Commercial Dog and Cat Food, Feast or Famine? For those of you who don't already know it, what constitutes the best diet for your dog or cat is a raging polemic among vets, animal nutritionists, pet food manufacturers, consumers and even some government agencies. We know, as do many of you, that food can be directly linked to many health and behavior issues. One of the first questions we ask clients who consult us about listlessness, aggression, hyperactivity, general sensitivity and dozens of other issues is, "What are you feeding him/her?" Time and time again we see changes in health and behavior by discussing nutritional needs of an individual animal and suggesting a variety of alternative, QUALITY foods that the person might not have been aware of. Chemical additives, colorings and preservatives can cause physical and emotional reactions in some animals, just as they do in some children and adults.

good nutrition for dogsEveryone seems to have a point of view and it can be very confusing for the average person who just wants to provide their companions with good nutrition. What’s even more annoying is that there is no one right answer. What is best for your animal depends on many things including age, weight, level of activity, allergies, general health, condition of skin and coat and any other needs that you and/or your vet consider important for your animal’s overall health.

Having said that, there are a few principles that we believe to be true and we would like to give you some tools t use in determining what is and what is not a good quality food. (By the way, we believe that home made food is the best way to go provided that you have the time, energy and money to invest in creating a truly balanced, nutritionally complete diet. There are many excellent books available to help you do that.) Here are some guidelines on how to determine if what you’re buying should be going into your animal’s food bowl (whether it's wet or dry food):

Good Nutrition = Learn how to read what is in the list of ingredients!

  • The first ingredients should be named whole meat products, not by-products. Look for things like chicken meal, lamb meal or beef meal as opposed to such things as ‘poultry by-products’ (This alone will eliminate most commercial foods.)
  • Look for whole grains, vegetables and ingredients that you would eat yourself rather than a string of chemicals.
  • There should be NO preservatives (BHT, BHA and Ethoxyquin. Ethoxyquin is banned in human food by the way and is used as a preservative in the most commonly sold pet food brand in vet clinics).
  • No colorings- which are added to please the human eye, not the animal’s.
  • No sweet stuff. Can you believe they add sucrose to some animal foods?

There are some good products out there. After a great deal of research and trial and error we have decided to become Flint River Ranch distributors. Flint River certainly isn’t the only option but they make a wonderful line of freshly made whole foods for dogs and cats that we feel we can recommend. They make 'lite' formulas, a food for allergy sensitive dogs, and wonderful biscuits with glucosamine and chondroitin for older dogs with joint stiffness. E-mail or contact us for more information.