The pet food isle can be an overwhelming place to be. We want to feed our pets the best food we can to help ensure they live the longest, happiest life possible. However, there is an abundance of options and not all of them are created equal. Feeding poor quality diets and overfeeding can cause health issues, like obesity, that will shorten your pet’s life. Here we will share some key points to empower you to shop with confidence.
When selecting any food or treats for our pets we are looking for the product to meet certain criteria:
- Made in the USA or Canada
- Uses safe preservatives (avoid products listing BHA or BHT on the ingredient label)
- No artificial colors or flavors
- Most importantly, has the necessary quality control to prove to you what is on the label is in the bag.
- Specifically, for treats, we want them to be less than 10 kcal/treat and that we only give 4-5 a day to avoid over feeding.
The FDA has released a statement on the link between grain free foods and an increased risk in heart disease. Whenever possible, choosing a food that contains grains will be the safest option for their overall health.
Most dogs and cats do best on twice daily meals. The amount will depend on the size, age, and lifestyle of your pet. We recommend Hill’s Science Diet Healthy Advantage and Purina Pro Plan diets. Dr. Sweet’s dog, Clark, eats Purina Pro Plan. Dr. Sweet’s cat, Horatio, eats Hill’s Science Diet. Meal fed animals are statistically less overweight than grazers. Meal feeding can be done by putting the food down only for 20-30 min at each meal time. They will adjust to eating when food is available.
Dog Treats: Zukes and Nutro are both low calorie treat options.
Dog Food Alternatives: Orijen, Merrick, and Wellness are both food options that have more familiarly named ingredients on the label and often have organic options.
Cat Treats: Purina Pro Plan and Wellness are both low calorie treat options.
Cat Food Alternatives: Merrick and Wellness are both food options that have more familiarly named ingredients on the label and often have organic options.
Always provide free access to fresh, clean water. Some dogs and cats can be encouraged to drink more water by using a pet fountain.
The corresponding wet food that goes with your pet’s dry food diet can be used as a treat or used to give medicine. Wet food is another way to get additional moisture into your pet’s diet. Wet food diets due to tend to contain more fat and the dry food should be reduced to accommodate the additional calories. Sudden diet changes, new treats, or human food can cause GI upset that can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, or more severe complications, like pancreatitis.
All dogs and cats will eventually need a dental cleaning. Depending on their tartar build up, some pets need dentals every year to maintain good dental health. We know that dental disease can affect the entire body. The American Heart Association has found that humans with gum disease have three times the risk for a serious cardiovascular event, like a heart attack or stroke. Dental treats, diets, and chews are all helpful for at home dental care, as well as, brushing the teeth. Dry diets formulated for dental health, like Hill’s Science Diet TD, are designed differently than the typical dry food to help prevent tartar build up. If your pet is eating an all wet diet, it will be important to find ways to encourage healthy chewing, especially, because most dogs and cats do not chew their food well. For the pets that do not play much with toys or won’t tolerate having their teeth brushed, Entero, a special probiotic can help prevent tartar build up by fighting at the level of the bacteria in the mouth.
Please, let us know how we can help you design the best, high quality diet for your pet.
A veterinary facebook page suggests only feeding foods which are WSAVA compliant. Thoughts?
That is an excellent question. WSAVA is a great resource. They have an informative FAQ document for dog and cat diets here: https://wsava.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Frequently-Asked-Questions-and-Myths.pdf You will find additional nutritional information there and that there is also a lot of overlap in the information in this blog post. The overwhelming statement for WSAVA Guidelines is that “The most important thing is that the final product (formulated by
experts) is tested to ensure that the nutritional requirements of your pet are met.”
It is really nice to hear about Cat food ideas and thoughts. Thank you for the updates.
Thank you for the feedback. We are happy to help.
I have 3 cats and I have some doubts about which cat food I should feed them but I think this blog me help me to a little bit more about cat food.
Thank you for the feedback. We are happy to help. Feeding a multi-cat household can be challenging. It helps if they all have the same dietary and nutritional needs. However, it is often hard to find a food that works equally well for each of them. Electronic cat feeders can be make the task less stressful.