milk, kittens need about one-half to one cup of dry kitten food. However, the dietary needs will change once the kitty reaches the 1-year old mark.
Choose the Right Ingredients
Don’t choose pet food only from the appearance of the label. Note that a happy cat or dog on the packaging isn’t a surefire indication that the food option is healthy for your animal friend.
Practice due diligence in reading the list of ingredients on the label. Start by searching for products that contain the following ingredients:
- Carbohydrates and grains
- Oils and fats
Carbohydrates and grains can become excellent energy sources for your pets. Consequently, protein helps keep the animal’s weight in check. Oils and fats encourage vitamin and mineral absorption. Vegetables help in improving your pet’s overall well-being.
But ensure that the pet food you choose doesn’t have certain ingredients like food dyes, rendered fat, and harmful chemicals. As a rule of thumb, avoid ingredients with names that you have trouble pronouncing. These compounds deter your animal friend from achieving peak wellness.
Beware of Buzzwords
You might find words like “Organic,” “Grain-Free,” and “Non-GMO” on the labels of various pet food. As the brands promise that your animal friend will reach peak health with their products, some of these variants require you to pay top dollar.
But consider if these fancy pet foods are going to be worth the high price. Always remember that you shouldn’t risk your pet’s health by buying shady products.
Remember that products labeled “Premium” or “Holistic” can’t guarantee that your pet can achieve peak wellness. Instead, go beyond what’s written on the front of the product and check the rear. This is where you should see detailed information about pet food, such as the list of ingredients and nutritional value.
Check for Food Allergies
Like humans, animals can have food allergies. Some foods that may cause allergic reactions to cats and dogs are:
- Dairy products
Note that each pet will have unique physiologies. Hence, some animals might be allergic to some food options, while others will seem fine after eating the same food.
For example, after eating shrimp, one dog might scratch incessantly while another pooch will seem fine (and happy). You’ll know if your pet has an allergic reaction to the food they eat if they encounter symptoms, like the following:
- Itchy rash
- Hair loss
Take a Trip to the Vet
If you’re unsure about what food to give your pet, consider consulting a veterinarian before starting your search. Remember, proper pet-feeding habits begin with careful consideration of the steps to take. A trip to the vet can help you find solutions to concerns and issues about your pet’s diet and other health-related inquiries.
You can start by asking your veterinarian to perform a body analysis for your animal friend. This procedure will help determine the pet’s current body condition. From here, you should know if your animal companion has a healthy weight or if it’s over or underweight.
Don’t hesitate to contact your veterinarian if you find yourself straying too far from the information provided in particular pet food. The animal expert should be more than willing to help you out in this regard.
Always be mindful of the food you give to your animal friend. Ensure that you check the essentials, like your pet’s age and the product’s ingredients, as you shop for the best pet food. Remain diligent, and you should see your pet reward you with the best smile it can give.