It’s an easy thing to overlook. If Rover or Kitty is healthy and energetic, then we don’t give a lot of thought to their diets. Most of us selected a pet food or brand a while ago, and then keep buying it out of habit. But just because your pet is fit, healthy and energetic doesn’t mean he’s getting the nutrition he needs. Let’s have a look at what some nutritionists and vets recommend and see if it’s time to consider some healthier alternatives. [photo via flexcin]
The Old “Wet-Or-Dry?” Debate
There are obvious advantages and disadvantages to both dry kibble and canned wet pet food. We’ve all heard the horror stories about what goes into most of them and a lot of it is true. What the opponents don’t bother to tell us about canned food, though, is that it usually contains more meat protein than kibble and has fewer carbs. Yes, this is just as important to our pets as it is to us. They’re susceptible to all the same things we are including high cholesterol and heart disease so fat content is a concern. Some kibble actually has more than some canned food does!
A Few More Pros and Cons
The rendering process of canned food eliminates a lot of bacteria that can be present in kibble since wet pet food is not exposed to air until you open the can. Canned food is higher-maintenance and it costs more. It will expire after a short time (most labels recommend pulling it after an hour) and you’ll go through it a lot faster than kibble.
The most notable benefits of kibble have more to do with our wallets than with our pets. It’s cheaper, doesn’t spoil like canned and it lasts longer. However, many experts and vets agree that it’s no more or less nutritious than canned and only has minimal, if any, effect on dental health.
Nutrition for Overweight Pets
There are plenty of products out there that claim to assist in weight control but don’t be fooled. Most commercial pet foods have the proper balance of nutrients to promote good health and weight. It all has to do with the size and breed (of dog or cat) and its lifestyle. Feeding twice a day and according to label recommendations for these variables will almost always bring a good degree of balance to your pet’s diet and weight.
It’s also a good idea to choose a brand with some kind of protein (chicken, beef, lamb, etc.) as the first label ingredient. These foods generally have fewer carbs and are richer in protein and plant nutrients. If you feel like you don’t know if you’re making all the right choices in feeding your pets, listen to them. A healthy coat and an energetic demeanor are good signs that you’re doing something right.