So often I have customers coming in clueless about what brands of pet food to choose, often confused by the myriad of brands available and conflicting feedback from people.
Many may disagree with me but what matters most is that your pet has a healthy appetite and eats willingly anything they’re not allergic to, given at the right proportion. Animals who usually remains healthy and lives until a ripe old age seems to be fed on a good variety of food rather than a strict diet.
Although there are people who feed their dogs low to mid range kibbles all their lives and never suffered from anything serious, it’s akin to saying that there are many healthy old people who still smoke cigarettes at the age of 80 and therefore tobacco does you no harm.
Better diets will improve lives
Ask and look around and you’ll see that there are more animals developing physiological and psychological problems than before. This is because many pure bred pets we see today are badly bred from puppy mills – Animals with character flaws like aggression or genetic problems are allowed to breed indiscreetly. Also, to reduce operating costs, most are poorly nourished and as a result, pets you find in pet shops have not benefited from a healthy, wholesome head start which is so critical for their future development.
But even if they’re born with problems, a proper diet will help make up for the poor start and rebuild their immune system.
Superficial issues always surface because of internal imbalances. With a healthier diet, most obvious signs you would see if your pet is responding well to the diet is better skin, brighter eyes, cleaner ears and thicker hair. But how does one define what’s good and not? You’ve seen categories like Active, Fit, Senior, Breed Specific Diets, Limited Ingredients, Grain Free, Hypoallergenic Diets, BARF – why do they need these much differentiation and which one to choose?
To me, where and how they source their raw materials and what they put in it is more important than what they’re called and how much they cost.
It doesn’t mean that the longer the ingredients list the better the product is. Let me give you a simple example: Most supplements requires you to take one to two tablets in order to achieve the right dosage. So lets just say if we have a meal replacement product that has all the essential nutrients, multivitamins, a correct proportion of of vegetables and fruits, supplements to improve joint health, digestive health, an array of herbs to improve general well-being, you’ll be looking at a huge meal to consume everything at the right dosage. That said, it doesn’t mean that a product with a long ingredient list is bull, but rather, you shouldn’t discount a product just because it has limited ingredients.
Secondly, wondered why so many people realized that feeding their pets chicken would result in allergic reactions? Although there isn’t a definitive answer yet, but a chicken usually takes 4 months to mature naturally but only a month in modern farms. How it’s being altered to achieve that and I do not know, but the amount of antibiotics used on livestock is ridiculous.
All these alterations made to produce weakens the body and at the same time strengthens bacteria and viruses. And to put the body back in balance, choose meat produce that has been sourced from responsible farms. Everybody can add fancy stuff inside their diets and boast about optimal levels of protein etc, but if the quality of the product is questionable, you’re just be feeding your pets optimal levels of poison.
Other things to note
There has been arguments if a high protein diet could lead to or worsen kidney diseases and raise uric acid level as a result of protein metabolism. My simple suggestion is to stay on the safe side and choose a formula that has a protein level around 30-35%. Besides, more protein is not an indication that it’s a good product! Our fingernails, hair, skin are all protein, but it ain’t good sources isn’t it? The best way to prevent that and many other illnesses, is to make sure that your pet has enough water so that the body has enough fluids to flush kidney stone forming substances and other toxins out from the body.
Is is also imperative that your pet has enough exercise as it will help the body utilize the nutrients and functioning well especially with a high nutrient diet. Goodness unspent and not utilized will do more harm than good.
Any particular brands that I should choose?
I know you’re waiting for this and the short answer is: No. But I do offer some brands I personally think that are not bad and for different budgets.
If you’re here reading this, then you have a good idea that education is the key to take good care for our body and mind. Same goes for food that nourishes your pet. Rather than spending hours on Zalora choosing that perfect dress, take half an hour, just go through some of the websites of brands that has crossed your mind. Don’t bother reading about their manufacturing process and what they put inside because if we are talking about better brands, most of them doesn’t differ much from each other.
Rather, find out where they have sourced their food from. But in all honesty, food manufacturers, be it food for personal consumption or for pets, can say so much, yet mean so little. Like politicians, most of the time labels are just pure confusing.
Since most pet foods are from the United States, here are some of the commonly used food labeling and what they really mean.
Therefore, as mentioned in the beginning, it’s always a good idea to provide variety in one’s diet. Like how different vegetables provide different vitamins, different pet foods brands are formulated differently and provide different amounts of nutrients. Staying with one brand or formula may cause deficiency in the long run.
So change around every few months, how often really depends on the individual pet. For a fussy eater, rotating food when you have not managed its choosy behavior may make their habits worse.
My next article will be on raw diets if you have the time and want the best for your pets.