As in humans, your pet’s food serves as the “fuel” for their bodies. You naturally want to provide the appropriate nutrition for your cat or dog, while also avoiding any ingredients that could potentially be harmful. But with so many different brands and formulas out there, how do you decipher confusing information and choose the food that is right for your pet?
Does your pet need a special diet? If your pet has been diagnosed with an allergy, we will guide you toward the appropriate food for them. Otherwise, you might have heard that certain diets, such as “holistic” or “human grade” are necessary for optimal health.
It’s important to remember that, as with human food, marketing terms often take over and trick our brains into thinking a particular product is superior to others. In some cases these foods will be appropriate for your pet, and in others the words can be fairly meaningless. So how do you know the difference? Reading the ingredients, along with the AAFCO statement on the bag, will help you to gain accurate and objective information.
Understanding AAFCO statements. All pet foods include a statement from the Association of American Feed Control Officials on the packaging. These statements include the following information:
- The life stage for which the food has been judged appropriate (puppy, kitten, adult, senior, and so on)
- The purpose of the food (such as for management of a particular condition, if applicable)
- Information on how the manufacturer has verified that the food is nutritionally balanced and the claims about its use are accurate
You can learn plenty by reading the bag, but all that “homework” isn’t for everyone. Rest assured that if you need more information on your pet’s food, we can guide you through the process of choosing one. Let’s discuss nutrition at your next visit, or give us a call if you’re considering a switch now. We can help you select the food that is right for your pet’s age, activity level, and health.
What about recalls? Considering that we’ve seen quite a few pet food recalls in the past few years, you might also be concerned with safety. The American Veterinary Medical Association keeps a record of all current recalls on their website. You can also follow them on Facebook or Twitter to receive this information quickly.