The food aisle of the pet store is lined with so many different brands and choices, it can be tough to know which food is right for your pet. Do you go with a special kibble that promises to help with weight loss, or the canned food that shows a pampered-looking pup on the label? We’ve broken down a few helpful tips for choosing pet foods, so you can be sure you’re getting a quality product that’s both delicious and healthy for your pet.
It’s all in the ingredients.
Just like packaged human foods, most commercial pet foods contain a long list of ingredients that go into every bag or can. Dry food in particular contains a lot of added grains and “fillers” that help bulk up the product and make it clump nicely into those little pieces of kibble. But these fillers don’t do much in the way of providing nutrients. When shopping, take a look at the list of ingredients. It’s best to go with a food that lists real meat as one of the top two ingredients, rather than a filler like “chicken by-product meal.” If real meat accounts for two of the top three ingredients, even better.
Wet or dry?
There are two main categories of pet food, the wet and the dry, and there are pros and cons for each. Wet food (also known as canned food) generally contains fewer grain ingredients, which is better for a pet’s diet. However, canned food contains more added water, which can make it harder for some pets to get the nutrients they need from this food source, particularly large dogs. Dry food (also known as kibble) is much easier to buy in bulk and cheaper for feeding large pets that require more food. There’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to wet versus dry; in fact, you might mix a little bit of both in your pet’s dish for a healthy balance.
While keeping your pet on an all-natural or home-cooked diet is a wonderful route, it’s not feasible or affordable for most of us to stick to long term. So, if you’re going the commercial route, try to look for foods that contain no added chemicals or colorings. Doing a little research online will give you a better idea of which brands stay away from unnecessary additives.
Supplement with real foods.
It’s a great idea to supplement your pet’s commercial food with raw fruits and veggies and cooked meats, like chicken. Check out our list of 5 People Foods That Are Good for Dogs, along with our original pet recipes like slow cooker doggie stew and clean-eating mutt loaf.