It’s National Nutrition Month! Proper nutrition is not only important for you, but very important for your pets! How do you know you’re doing the right thing when it seems that every time you turn around there is another pet food recall or proof of another pet food company practicing unethical and unhealthy standards? We all just want to do the right thing for our pets.
More questions than answers
There are just too many questions! Are grains bad for my dog or cat? Should I feel raw or dry kibble? Should I buy organic? Is canned food better than dry food? You can’t just listen to the television ads to make your decisions. You need to do more than just read the ingredients and go with whatever sounds best. And to make things even more confusing, what’s good for your neighbor’s pet may not be good for yours!
Additionally, do you know how often you should feed your pet? Do you know how much to feel him? Should you feed him the same thing every day? Does your pet have any physical ailments that should be considered before choosing a food? How do treats fit into the picture?
Unfortunately, there are so many different brands of foods and treats and despite what the label may claim, many are not a good source of nutrition. Pet foods can be wrapped in all sorts of fancy labels, but may contain cheap ingredients that will lead, over time, to deficiencies in your pet’s health. In addition, many pets have developed allergies to frequently used ingredients such as corn, wheat, soy, and others. Food allergies are a whole other challenge in choosing the best nutrition for your pet.
Where to start
Look for guidance from the professionals. Your vet or a veterinary nutritionist is the best place to start. These physicians will analyze your pet’s current diet and health to help you find the best food for your pet’s particular needs. Regular vet visits will allow them to evaluate your pet’s health on-going, and make adjustments to their food, or prescribe supplementation if needed.
You have Resources
Mike Dan, Owner of RedRidge Pet Market here in Henrico says, “We are all becoming more aware of the importance of nutrition. Picking a food can be overwhelming. Where a food is made is important, but almost more important is how the ingredients are sourced. Your chain is as strong as it’s weakest link, therefore if your ingredients are of poor quality, then the food will reflect that weakness. It goes beyond the ingredient panel to what kind of meats are used. How are they raised? There is a difference in the quality of muscle tissue that has been free-run versus box or caged raised. What are the beef or chicken used the food fed? We call this “decoding” the label. In addition, not all foods fit all dogs. It’s not always about the best food out there, it’s about the best food that best fits your dog.”
Pet food formulas continue to evolve. Until we see an across the board change in pet food standards, we must be vigilant in our resolve to do the very best we can for our pet. Your pet’s health depends more on good nutrition than any other aspect of his care. Fortunately, pet food stores such as RedRidge, and Three Dog Bakery are offering quality, nutritionally balanced, high standard pet foods and the personnel to help you make your decisions. Don’t try to do it alone.