When you walk down the aisle at the pet supply store, you are probably overwhelmed with all of the pet food options available to you. Not only are there a number of different brands of pet food, but each brand has several different meal choices for your cat or dog. There are options for aging pets, pets with joint issues, puppies and kittens. You can choose chicken, lamb, beef or vegetarian flavors, and each brand claims it puts your pet’s health, wellness and development first. While choosing a quality holistic pet food is essential, it’s important to know that no pet food will meet all of your pet’s nutritional needs.
5 Tips for Choosing a Pet Food
- Read the ingredient list. The first ingredient in the list is the most concentrated ingredient, and it should be a lean protein. Chicken, beef or lamb are good protein choices.
- Don’t pick the cheapest option. Cheap food is inexpensive because it’s filled with fillers that offer your pet no nutritional value. You get more for your money when you purchase high quality food for your pet.
- Check to make sure it has an expiration date on the bag. You will want to remember this date and be sure to use all of the food before it expires in order to keep your pet safe and well.
- Verify that the food meets the standards of the Association of American Feed Control Officials, which regulates the pet food industry. Use contact information on the pet food bag in order to confirm that it meets these standards. Do keep in mind, however, that the AAFCO standards merely ensure that the food provides the ingredients necessary to sustain life, not the many beneficial nutrients necessary to promote optimal health.
- Choose a pet food that does not have questionable preservatives, such as BHT, BHA and propolyneglycol. Natural preservatives, including Vitamins C and A, are preferred to chemically-produced preservatives.