For many of us, our pets are our babies, and we want to make sure they get the best care they possibly can. This includes diet, and with so many brands and differing advice on the matter, how do you make sure your pets are really getting what they need from their food? We’re going to go over four bits of advice that should help you make informed decisions about what your pets need in their diet.
4 Ways To Make Sure Your Pets Are Getting What They Need From Food
Consult Your Veterinarian
A professional veterinarian is more qualified than anyone to talk to you about your pet’s nutrition. They will be able to answer your questions, recommend brands and be able to tell you any important elements that might be missing from your pet’s diet. Always be sure to be straightforward with your vet and tell them any symptoms your pet might be experiencing as well as what you have been feeding them.
Not all pets are the same, either, even within the same species or the same breed. Allergies, for example, are a fairly common dietary need. Your vet can help determine what your pet might be allergic to and then recommend foods that will still give your pet a nutritious diet sans the problem ingredient(s). Professional veterinarians and animal nutritionists are the authorities you should trust when it comes to making sure your pets are getting what they need from their food.
Understanding What Labels Mean
Pet foods are labeled with all sorts of information and ingredients but many people do not actually know what the labels mean. For example, the origin of the ingredient is more important than whether it is a byproduct or not. This is part of the problem and why many pet owners do not trust foods with meat byproducts in them, because the quality can vary. However, it’s generally accepted that the food coming from a reputable company is of sufficient quality.
Information relating to how the food might have been processed is important to note too. Whether a food has gone through clinical feed trials is also an important element to consider. It may not be a large issue, but it may also be worth learning a bit more about pet food processing equipment so you understand how the food is put together.
Don’t Buy Into Some Of The Hype
There has been a recent movement towards more gourmet foods for pets. However, our pets simply don’t need human quality food. It’s important to remember that pet food companies market to owners and what sounds good to eat for the owner is not necessarily what is good to eat for the pet. Grain free can be good for pets with dietary needs, but is generally not necessary, especially for dogs. However, it can be a good option for dogs with food allergies to things like corn.
Do Your Research (And Check The Source)
Doing your own research is an important step towards ensuring your pet is getting what it needs in its diet. For example, experienced small animal owners will tell you that blocks, supplemented with fruits, vegetables, and grains on occasion, is generally recommended as opposed to seed mixes. This is because seed mixes tend to be higher in fat and doesn’t wear down the perpetually-growing incisors of rodents very well. Hearing different opinions and then deciding for yourself is something you will eventually have to do, as long as the opinions are backed by science and significant experience. Remember that a certified animal nutritionist or a veterinarian’s opinion should carry more weight than some blogger or commenter on the Internet.
There is a lot of hype and misinformation out there about pet foods, and the real answer is that one size doesn’t fit all. Different pets are going to have different dietary needs and what works for one pet may not work for another. It’s up to owners to do their research, consult with professionals and try out different types and brands to come up with their own answer.