Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Which food should I be feeding my pets?
A: With literally dozens of brands and hundreds of formulas, how do you know what kind of food is right for your pet? For this article we’ll focus on commercially available diets. When choosing a food, in most cases you get what you pay for. Although premium diets are more expensive per pound, they also contain more nutrients with less filler. Premium diets contain all of the vitamins, minerals, and enzymes that your pet needs to stay healthy. Best of all you don’t have to be a nutritionist to know that what you’re feeding is good for your pet’s health.
It’s been shown that a good quality food combined with optimal weight control improves the quality of life and increases longevity. Specialty pet diets can be formulated for life stages, breed size, dental health, and weight control. Like human food, commercial pet diets range in quality from that of fast food to whole quality ingredients.
So which diets would we consider to be premium?
Listed in order of combined quality and value: Hill’s Science Diet | Royal Canin | Iams/Eukanuba | Nutro. Diets which are less nutrient dense: Ol’Roy | Attaboy & Attacat | Alpo | MeowMix | During the past few years we’ve seen a flood of new diets with brands like Avoderm and Blue Buffalo. Unfortunately it’s still too early for us to speak to the value of these new diets, but the ingredients appear to be of good quality. No matter which food you choose it’s important not to change formulas too often. Frequent changes, even within the same brand can lead to an upset stomach or fussy eating habits. When changing diets it’s best to do so over a 3-5 day period slowly mixing in the new diet while phasing out the old.
Canned Food: There’s no doubt that most cats and dogs love canned foods. Keep in mind when feeding this type of food, dental plaque will accumulate faster than with dry food. Most canned diets contain 70% or more water and don’t always provide the best value. When feeding canned diets it’s also not uncommon for us to hear that my pet won’t eat their food anymore. Upon further investigation, these situations are usually due to switching wet food brands or substituting wet food for dry. Once your pet discovers they like one food over another, they can be remarkably stubborn holding out for “the good stuff.”
Measuring food and remaining consistent is important for optimal weight control too. Your pet could live an additional 2 years beyond the average life span by staying trim. Most foods will have feeding tables based on optimal weight. Because every pet is different, you may have to adjust the feeding amounts up or down to maintain proper weight control. Beware that some commercial dog treats are beginning to use sugar (which will be listed in the ingredients) to increase their flavor appeal. Feel free to drop by our hospital any time to weigh your pets and pick up a body diagram.
Pet food governing bodies are the USDA and AAFCO.
Written by: Justin Fall, RVT, Practice Manager
Stay tuned for truth in advertising
- How accurate is the information in pet food commercials?