Most of us think of our pets as part of the family and therefore, we strive to take care of them just as we would our own children. If you haven’t visited your local pet food stores recently, you might be surprised to see the number of vitamins and supplements that are created and sold specifically for our furry little friends. But you don’t have to see that to know it’s becoming increasingly difficult to know what’s good for them and what’s not. What’ needed and what’s not. It’s not so easy to know your pet is getting the nutrition they need.
Do You Need to Give Your Pet Supplements?
Doubtful. Today, from the U.S. To New Zealand, The Associatoin of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) oversees and controls most of the nutrition found in your pet food. When a food has been determined to provide all the vitamins, minerals and nutrients a pet would need at their particular stage in life (baby puppy or kitten or older pets), it should be labeled with ‘Complete Balance and Nutrition’.
If you see this on the package then you know it’s been cleared by the AAFCO and determined to provide all the nutrition your pet needs. In fact, there’s a good chance that they’re probably eating a more nutritious and balance diet than you are.
Of course, there are times when this may not be applicable. If your pet has a special health problem, such as an autoimmune disorder, then they may have specific needs that aren’t covered – even in complete balance pet food. Pregnant pets often have special needs, too. In that case, check with your veterinarian.
Don’t Be Fooled by Descriptions and Ingredients
While the term ‘Complete Balance and Nutrition’ is only allowed to be used once a food has been inspected and cleared to use it, there are other terms that aren’t regulated. They’re often used to convince you that it’s a good, healthy pet food. Terms like ‘gourmet’, ‘all-natural’ and ‘premium’ are great examples.
Everyone knows that reading the label on food products is the only way to get a true idea of what it contains. The food should mostly be made of the very first ingredient listed, right? Technically, yes.
But a popular tactic can even make reading the ingredient list and understanding the composition of the food difficult. It’s called ingredient splitting.
Let’s say your dog food label has chicken listed as the first ingredient. Great! Now let’s say the second, third and fourth ingredient are all different types of rice. In this case, the food is probably mostly made of rice, even though chicken was listed first.
Is Pet Food Shape Important?
Cat food in the form of cute little fishies is, well, cute. But can the shape of your pet food have an impact on their health? One pet food company in New Zealand says yes. RoyalCanin gives this example… A Labrador Retriever will normally eat fast. They gobble up their food without much thought to even chewing it. So in this case, they provide a dog food designed specifically for them, in the shape of donuts. They claim that it helps encourage slower ingestion and chewing.
Their claim is that the size and shape of your pet food affect several things: dental health, palatability, digestion and of course satisfaction and satiety.