How do we choose food for our pets? There is a large number of factors when considering what’s right for our furry, feathered and finned friends. Sometimes it’s as simple as sticking with the food our pet was weaned on as a baby. If it works why change it?
However, there are times where for some reason, our pets diet requires a change. This could be based on something as simple as the product no longer being available to purchase at a local store, a price increase, or even an intolerance or reaction to an ingredient within the food itself.
We’ve made a list of 5 things that may impact our pet’s long-term health, and the decisions we need to make that contribute towards what we feed our pet.
Vet bills are a large factor. No one likes expensive vet bill that are beyond our control, and the right food is often the cause of some unnecessary bills that could have been avoided. Often problems like anal glands for dogs, bad stool, and dry flaky irritable skin are a result of incorrect food. More often than not, pet food brands have inhouse nutritionists that can help you choose the right diet and supplements for your pet (if required).
High street pet stores often get asked “what should I feed my pet” when it’s in need of a vet. For example, after talking to a pet shop owner, customers have asked questions like “my dog has had diarrhea for days and I don’t know what to do about it, can you help?”. By this time, it’s too late, and your pet needs to take a trip to the vet that could have been avoided.
Feeding a higher quality food, results in a longer and healthier life for most pets, which naturally leads to lower vet bills, and a lower risk of health issues caused by poor nutrition will offset the cost of higher quality food over the life of your pet.
When it comes to shopping for your pets food and choosing the right feed, it can be as simple as picking something up from the pet food aisle when grocery shopping. But not always, as supermarkets regularly don’t stock the top (quality) brands due to shelf space, profit margin, or simply due to economies of scale that they can get from the larger cheaper brands (Chappie, Pedigree, Bakers). If the supermarket brands work for your pet there is no need to change, it’s what works for the individual. However, if you’ve tried multiple instore brands and there is a problem with your pet, you can shop online where you get a huge choice of information, support, and food delivered to your door. It’s more convenient than ever before to get your pet the best food possible from a wide variety of places, online, instore on the high street, or from a supermarket.
We love feeding our pets treats. They can’t get enough of them, and as pet owners we are happy to keep giving them out to our number 1 family members. They help with training, behaviour, and distraction, however the ingredients in treats may have an impact on our pets’ diets. There is a huge movement for grain-free dog food, and a large amount of dog owners feed grain-free food to ensure their dog gets the best food possible. However, people don’t always remember that the treats need to be grain-free too.
If your pet is on a Grain-Free diet, make sure the treats you feed are also grain-free. It’s a common occurrence that people tend to go for the cheaper, better marketed treats and forget about the ingredients inside, it’s just a “treat” after all. Keeping consistent across the board with a pets diet will help contribute towards their health, wellbeing, and help to prevent any unwanted stomach problems.
Sustainable and eco-friendly packaging reduces the environmental impact and ecological footprint. The pet trade is actively trying to become more eco-friendly, and often products with a higher quality ingredient and higher price will come with eco-friendly packaging.
Companies that care about the environment frequently produce higher-quality ingredients as a cause of the brand's vision, resulting in responsible packaging, an increase in nutritional value, and a non-compromise price. Some lower-priced or lower-quality brands will add sugar or artificial flavourings to make their food more appealing. Higher quality pet foods have better palatability because they taste better naturally, reducing the amount of artificial chemicals or inappropriate ingredients for the body to process, such as sweeteners.
Lots of factors contribute to your pet's long and happy life, but a high-quality and nutritious pet food is where it all starts. Plenty of ingredients on commercial pet food bags inflate protein percentages whilst failing to specify the amount of each ingredient. This means that even the healthiest-sounding ingredients may be used in only trace amounts. Similarly, just because a dog food bag says it contains 30% protein doesn't mean it's all digestible - not all protein is equal.
Food of greater quality provides better digestibility meaning better nutrition for the pet, which as a result, they get more of a nutrition that the body can use. It's crucial to understand the distinction between digestible and crude protein. Lower-quality diets may contain crude protein such as chicken beaks, cow hooves, goat hair, or any other form of protein that is not digested, meaning it goes through the stool without providing any nutritional value to the pet.
A well-balanced diet contains nutrients that keep your pet's coat healthy and shiny, strengthen the immune system, and keep the digestive system running smoothly, all of which can help your pet live a healthier lifestyle.
What we feed our pets really counts, some information on packaging can be misleading and confusing, with a lot of commercial supermarket brands jumping on the bandwagon and producing their own pet food at a low price, and with such great convenience it’s easy to understand why people choose these brands. However, if only price and convenience is the key factor to a pets diet, it can lead to a long term cost from vet bill and cause your pet harm.
Have you noticed a significant change in your pet’s mood, coat or energy level since changing brands? Let us know in the comments below.