It is quite common for pet food companies to market their products as being “natural”, which makes us as pet owners feel good about choosing their food. But what does the term natural really mean, and how can you make sure that the food you are feeding your dog or cat is healthy and nutritious?
According to the US Food and Drug Administration, “natural” equals a lack of artificial flavors, artificial colors, and artificial preservatives in the food. Choosing a natural pet food does not guarantee that it is a high quality product, or that your pet will do well on the food.
The first question to ask yourself when evaluating a natural pet food is, is there a balance of nutrients in the food? There are six basic nutrient groups that need to be part of your pet’s diet. These are protein, carbohydrates, fat, vitamins, minerals and water. Each one of these components is essential to keeping your pet’s body functioning well. All the ingredients in your pet’s food contributes to the balance of nutrients that your pet receives. And the nutrients must be balanced properly or your pet will be at risk for illnesses caused by excesses or deficiencies of particular nutrients.
Look for the statement of “nutritional adequacy” on the label. It is required that pet food labels include this statement. The label must also show which life stage the food is formulated for. This will enable you to select the pet food that provides adequate nutrition for the life stage of your particular pet. Another thing to look for on the label is a statement that asserts that the food has undergone a feeding trial demonstrating that the food supplies complete and balanced nutrition.
Another way to ensure the quality of your pet food is to buy a brand from a reputable company. A reputable company will do the following: invest in research, manufacture their own products, obtain their ingredients from trustworthy sources, perform quality control testing, and have veterinarians on staff to oversee the formulation of pet foods.
Finally, consult your veterinarian. He or she is your best source of advice on pet nutrition.
At BellyRub Pet Services we are committed to providing you and your pet with the ultimate pet sitting experience. You can look forward to care and nurturing that is second to none, including feeding the high quality diet you value for your pets.