Food! That’s a magic word ’round our house! When my Lady calls supper time, ya can bet we all come a runnin’! We get breakfast time too, but most of us ain’t hungry in the mornin’s. Now I ain’t that particular ’bout my food, but my Lady sure is! She’s always a studin’ the writin’ on them packages and tellin’ us we have to eat good. I thought long as your belly was full that was called good eatin’?! I’m a guessin’ I don’t know much ’bout the nutritional side of things. Today, I’m gonna let my Lady tell ya all ’bout natural pet food nutrition and what ya need to know ’bout it and why it matters!
Natural pet food nutrition is so important for our pets’ health and well being. We can take them to all of their vet appointments and get them all of their vaccinations, but if we’re putting garbage into their bowls, what’s the point? Just like us, our pets need quality food to be at their best.
What is Natural Pet Food Nutrition
Natural pet food nutrition is exactly what it sounds like. Natural nutrition. I know that sounds like a no brainer, but natural and nutrition don’t necessarily go hand in hand. Think about it. Corn meal gluten is all natural. That doesn’t mean it’s healthy. Thankfully, natural pet health nutrition isn’t nearly as time consuming or frustrating as it used to be. Pet owners today are moving towards healthier diets for their pets, which means that more companies are moving towards making healthier foods.
What Does Natural Pet Food Health Mean for Your Fur Baby
It means better overall health. All bargain basement dog foods contain things like chicken and beef byproducts as well as corn meal gluten or rice gluten. Because they are the absolute dregs of the bone bin, it makes sense that many, many dogs are allergic to these ingredients. Food allergy symptoms can range from a small amount of tearing to major medical problems. A dog with severe food allergies can suffer from chronic ear and skin infections, intestinal distress, and in some cases, staff infections secondary to chronic low grade skin infections. It can be very bad. The unfortunate thing is that it’s totally avoidable.
How to Pick Quality Pet Food
The road to picking quality pet food begins with one simple truth. Anything that looks like candy for your pet isn’t good for them. Kibbles n’ Bits? Nope. Fancy Feast? Get it out of there. Like I said before, we need to feed our pets like we feed ourselves, and junk is no good. That pretty dog food or cat food that our pets flock to is filled with low grade protein, various grain glutens, artificial colors, preservatives, and more. Stay away from it!
The second step in your journey to natural pet food nutrition is finding brands without all the junk in them. This is easier than you might think. You generally won’t see them at your local big box store, so head over to your local pet supply store. That’s where the good stuff is. Brands like Blue Buffalo and Natural Balance, just to name a couple, are made with high quality proteins and much better carbohydrate sources.
Why Carbohydrate Sources Matter
Although dogs and cats need carbohydrates for energy, the sources are important. While dogs and cats – dogs to a greater extent – are both omnivores, there are certain carbohydrate sources that they aren’t built for. Carbohydrate sources like corn and wheat gluten are not in any canine’s or feline’s natural diet. Instead, look for dog foods with carbohydrate sources which do not have the word gluten in them. Many dogs can handle wheat as a carboyhdrate source, it’s the gluten that gets them. Gluten is the dregs of any carbohydrate source. Do this for your cats as well. It’s just as easy. All of the good brands of dog food make cat food as well.
Why Protein Sources Matter
Just like carbohydrates, the protein in your pet’s food matters as well. If a food contains the word “byproduct” put it down immediately. “Byproduct” basically means that they went to a slaughter house, swept up the floor, and put it into your dog’s or your cat’s food. Does that sound healthy? Nope. Look for protein sources such as chicken, beef, and fish. Some diets even use venison, duck, or rabbit.
Natural Pet Food Nutrition is More than Just Protein and Carbs
While protein and carbohydrate sources are two biggies on the short list of what to look for in dog and cat food. There are other things to consider as well. This is mainly geared towards dogs, as cats are almost exclusively carnivores. Proper nutrition for dogs includes vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants from other sources as well.
While all dog foods are fortified with the proper amounts of vitamins and minerals, really great foods will also include things like:
As you can see, all of the foods that are great sources of antioxidants and other phytonutrients are also great sources for our dogs. You can even give these foods to your dogs as treats! One important thing to remember is that you should never give your dogs onions, grapes, or raisins. These are toxic to your dog. Generally speaking, stick to cat food for your kitties. They can have sensitive stomachs.
This is good overview for you to reference when considering natural pet food nutrition. In the coming weeks, we’ll go into more detail on ingredients, why they matter, and other things to consider when making nutritional sources for your pets. Until then, check the label on your dog food, and if it has any of the no-nos we just discussed, get it out of your house and go get some quality food for your furry family member. It’s one of the best things you can do for them!