Choosing the right pet food to suit their needs

Time to read: 8 mins

The type of food your pet eats is a preference. No one type of pet food is better than the other, as long as they are getting all the nutrients they require. This can be ensured by buying high quality food that is transparent about their ingredients.

Dry vs. Wet Pet Food

Some people prefer dry food over wet food. This is mostly because:

  • Dry food helps to keep your pets’ teeth healthy and strong
  • There is no need for refrigeration
  • Easier to transport and clean up
  • It is slightly cheaper

It is cheaper because dry food has a much longer storage life and pets require a lot less dry food than they do wet food. When eating dry food pets consume many calories in a small amount, whereas wet food has fewer calories. This means more is needed to fill them up.

Most pets would choose wet food as the smell is more intense and therefore has more flavour. Wet food is a good option pets that don’t drink much water because it has a higher water content. This helps them to increase their water consumption throughout the day. Hydration is key for your pets especially in the warmer temperatures. If your pet has a large appetite, wet food could help them maintain a lower weight. Due to the fewer calories per serving, they can eat more wet food without gaining weight.

Raw Pet Food

Recently there has been a rise in raw food for pets. This is due to an increase in the need for transparency of what is going into our pet’s food. Some mainstream dog food brands are mass produced with chemicals and unnatural preservatives that are bad for your pets. Raw pet food removes these unnatural components to give your dog a natural option.

There are some noticeable benefits from pets eating raw pet food:

  • Shinier coats
  • More energy
  • Healthier skin which is less itchy
  • Improved gut health

However, there are negatives to raw food:

  • The food will have to be refrigerated and the expiry dates must be closely monitored to avoid making your pet sick
  • Harmful bacteria in the food because it is not cooked could also make your pet sick
  • Homemade pet food requires a lot of preparation and time to make it

Homemade Pet Food

As people move away from move away from conventional store-bought food there is a rise in a homemade option. If your pet is a fussy eater or they have an intolerance making their food could be a good option for you. Although, it might not be the best option for everyone as it is very time consuming and requires a lot of research to make sure your pet is staying healthy on their new diet.

When making food for your pet you should always follow a tried and tested recipe. These recipes should be from a trusted source like a vet or a vet nutritionist. The foods must be balanced and have all of the necessary nutrients your pet requires. Lack of nutrition could lead to malnourishment and too much could lead to obesity. There are certain foods that dogs and cats cannot eat, and they should not be added to your pets’ meals. Some of these include chocolate, onions and garlic. If you have any questions about homemade pet food contact a vet nutritionist. They will be able to answer your questions.

Senior Pet Food

As your pets get older their metabolism slows down.  This puts them at risk of gaining weight. Food for older dogs  and cats has less calories to avoid them putting on an unhealthy amount of weight.

Puppy and Kitten Food

Puppies and kittens need the right food so they can grow, get stronger and their joints and bones can form correctly. Since they are growing so rapidly, puppies and kittens need food that will aid their physical development. In certain dog breeds, like Labradors, the puppies are susceptible to hip dysplasia. They should also be fed at regular intervals as this will teach them not to overeat or stretch their growing stomachs.

Grain free Pet Food

This means that grains such as rice, wheat or maize have been substituted with other carbs such as sweet potato or chickpeas. There is no proof to say one is better than the other. Although, a recent study conducted by the FDA into the correlation between dogs on a grain-free diet and them having cardiomyopathy. Out of all of the dogs studied 90% of them were on a grain-free diet. The study is ongoing. This means no official results have been released and it cannot be said whether the grain-free pet food is the reason for the cardiomyopathy. A recent update to the study has shifted the focus from not only grain-free diets but what they call BEG diets. This stands for boutique companies, exotic ingredients and grain free diets. These include fruits, vegetables and foreign meat that pets are not used to eating. To find out more on this issue be sure to look at the American Kennel Clubs article  https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/nutrition/fda-grain-free-diet-alert-dcm/

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