17 Jun How to Choose Your Pet Food
Choosing pet food can be a difficult prospect – we want the best for our pets, but with so many choices, how can you decide? It’s vitally important you buy food that is designed for them – cats and dogs have very different nutritional requirements, for example.
Here are some top tips on how to choose your pet food and make sure your pet is getting their nutritional needs met, for a healthier and happier pet.
As your pet goes through different life stages, their nutritional needs will change. That’s why it’s a great idea to buy food that meets their requirements, and gives them the right nutrients at the right stage to help them grow and maintain their health. Kitten and puppy formulas have lots of ingredients to support the rapid growth and needs of a young animal, while elderly formulas include supplements to help with issues ageing pets might experience such as support for joint health.
As well as considering the age of your pet, you’ll need to consider their size and breed. Most foods will have recommendations for feeding amounts, but a formula especially for large or small breeds can help ensure they’re getting the right nutrition without over or under-feeding. If you have a breed that can be prone to obesity, it might be a good idea to chat to your vet about the best way to ensure their nutritional needs are met without encouraging unhealthy weight gain.
Wet or dry?
As long as the food is labelled “complete and balanced” or something very similar, you can choose whether you feel like wet or dry food is the right option for your pet. There’s no real difference between the two when it comes to nutrition, although your pet may have a preference for which one they like to eat. You might like a mix of both to keep the food interesting – just make sure you don’t accidentally overfeed your pet by sticking to the guidelines for their age and size.
Cheap vs Premium
Ultimately, the difference in price usually comes down to the quality of ingredients and the amount of “filler” ingredients that aren’t strictly important. As long as it is labelled as “complete and balanced”, even supermarket brands will meet your pet’s basic needs. Under the Australian pet food standard, if food is labelled as “complete or balanced”, it has to meet the nutritional requirements set by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). You might find your pet’s gut health and other functions might be improved with a premium brand, it will generally be tastier for your pet, and they should need to eat much less to get the same nutrition – but either will do for most animals.
Some pet owners prefer to feed their animals a home cooked diet. That should be ok, as long as it’s carefully researched and correctly supplemented to ensure that all the pet’s nutritional needs are met. It’s far more difficult to balance the correct nutrients with the right number of calories to maintain a healthy weight for your pet, so home-cooked pet food definitely takes a lot more effort.
How to Choose Your Pet Food
No matter what kind of feeding plan you choose for your furry friend, it’s important to run your feeding plan past your vet so they can help ensure your animal is getting the right stuff. It’s particularly important to talk to your vet if you are making your own food or including supplements. Your vet will be able to help you decide on the best food choices, keep an eye on your pet’s development and weight, and educate you on the pros and cons of different nutritional options.
We all want the best for our pets, and carefully considering the food you give them is an important way that you can care for their health and vitality. Choose a complete and balanced food that is endorsed by your vet, and you’ll be giving your pet what they need to support their wellbeing.