Today we would like to share a few ideas on how to select the best food for your dog or cat. Which brand, what type — dry, wet, dehydrated, freeze-dried and frozen raw, what size of bag, what size of kibbles or nuggets, puppy, senior, protein level? These are only the tip of an iceberg of questions. And it doesn't really matter if you are a new pet owner or a seasoned one — the selection that we have today is nothing like what was there even a few years ago. It is our job to stay on top of these questions and we are happy to share.
We have no doubt that the role of food in pets' well-being is significant, but did you know that better food does not necessarily have to be more expensive? We hope the information below will help you understand a bit more and help you to make even better, more educated decisions. If you will have any questions please let us know as we are always happy to help.
- Compare price per meal or per day — not per bag. There are very large bags out there with a cheap price tag, and very small bags for seemingly a lot of money. The truth is that the higher the quality of the food the less amount of it you feed. So, even if they will end up costing the same per meal, the lesser amount of food you would feed with the smaller bag could save you money in the end.
- Price alone is not an indicator of food quality, but price combined with certain qualities represents a certain value. Learn to understand ingredients, nutrient levels, and other things that are found on the packaging.
- Read the ingredients panel while keeping in mind that the ingredients are listed in the diminishing order of predominance by weight. This means that whatever is listed first is what the food is mainly made from. Make sure you can understand everything. Some things may sound scientific, like pyridoxine hydrochloride, which is only Vitamin B6. (If this or that vitamin is not listed it doesn't mean its not there. It just wasn't added but comes naturally which is always preferred.) Things to avoid are: by-products, un-identified meats listed as meal. Meals and grains are less than ideal however most dry foods have some meat meals.
- Check the Guaranteed Analysis panel. The more meat and fat the better. The more protein and fat in the food, the less the carbohydrates and no pet needs those. Pick something with lower fat if you would like to keep weight under control, or for less active and senior dogs. Look for where the protein comes from: from meats or from potatoes and similar ingredients. The best manufacturers put exact percentage of meat ingredients they use on the front of the bag.
- Be critical in regards to the statements on the bag and in other marketing materials. 'Puppy' designation may or may not mean richer food or certain bite size. 'Gently baked', 'air dried', 'small batches', 'nothing added', 'juiced veggies' are only a few examples of how a marketers attempt to create a certain, better image of the product. Moreover, not everything that looks like food is indeed complete and balanced, and therefore can't be considered enough.
- In terms of types of food, we believe that frozen and freeze-dried raw are better than anything cooked, but dehydrated is better than dry or cans because it was cooked at lower temperature. Cooked food is less nutritious than raw. The best part is that you can combine all of the above. Pet owners used to give cans as a means to provide variety. Once they find that a particular dry food works for their pets, they stick to it. But, we know that our little furry friends do understand and appreciate variety. Freeze-dried is very easy to mix with any other type of food and with every bit you will be adding not only flavour but also a boost to overall health and happiness.
- We cannot repeat enough times: do as much raw as you can and any amount of raw is better than none. Many people having seen the difference do not want to go back.
- We believe that there is no best food. Best is what works better for you and your dog or cat. For example, all natural and no synthetic ingredients resonate with some people, while others prefer Canadian products. Your pet's tummy may agree with something better.
- Question everything. If you pet is on a prescribed diet, do you know what's in that food that actually helps? Is there a existing medical condition? We are extremely sceptical of 'dental food' or 'food for pomeranians'. Or 'special' cans to prevent crystals. Do you know what we think that helps with crystals in those cans? Water.
- Don't be afraid to experiment and try different things. There are often coupons or samples that we give away. Most of the foods come with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. That means that for whatever reason you can bring the food back and exchange it for something else. We should be able to find what works best for you and we do special orders all the time.
Look how simple the ingredients are in this bag of Acana Pork and Butternut Squash. The only added supplement is zinc. As natural as possible!
There is no question too small. Let us know and we will be happy to help. Wag-wag and meow!