As you probably already know, not all pet foods are created equal. But what makes one food better than another? How do different foods or brands compare? Does more meat make a superior food? Are the most expensive pet foods the best?
Although there is no clear agreement about which pet foods are the absolute best, experts agree that a well-balanced, nutritious diet is important for all pets. When pets don’t get the nutrients they need from their food, they can suffer health problems – from mild to severe.
Signs and Symptoms of a Pet Having a Poor Diet
Some of the problems that can be caused by an improper diet are:
- Skin and coat problems
- Lack of energy
- Weight problems (being over- or underweight)
- Gastrointestinal issues (strong-smelling gas; large, frequent, or loose stools; vomiting)
- Weakened immune system
Feeding your pet a well-balanced diet may not keep all health problems at bay, but it can go a long way toward making sure your pet feels his or her best. So how do you do that? What do you need to consider when choosing a food?
Questions to Consider When Choosing a Pet Food
- Is the main ingredient listed first on the ingredient list?
- Is it a complete, balanced formula with 100% nutritious ingredients?
- Does it contain any potentially harmful ingredients?
- Are the ingredients natural or organic?
- Where do the ingredients come from? (To obtain a superior rating, foods must be made from ingredients sourced in the USA or Canada).
- Does it contain real fruits and/or vegetables?
- Are the meats “butcher quality”? (These are meats approved for human consumption and cannot be sourced from dying, dead or diseased animals).
- Does it contain artificial colors, chemical preservatives or by-products?
- Have the ingredients been exposed to antibiotics, herbicides or pesticides?
- Does it contain “fillers” (unhealthy food like sugar or corn syrup that takes the place of healthy food)?
- Does it contain Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO’s)?
Compare Pet Foods at 1-800-PetMeds
To make your buying decision easier, we’ve put together a pet food comparison chart at 1-800-PetMeds. You can compare up to three pet foods side-by-side, which should help you understand the differences between foods and what you’re getting for your money. The comparison chart also provides expert ratings from 1 (poor quality) to 5 (superior quality) and explains a bit about what each rating means.
Remember, just as all foods are different, so are all pets. What’s good for one might not be good for another. To make sure you’re giving your pet the best pet food for him or her, watch carefully for any signs of ill health. If your dog’s coat isn’t shiny or your cat’s energy level is down, talk to your veterinarian. Improving your pet’s health could be as simple as changing his or her food.