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5 Ingredients to Look for When Choosing Pet Food

The variety of pet foods that are available in pet stores and supermarkets can be overwhelming.

You can find food specially formulated for puppies and kittens, senior pets, overweight pets, or foods for pets with allergies to certain common components.

However, there are a number of essential ingredients that every commercial pet food should contain.

Pet food labels can tell you a great deal about the quality of the ingredients in the bag or can.

Here are a few of the most important components and why they are so critical to your pet’s health:

5 Ingredients to Look for When Choosing Pet Food


Protein is the mainstay of a healthy diet for dogs and cats, so the amount of protein should be among the first items in the list of ingredients.

Protein sources include both meat products such as chicken, beef, lamb, and fishmeal, as well as plant-based protein such as corn-gluten and soy meal.

However, protein should also be balanced with starches and other ingredients to provide a fully balanced diet for pets.

Amino Acids

Arginine, lysine, and tryptophan are just a few amino acids that are essential for dogs.

Check the label of cat food to see if taurine is listed in the ingredients.

Taurine is an amino acid that is critical for maintaining the health of cats.

Insufficient taurine can lead to vision problems and heart disease in felines.

Wide-eyed dog licking at dog food in orange bowl on table

Vitamin and Minerals

Dogs require nutrients such as vitamin A, B, C, D, E, and choline for good health. Choline is another nutrient that is important for body function.

Minerals like calcium, iron, phosphorus, and manganese also help to keep pets strong and healthy.

Natural pet food typically has enough to support your pet’s health and wellbeing.

However, it’s always a good idea to actually read the ingredients label.

When it comes to finding food with vitamins and minerals, consider how much is included per serving of food.

Some food has more filler than it does nutrition.

Fats and Oils

Although fats and oils have a bad reputation, they are an important part of a healthy diet.

Your pet’s food should contain some percentage of fats and oils to aid metabolic processes in the body and for healthy brain function.

Small white dog eating kibble out of dog bowl


Water is as important to pets’ health as it is to humans.

Check the label for the water content in the food.

Dry formulas will necessarily have less water in the food, which means you will have to supplement the food with plenty of freshwaters, to ensure your pet gets sufficient liquid for good health.

Smiling happy white dog laying in the grass with a blue ball

Understanding the ingredients in commercially available pet food and how they contribute to maintaining your pet’s health can help you to make good decisions when shopping for his or her daily nutrition and changing nutritional needs.

Keep these 5 items in mind, and you will be able to find the most beneficial food for your pet.

Antoinette M

Wednesday 23rd of March 2022

I have 2 cats and found this very helpful. Thanks!

Debbie P

Sunday 20th of March 2022

It can take some trial and a little error. Thanks for the info.

Molli Taylor

Sunday 20th of March 2022

I am struggling to find the right food for all my pets, it's not always about cost, but you want to do the best for your furbabies

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