Category Archives: Pet Nutrition

Pet Food Nutrition Advice: Do You Know What Your Pet is Eating?

by Dr. Patty Gabig

Pet-food-regulatory-1704PETlabel (002)The​ ​Pet​ ​food​ ​industry​ ​has​ ​grown​ ​so​ ​much​ ​in​ ​the​ ​past​ ​decade​ ​that​ ​deciding​ ​what​ ​type​ ​of​ ​food​ ​to​ ​feed​ ​your pet​ ​can​ ​be​ ​an​ ​ordeal​ ​and​ ​even​ ​worse​ ​when​ ​you​ ​have​ ​a​ ​pet​ ​with​ ​a​ ​dietary​ ​intolerance​ ​or​ ​disease,​ ​like kidney​ ​failure.​ ​​ ​It’s​ ​hard​ ​not​ ​to​ ​be​ ​persuaded​ ​by​ ​all​ ​the​ ​advice​ ​“out​ ​there”​ ​from:​ ​​ ​advertisers,​ ​breeders,​ ​the pet​ ​store​ ​check​ ​out​ ​clerk​ ​or​ ​on-line​ ​(Food​ ​Babe,​ ​The​ ​Dog​ ​Food​ ​Advisor)​ ​to​ ​name​ ​a​ ​few.​ ​​ ​Who​ ​to​ ​trust?​ ​The best​ ​way​ ​to​ ​make​ ​an​ ​informed​ ​decision​ ​is​ ​with​ ​your​ ​pet’s​ ​veterinarian.​ ​Your​ ​vet​ ​understands​ ​your​ ​pet and​ ​can​ ​help​ ​you​ ​find​ ​some​ ​good​ ​options​ ​or​ ​point​ ​you​ ​in​ ​the​ ​right​ ​direction.

Nutrition​ ​Tips/Advice
-If​ ​you​ ​pay​ ​a​ ​lot​ ​for​ ​a​ ​pet​ ​food​ ​it​ ​doesn’t​ ​guarantee​ ​that​ ​it’s​ ​a​ ​good​ ​diet.
-It’s​ ​not​ ​the​ ​ingredients​ ​but​ ​the​​ ​​nutrients ​that​ ​are​ ​most​ ​important​ ​in​ ​a​ ​good​ ​food.
-If​ ​the​ ​label​ ​does​ ​not​ ​list​ ​the​ ​calories,​ ​put​ ​it​ ​back.​ ​This​ ​is​ ​a​ ​red​ ​flag​ ​for​ ​possible​ ​quality​ ​control​ ​issues.
-If​ ​the​ ​product​ ​does​ ​NOT​ ​indicate​ ​that​ ​it​ ​meets​ ​AAFCO​ ​requirements,​ ​don’t​ ​buy​ ​it.
-Recipes​ ​for​ ​homemade​ ​or​ ​raw​ ​meat​ ​diets​ ​MUST​ ​meet​ ​AAFCO​ ​requirements
-Many​ ​on-line​ ​or​ ​in​ ​print​ ​​ ​for​ ​homemade​ ​recipes​ ​and​ ​raw​ ​meat​ ​diets​ ​do​ ​NOT​ ​meet​ ​AAFCO​ ​requirements
-Consult​ ​with​ ​a​ ​veterinary​ ​nutritionist​ ​if​ ​you​ ​are​ ​going​ ​to​ ​feed​ ​a​ ​homemade​ ​or​ ​raw​ ​meat​ ​diet.
-“Pre-Mix”​ ​diets​ ​where​ ​you​ ​just​ ​add​ ​the​ ​meat​ ​usually​ ​do​ ​not​ ​meet​ ​AAFCO​ ​requirements.
-The​ ​first​ ​ingredient​ ​on​ ​a​ ​pet​ ​food​ ​label​ ​does​ ​not​ ​always​ ​mean​ ​that​ ​that​ ​is​ ​the​ ​main​ ​ingredient​ ​your​ ​pet​ ​is getting​ ​when​ ​fed.
-Pet​ ​food​ ​labels​ ​can​ ​be​ ​misleading.​ ​In​ ​order​ ​to​ ​really​ ​tell​ ​what​ ​%​ ​protein,​ ​carbohydrate​ ​or​ ​fat​ ​is​ ​in​ ​a product​ ​you​ ​must​ ​calculate​ ​it.​ ​​ ​A​ ​good​ ​calculator​ ​can​ ​be​ ​found​ ​at:​ ​​balanceit.com. Click​ ​on​ ​the​ ​“​help”​ ​button and​ ​select​ ​“​guaranteed analysis converter”​ ​from​ ​the​ ​drop​ ​down​ ​menu.​ ​Enter​ ​the​ ​pet​ ​food​ ​product information​ ​in​ ​here. 
-Cats​ ​are​ ​​carnivores,​ ​blueberries​ ​may​ ​sound​ ​great​ ​but​ ​they​ ​gain​ ​no​ ​nutritional​ ​value​ ​from​ ​them.
-The​ ​term​ ​“human​ ​grade”​ ​can​ ​be​ ​misleading.​ ​If​ ​a​ ​pet​ ​food​ ​lists​ ​itself​ ​as​ ​human​ ​grade​ ​then​ ​ALL​ ​of​ ​the ingredients​ ​must​ ​be​ ​human​ ​grade.​ ​Not​ ​just​ ​one​ ​ingredient,​ ​like​ ​chicken,​ ​for​ ​example.

Reliable​ ​Internet​ ​Sources
-Pet​ ​Nutrition​ ​Alliance​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​http://petnutritionalliance.org/
-Petfoodology-Tufts​ ​University VMC​ ​Clinical​ ​Nutrition​ ​Service http://vetnutrition.tufts.edu/petfoodology/
-Blog​ ​by​ ​Dr.​ ​Lisa​ ​Weeth​ ​DVM​ ​DACVN​ ​​ ​​http://weethnutrition.wordpress.com/
-AAFCO​ ​(Association​ ​of​ ​American​ ​Feed​ ​Control​ ​Officials​ ​information​ ​for​ ​Pet​ ​Owners) http://talkspetfood.aafco.org/
-Q&A​ ​with​ ​Rebecca​ ​Remillard​ ​Phd,​ ​dvm,davcn-search​ ​various​ ​topics​ ​​ ​​http://www.petsdiets.com/ Select:​ ​“Ask​ ​the​ ​Nutritionist”​ ​from​ ​the​ ​menu​ ​bar