Aw, food. One of the biggest differences between a human and their pet is the way we eat. Humans often have a variety of foods for their meals, but dogs, cats, etc. typically eat the exact same thing day in and day out (with sometimes the occasional treat thrown in.)
We do this because changing pet foods can lead to gastroenteritis, so if our pet has a food that works we don’t want to risk it.
However, I’ve noticed two types of food out there for dogs and cats: the ones that market themselves as super healthy and the ones that don’t. Now, all pet foods obviously want you to believe they are good for them, but you know the kind I’m talking about.
It’s the kind of food whose commercials slowly drop grilled chicken, carrots and peas through your screen, the kind that compare one brand to another to show that brand’s flaws (basically the food that looks kind of appetizing to a non-picky human eater.
That’s the point. Marketers want you to find the food attractive, but do there claims hold up? What do our dogs and cats really need?
According to Dr. Karen Becker, dogs and cats require similar things in a food.
First protein. The ancestors of our lovely domesticated joys are lions, cheetahs, wolves, and coyotes (yes, even the chihuahua). They were carnivores and meat is still an essential (if not, the most essential) part of a dog or cat’s diet. Look for meat and meat meal as the first ingredients.
Next, they do need veggies and maybe some fruit. This is because when their ancestors eat an herbivore, they receive nutrients from the content of their stomach. Here, we’re just cutting out the middle animal. Whole grains are also better than others but grains can e left out of the diet altogether. Vegetables are the priority.
If you can, keeping away from artificial colors, preservatives, etc. and look for natural preservatives such as Vitamin A.
If you find these things, you’re likely good to go. For a lot more info on what your pet needs, check out Becker’s post.
If you’d like me to post more on food and what certain pets need, let me know in the comments.