The Importance of Good Nutrition!
Published on: January 9, 2017
Good nutrition for companion animals helps increase the longevity of the pet, over time can reduce trips to the veterinarian and resolve common problems with skin, coat and the digestive system.
“Natural” is a vague term and refers to something that comes from natural sources. It has nothing to do with food quality. Keep in mind beach sand, petroleum and plant stalks can all be considered natural. Healthy ingredients will be nutritious and high quality to benefit the dog or cat. It is important for food to have ingredients that are both natural and healthy. To learn what is really in pet food become a label reader. Here are some helpful tips.
Meats are the best source of protein. Know where the meat comes from. Look for specific identifiable sources like beef, chicken, lamb or turkey. The meat should be of the same quality as you would purchase for yourself in the grocery store. Avoid anything that is labeled “meat,” meat meal or poultry. Also avoid by-products. By-products are scraps and rendered meats that could contain diseased animals, expired supermarket meat and road kill.
Complex carbohydrates like whole grains and sweet potatoes are quality sources of carbohydrates. Avoid highly processed sources like wheat flour, rice flour, corn flour, brewer’s rice, wheat mill, rice bran or corn bran because naturally occurring vitamins have been leeched. Dogs will benefit by having some carbohydrates in their diets. Cats have no dietary need for carbohydrates and can thrive on a diet of mostly protein and fat.
Look for identifiable sources of fat like chicken fat, duck fat, flaxseed oil, sunflower oil and canola oil. Avoid fat sources labeled as animal or poultry fat. These sources are obtained in the rendering process and are of low nutritional quality.
Choose foods preserved with mixed tocopherals (vitamin E), ascorbic acid (vitamin C) or other natural preservatives. Avoid food preserved with chemicals. Remember if the food is nutritionally sound there is no need for fillers such as corn, hulls or powdered cellulose.
Companion animals need smaller servings of high quality food. The price per day of feeding a high quality, nutrient dense food is often similar to cheap low quality brands. Less food in means less food out and smaller poops.
Many foods found in mass market stores, department stores and super markets have cheap sources of proteins and carbohydrates. Brands of high quality kibble to consider are Orijen, Acana, Earthborn Holistic, Canidae, ProPac, AvoDerm, Natural Balance, Fromm, Merrick, Blue Buffalo, Nature’s Variety, Nutrisource, Pure Vita, Natural Planet, Nature’s Logic or Weruva.
Raw and freeze dried foods have increased in popularity in recent years. Advocates believe that it is the healthiest way to feed a companion because nutrients, enzymes or healthy bacteria are not lost in the cooking process.
Raw food diets have many benefits including whole food ingredients, limited ingredients, are easy to digest and easy to absorb. Raw meat diets are kept frozen until they are ready to be consumed. They should be thawed in the refrigerator or on the counter top.
Dehydrated food can be mixed with water to re-hydrate and serve. They can also be fed dry which makes this a great option for camping and travel. Freeze dried food can be given as a treat and also crushed and sprinkled over kibble to provide extra nutrition.