One of the most important decisions you will make for your pet is selecting the best food for your dog or cat. All pets are different and have different preferences and needs. Some things to consider when choosing pet food are: your pet’s life stage (puppy, adult, senior?), activity level, and your pet’s current weight (is he over- or underweight?). Next, consider your pet’s personal preferences – does he prefer canned or dry food? Is your pet’s favorite chicken, beef, or lamb?
Once you have narrowed down the type of food, your next step is to carefully check labels. The ingredients on a pet food label will be listed in the order of weight. The first ingredient should be a specific, named high-quality, whole fresh meat such as chicken, beef, turkey, etc. (not just “meat.”) Avoid pet foods which list fillers or by-products as main ingredients; if you wouldn’t want to eat it, should you feed it to your pet? Avoid corn, soy and wheat, as many pets have difficulty digesting them. Also, look for natural preservatives such as Vitamin E and/or C rather than chemical preservatives.
Your vet is a good source of information in selecting the best food for your pet. While price is not the ultimate guide for quality, in general, look for premium rather than economy brands of pet food. 1-800-PetMeds provides a food comparison chart that can help you compare different foods so you can make the best choice for your pet.
A good quality, healthy food is important if you want an energetic and healthy pet. Remember that changes to your pet’s diet should be made gradually to avoid digestive upset.