Does Healthy Pet Food Really Exist?

Responsible pet ownership can cover a lot of ground, but when it comes to boosting your pet’s longevity, you can break it down into three departments: genetics, daily care/maintenance, and nutrition. You can’t really do much about their genes, but this information is good to know.

Daily care cultivates a high quality of life through exercise, oral health, and grooming. Lastly, nutrition reinforces the building blocks of a long, healthy life. Of course, you want to provide a healthy pet food, but what exactly does this mean?

Overwhelming Choices

We fully understand the plight of the devoted pet owner who’s just looking to find the best food possible. With so many choices out there, it can be downright overwhelming to figure out the best choice for your pet’s species, breed, age, gender, lifestyle, health issues, and more.

Differentiating

Like us, pets are what they eat. Providing a high-quality, healthy pet food is critical to their lifelong wellness. To determine which products actually meet your pet’s nutritional needs, we offer the following breakdown:

  • Labels matter – Always select products that meet the high standards and feeding trials set by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO).
  • Manufactured by – If the pet food company manufactures the product, the food has likely gone through rigorous nutritional testing. This is a better option than companies that outsource their manufacturing, which removes a layer of oversight and accountability.
  • Balanced – A close look at the food’s description will help determine whether the product is right for your pet. It’s critical to buy healthy pet food based on your pet’s individual life stage. Pay close attention to portion recommendations and steer away from free-feeding. Pets can quickly gain weight and face lifelong health consequences.

Healthy Pet Food

Many owners swear by giving their pets the same kibble year after year. Others have become interested in newer approaches to healthy pet food, such as:

  • Grain-free – This “ancestral” diet removes all grain, and for some pets with allergies and other dietary challenges, this can be a good alternative. However, grain-free pet food has been linked to a decline in heart health, and it may actually cause other problems, like inflammation and food sensitivities.  
  • Raw – Some raw diets are dehydrated and you simply add water. Otherwise, feeding raw meat to your pet can expose them to sickening levels of bacteria.
  • Homemade – Fixing healthy pet food at home can be costly and a lot of extra work. However, personally prepared food can be formulated to meet the requirements for complete and balanced nutrition. Working directly with a veterinary nutritionist is the best way to achieve overall health.
  • Boutique – Many foods boast exotic ingredients, like wild boar, ostrich, or kangaroo. There simply isn’t a great deal of evidence to suggest whether these are healthy or harmful.
  • Vegan or vegetarian – Cats are obligate carnivores and need meat to gain the vital amino acid taurine.

Prescription Foods

A prescription diet can help alleviate various symptoms associated with certain health conditions or diseases. Available only with a valid prescription, these diets are specially formulated to help pets live longer, healthier lives. Please contact us if you’d like to learn more about the benefits of prescription diets.

The team at Wellesley-Natick Veterinary Hospital is always here for you and your pet. If you have additional questions about healthy pet food, please don’t hesitate to give us a call.