Raw…Homemade…Grain Free…All Natural…Organic…Prescription
The list goes on. Everywhere you look there is a new diet popping up. There are so many types of food to choose from, what is right for your pet? Choosing the right diet can be confusing and seem complicated. Our goal is provide you with enough information so that the decision is a little easier for you.
There are many opinions on raw diets. You either love them or hate them. We follow AAHA and AVMA guidelines and prefer cooked diets. Here are the links to read further into AAHA and AVMA raw diet policies.
Homemade diet recipes can be found anywhere online. The problem is knowing what is really good for your pet. Homemade diets are usually difficult to make in order to still meet the nutritional needs of your pet. Supplementation is a large part of creating a homemade diet. There are also several human foods that may cause problems for your pet so it’s best to speak with your veterinarian before trying to feed a new diet.
There are some pets that may need a homemade diet due to a medical condition. We always recommend speaking with your veterinarian about your pet’s individual needs. Your vet can create a recipe with proper supplementation that will cater to your pet’s condition.
Store Bought Diets
There are hundreds of diets on the market. There are different brands and within those brands there are different flavors and varieties. How do you choose what’s right for your pet? Here are some pointers on where to start:
1. Look for the AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) label. They set the standard for the pet food industry. Nutritional guidelines must be met have an AAFCO label. You can read more about how AAFCO regulates pet food here:
2. Look for a meat protein as the 1st ingredient. Chicken, beef, lamb, fish, etc., should be the 1st ingredient of any quality pet food diet. It’s best to steer clear of filler diets that list corn or wheat at the top. Lower quality diets can be full of carbohydrates that will not benefit your pet.
3. Once you have chosen a quality diet, decide what protein you want your pet to eat. Chicken is the most common. If your pet has a medical condition, one may be better over another. It’s best to discuss this with your veterinarian if a problem arises.
4. Choose from the variety. Each brand typically has several different foods to choose from: Large breed, Puppy, Small breed, Kitten, Indoor Cat, Less Active, etc. This should be based on the need of your pet. Puppies and kittens should eat puppy and kitten food until at least 6 months of age, maybe longer depending on the breed. Large breed foods may have added glucosamine which is great for joints.
4. Grain free is newer option. Many people are choosing a grain free diet to help with skin issues. Several have had success. Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet.
5. Organic and “All-Natural” might just be fancy words. People want what’s best for their pet and when they see these labels, they think they are providing higher quality. This may not always be the case. There aren’t a lot of regulations to be classified as “All-Natural”. Again, look for the AAFCO label to make sure the nutritional needs of your pet are met.
Remember, if you are thinking of trying a new diet for you pet, consult your veterinarian. Always gradually change your pet’s diet. Their gastrointestinal system can be sensitive and a sudden diet change may result in unwanted diarrhea. It typically takes 1 week to fully change your pet’s diet. Each pet is different. What may work for one dog or cat, may not work for another. We are always happy to discuss the individual needs of your pet at ECAC.