The world of pet food can be daunting as there is an overwhelming number of choices, all claiming to be the superior in one way or another. Pet food companies regularly complicate things with claims of being all natural, paleo, vegan, gran free, wheat free, balanced, premium and so on. It is also not uncommon that some brands package the same contents under different labels and price points.
Generally however, the cheapest pet foods are of the poorest quality.
So, what is the best for your pet?
The most simple answer is a balanced food, which is recommended for your pet's life stage.
Puppy - 8 weeks - 12 months (breed and size dependent)
Adult - 1-6 years
Mature - 7-10 years
Senior - 11+ years
However, this is really a guide only and specifics can change depending on the breed of your pet and the health status. For advice specific to your pet, please give us a call.
As our pets move through their lives their nutritional requirements change, just like people! Puppy foods can provide more antioxidants to help boost their immune systems while some senior foods help with arthritis issues, provide kidney protection and even improve brain function.
So what does a balanced diet actually mean?
As with people, there are daily recommended daily nutritional requirements for our pets. The best foods follow these guidelines to ensure they are providing everything our pets need. Other foods may provide all of the required ingredients but in incorrect quantities which can be detrimental to the health of ours pets.
For example, large breed puppies should not be fed too much calcium as it can lead to bone deformities.
All of the foods we recommend in clinic are precisely balanced for optimum nutrition, meaning your pet will be receiving exactly what they need with out having to feed them anything additional.
Wet vs Dry foods?
Whilst wet food of the same brand will provide no nutritional difference, there are other differences. For example, wet food can be wonderful for helping an ageing pet ingest their daily calorie requirement. However, for a young, fit and healthy dog we advise against feeding a wet food as it can cause tooth decay and increase your pets chances of needing to come in for a scale and polish.
What is digestibility?
Digestibility relates to how easily the animal can extract nutrients from the food, break it down and use it to fuel the body. Poor quality ingredients make it harder for pets to harness the true nutritional value of the food. For example, foods that use chicken feathers, ground bone or other scraps as their protein source rather than human grade meat will have a poor digestibility rating.
When a food is difficult to digest it means most of the nutrients is going to pass through the body, undigested leaving your pet with unhealthy stools, poor nutrition and often feeling hungry.
With pet food, you generally get what you pay for.
If you're ever in doubt about what you are feeding your pets, please give us a call or pop in for a chat. We're more than happy to discuss your pets diet, nutritional requirements and life stage to find the best food solution.