Pet Nutrition: Feed The Best To Your Pets
Our pets give us unconditional love – the least we can do for them is provide a healthy, well-balanced diet. Just like with humans, good nutrition is essential to live a long, happy life. But not all pet foods at the store are created equally. There are a variety of options to choose from, some of which fall more in the category of “fast food” in terms of quality. Good pet nutrition includes essential vitamins and minerals that not only help sustain your furry friend’s immune system, but also help produce a shiny coat.
So how do you know which foods are best for your pet? Your veterinarian can make some recommendations based on your pet’s age, lifestyle, and overall health. But if you’re out shopping on your own, we’ll offer some advice on ingredients to look for that can tell you which brands are good choices, and which ones should be given sparingly, if at all.
Key Nutrients to Look For
Your dog or cat requires multiple nutrients to be healthy, just like we all do. Here are the most important ones to look for when you examine a food label:
Proteins are critical for good pet nutrition. Unlike humans, who can sustain a healthy diet without meat, dogs and cats are devout carnivores. Meats like beef, chicken, fish, and lamb are some of the most popular choices. Many pet foods come with a mix of both meat and vegetables and soy as additional sources. Proteins make up the foundation of the tissues in your pet’s organs. They are the substances that enable your dog or cat to build strength and lean muscles. But foods with either too much or too few proteins can be problematic. As with all good diets, balance is key.
Humans may be used to hearing that carbs are a bad thing. But when they’re found in ingredients like soy, barley, and oats, they provide energy and fiber content.
Fats and Oils
There is such a thing as good fat! This is necessary to give your pet that playful, tail-wagging energy we love – as well as healthy skin. The best fats and oils for your furry friends include:
- Fish Oil
- Cod Liver Oil
- Coconut Oil
- Krill Oil
- Olive Oil
- Sunflower Oil
- Hemp Oil
- Flaxseed Oil
Ingredients to Avoid
Now that you know which ingredients are best for your pet, here are a few “red flag” ingredients to watch out for:
“Meat meal” essentially takes leftover scraps of dead or diseased animals and cooks them to remove fats. The remaining protein is insufficient quality, and not sustainable for a long-term diet.
Food Dyes and Corn Syrup
We know these ingredients are bad for humans, so why give them to our pets? There’s no reason for dog or cat food to be artificially sweetened or dyed (trust us – they find meat tasty enough on its own!). These artificial ingredients are high in sugar and low in health benefits.
Monosodium Glutamate is common in many processed human foods, and unfortunately can be found in dog and cat food as well. It’s often used as a flavor enhancer of sorts but has no nutritional value whatsoever. In fact, some dogs are allergic to it!
Many dog parents have given rawhide bones as a treat, but these treats can be lethal, as they present a choking hazard. If your dog accidentally swallows rawhide, it can get lodged in their esophagus or trapped in their digestive tract – both of which will require emergency room visits.
Pet Nutrition and More in South Florida
The staff at All Aboard Animal Hospital loves your pet as much as you do – that’s why we are proud to offer Hill’s Science Diet and Royal Canin, two fantastic choices for healthy pet food. These brands also offer special prescription diets for animals with liver or digestive issues, food allergies, and other sensitivities.
Have a question about your pet’s nutrition, or need to schedule a vet wellness exam? Call us today at 954-785-7780.