How To Choose The Best Diet For Your Pet
A good diet is ultimately the best way to keep your pet healthy and happy. Unfortunately, opinions about pet nutrition vary among veterinarians, breeders, and pet owners – mainly because there is not just one answer regarding the best pet diet.
In a perfect world, all pet food would be created equal. Unfortunately, that’s not the case, making it incredibly frustrating for pet owners to find pet food that is nutritious, affordable, and appealing to their pets.
So, how can you choose the best diet for your pet? Here are some tips to help you out.
Get Educated About Pet Nutrition
What makes pet food “good”?
Well, that depends on various factors, including your pet’s species, activity levels, and life stage. In addition, different animals have unique nutritional requirements. It’s also important to remember that dogs and cats have different dietary needs compared to humans. So while it’s perfectly okay to feed pets from your table, human food shouldn’t be their primary form of nutrition.
If you prefer to cook a homemade diet for your pet, it’s a good idea to consult a veterinary nutritionist first. Commercially available pet foods are designed to have the right balance of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients, and it can be challenging to achieve such a balance in homemade diets.
The best pet diet is one that is:
- Complete and balanced
Ideally, pet food should contain all required nutrients in proper proportions. This means the food has been formulated to ensure it contains all the proper nutrients your pet needs to grow and live healthy without any deficiencies.
Researching a pet food brand beforehand is crucial to ensure its products are free of deficiencies, excesses, and toxins. On that note, choose meat-based pet foods and avoid those with high levels of chemical preservatives and fillers, such as corn and soy.
- Life stage appropriate
Some pet food may be marked “All Life Stages.” This means that the pet food has undergone feeding trials for all life stages. It’s important to approach such labels with some level of caution. Nutrient requirements will change as your cat or dog ages. Kittens and puppies require a more nutrient-dense diet to meet their growing needs. Diets for adult animals will typically contain lower levels of certain nutrients. As such, it’s a safer bet to opt for a diet that’s specifically formulated for each life stage.
Read Pet Food Labels
When choosing a pet food brand, check to see that it’s “AAFCO” certified. The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) has formulated standards for pet nutrition that will be reflected on the pet food label. It’s essentially a way to ensure that the specific pet food brand contains the nutrients it claims. More importantly, some brands go out of their way to exceed AAFCO guidelines by conducting extensive feeding trials. As a result, these brands are always a great choice.
Consult Your Veterinarian
You’ll need to rotate your pet’s diet at different life stages to maintain the best pet diet, which may mean switching to another brand. Consulting a veterinarian – especially one with a background in pet nutrition – can help you make the correct change. Some factors to consider include whether your pet is a large breed dog.
When changing your pet’s diet, it helps to add a little more of the new food to the old food each day over several days. It’s also recommended to keep an eye on your pet’s overall appearance and attitude during this period for signs of illness or incompatibility with the pet food brand.
Contact Hebron Veterinary Hospital
Contact us at (860) 228-4324 or visit our contact page if you need help choosing the best pet diet. We are here for you. Also, be sure to give us a call if it’s time for any of your other pet’s regular wellness or preventative care visit.