Overview of a Good Pet Food
When it comes to pet food, there are a few simple, fundamental rules that can be used to choose better foods for your pet. These rules form the basis for all of our food evaluations at Petnet. Although we will be diving much deeper into ingredients and pet food labels in the coming months, if you stick to these basic ideas, you will more than likely end up with a quality food.
1. Natural is better than artificial.
When in doubt, choose the more natural option instead of an artificial or processed one. Our pet’s bodies, and our own bodies for that matter, are made to get fuel and nutrition from food items that naturally occur on the Earth. Overly processed ingredients or those made in a laboratory do not meet this requirement. Look for recognizable, whole food ingredients such as salmon, blueberries, and sage instead of salmon meal, ascorbic acid, or propylene glycol.
2. Animal and fish protein is key.
Dogs and cats are carnivores. Their bodies are meant to thrive on diets that are made up of the flesh of animals and fish. Grains and other filler ingredients, while possibly supplying protein, are not optimal for dogs and cats. Look for foods with ingredients such as beef or trout instead of corn or wheat. A quick way to determine if the food contains appropriate amounts of protein and fat, instead of carbs, is to look at the guaranteed analysis on the label. For dry dog foods, the sum of the protein and fat percentages should be 45% or higher. For dry cat foods, this number should be 55% or higher.
3. Real, named meat should be the primary protein source.
Make sure that the protein is one that you would see in nature. For example, you want ingredients like turkey or chicken instead of poultry or beef instead of meat. Although meals (e.g. chicken meal) are a concentrated source of protein and are used in many recipes, they are processed and shouldn’t form the foundation of your pet’s food. When was the last time you went to the farm and saw a chicken meal coop? Avoid byproducts as well since they are unspecified parts of the animal and might contain low digestible ingredients or come from a rendering process.