There’s so much confusion about the best pet food to feed your dog. More so after the last major pet food recall in March 2007.
I’ve always fed my dogs with homemade food. That’s probably why most of them have lived long, past the age of 14 years old.
I asked Dr Andrew Jones, a veterinary and author of Veterinary Secrets Revealed, about his thoughts about what the best pet food is. Here’s what he has to say…
Death by Diet
by Dr Andrew Jones, author of Veterinary Secrets Revealed
Dog and cat food is a pretty controversial topic.
What is best to feed?
Is it safe?
Raw…Good or Bad?
There are a tonne of opinions out there, so I’d like to add a little common sense.
Diet is KEY to your dog and cat’s health. Of all the things that you do to PREVENT disease, the food that you feed them is MOST important.
Is ‘Veterinary Approved’ Food the Best?
The medical diets have their place for specific diseases, such as dissolving urinary crystals, BUT they are not the best diets for the long term health of your pet.
Most of the commercial dog and cat foods have a carbohydrate ( such as corn) as the first ingredient.
Can you imagine yourself staying healthy by living off of ground corn?
Or How about your cat- she is an obligate carnivore meaning she NEEDS animal protein to survive.
YET so many of the diets have CARBS as the first ingredient.
….they are CHEAP.
It comes down to the almighty dollar.
It’s a lot less expensive to make pet food with carbohydrates as the first ingredient, than animal protein.
So WHAT can you do?
Make some of your pet’s food at home.
At least once a week I make Lewis a stew-
1/2 meat, 1/4 vegetables, and 1/4 carbohydrate.
Feed some raw food – I give Lewis pre-packaged frozen raw patties once or twice a week.
In feeding commercial kibble follow these guidelines:
1. Ingredients are listed in descending order. The first ingredient should be an animal based protein.
2. When selecting a commercial food for your animal companion, make sure the label has an “AAFCO guarantee,” preferably one that references “feeding tests” or “feeding protocols” rather than Nutrient Profiles.
3. Avoid foods that list by-products. (Avoid meat, bone, fish and chicken meal). These rendered products are the most inexpensive sources of animal protein. They are not a reliable source of nutrition for your animal.
4. Avoid those that list the food fractions – i.e. wheat middlings or corn gluten instead of the whole grain. These ingredients are leftovers from the human food processing and don’t provide the best nutrition.
5. Avoid generic or store brands. These may be repackaged rejects from the big manufacturers, and generally contain cheaper and poorer quality ingredients.
6. Check the expiration date to ensure freshness. When you open a bag of dry food, give it a sniff – if it smells rancid, return it immediately.
7. Look for natural preservatives. These include Vitamin C (ascorbic acid), Vitamin E and mixed tocopherols. Avoid ethoxyquin, BHA, BHT and propylene glycol.
8. Avoid foods with artificial flavor enhancers, such as phosphoric acid.
9. Avoid artificial colors. These include azo, azo dyes, and sodium nitrite.
10. Essential fatty acids must be added – of utmost importance for allergies, arthritis and cancer prevention.
11. Additional antioxidants, such as Vit E, Vit C and flavonoids.
12. Select natural brands. These are usually better than most. Several brands are now preserved with Vitamins C and E instead of chemical preservatives (such as BHA, BHT, ethoxyquin and propyl gallate). While synthetic preservatives may still be present, the amounts will be less.