Best foods for your pet with Dr. Trish
When standing in an aisle at your local pet supply store, in front of a colorful shelf of pet foods, what do most people wonder? Are you wondering which are the best foods for your pet? How do you choose? Some say premium, super premium, raw, wet, dry and a dozen other descriptions. Surely the fancy ones with the best packaging, brightest colors and highest price tag must be the best food for your pet.
But is this assumption true? You might be surprised to learn that “premiumization” is a marketing term used for every type of product or service. It provides a way for manufacturers to tap into consumer desire by presenting products as luxury. This creates a “tangible or imaginary surplus value” at a higher price range than typical products. These products may be of higher quality or they may NOT. They may simply be perceived as higher. At any rate, they are almost always more expensive.
So what are the best foods for your pet? I have created guidelines below to help you make an educated choice about the best foods for YOUR pet.
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Dr. Trish’s “General” Recommendations for a Quality Diet for Your Pet aka (best foods for YOUR pet)
- The first two of the first four ingredients listed on the label should have “had a heartbeat”. In other words, it contains a quality animal protein. Keep in mind that not all protein sources are equal. Protein quality is based on two major factors: the number of essential amino acids it contains and how easily the animal’s body can digest and assimilate those amino acids (known as bioavailability). Many of the protein sources used in commercial pet foods (animal by-products, soy, etc.) lack the bioavailability necessary to provide your pet with the healthy and balanced diet they crave and require.
- Ensure that the pet food contains no wheat, soy, corn or any byproducts of these grains (wheat or corn hulls, germ, gluten etc.)
- No type of by-product should be listed on the label. If the pet food is listed as organic, it generally means that it contains no pesticides, preservatives, or drugs. Usually, once you are in the organic foods, it can be somewhat safely assumed that the meals listed are also of “human grade” consumption Not all animal parts/by-products used in poorer dog foods are safe for human consumption. Believe it not, pet food manufacturers can legally use such things as diseased, dying and euthanized animals, in what they describe on their label as: meat or bone meal, animal by-product meal or meat by-product meal.
- Watch for repeated ingredients, particularly grains in the ingredient list (rice germ, rice hull, etc.), as this is one method used by some pet food manufacturers to artificially inflate the protein content of their products.
Supplementing the (best foods for YOUR pet)’s Diet
In addition to choosing a high-quality food aka (best food for YOUR pet), it is also important to understand that certain supplements may need to be added to your pet’s diet, in order to balance and/or recover its intestinal health.
Enzymes: A proper balance of enzymes, specific to a pet who is on a meat-based diet, is important in order to maximize how completely and efficiently it utilizes the food that it consumes. In nature, animals get enzymes they require from the organ meats of their prey. However, there can be a significant loss of some of the enzymes during the manufacturing of even the best commercial brands of pet foods, due to the legal requirements that must be followed for the processing of these products. Generally speaking, if your pet has excess feces (more than 30% of the volume of the food consumed), gas, and/or very smelly feces, they will benefit from adding enzymes to their diet. (We recommend: Vetzymes by HealthTech)
Probiotics: Many environmental and internal stressors such as chemicals and medications reduce the beneficial micro-organisms in your pet's intestines, so the replacement of these micro-organisms regularly is important. A “good” probiotic lists the organisms and gives the quantities of EACH organism contained per serving in CFU’s (not milligrams). Daily to biweekly dosing is beneficial for all pets. (We recommend: Omega Alpha Probiotic 8)
Vitamin/Mineral supplement: While most "good" pet foods are nutritionally balanced, there are circumstances where supplementation is beneficial. If you are making your pet's food, a well-balanced vitamin & mineral supplement is important. This may also be a consideration if your pet constantly eats grass. (We recommend: Standard Process Canine/Feline Whole Body Support, Omega Alpha Nutrify, and Omega Alpha OptiPet.)
Herbal support for inflammatory bowel conditions: Our pets can sometimes suffer from chronic inflammation just as we can, so a product that contains a combination of natural herbs can help provide a better quality of life for your pet. (We recommend: Omega Alpha HealthyPet and Omega Alpha Probiotic 8)
Omega 3 supplements: Omega 3 supplements, when stored properly, reduce the production of inflammatory prostaglandins that are a major cause of skin irritation as well as musculoskeletal pain. (We recommend: Grizzly Salmon Oil)
Glucosamine Sulfate: Maintaining joint health and mobility is important for our pets, especially as they age. IN addition to the best foods for your pet, dogs can benefit greatly from a good quality Glucosamine supplement. Always choose a product that contains Glucosamine SULFATE, rather than the much less absorbable Glucosamine HCl/ Chondroitin Sulfate combinations most commonly found. Older dogs also may benefit from CM8 in their joint supplement. (We recommend: Joint Rescue by HealthTech, FlexPet and Omega Alpha GlucosaPet)
Please remember that we live in Florida and heat can become an issue for our dogs as well. Learn more about how to avoid heatstroke in dogs here...
I hope this helps you choose the best foods for YOUR pet, dog or cat. – Dr. Trish Kallenbach
Dr. Trish provides workshops and other events to support your pets health and the health of our community. Interested in becoming a client at The Healing Place? Click HERE for more information. Just want to know what we have going on? Check out the calendar of events HERE.