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Pet Nutrition: Loving Our Pets from the Inside Out

What do you feed your pet? Now that you picked out the perfect pet, it’s time to decide what you’re going to feed them. There are many different options available for the pet owner, and the decisions about what your pet eats is the single most important thing that you can do to ensure your pet is healthy.

 What are the options in regards to food? Should you feed a dry kibble or maybe canned food or even possibly raw. It’s totally up to you what kind of food you decide to feed your pet. There are a lot of different things to consider such as; nutritional value, ingredients, and is your pet going to eat this product.

It’s up to you as a pet owner to feed your pet a healthy nutritious diet. The consumer is given so many different options regarding pet food. You are constantly being bombarded with choices and options from the many different pet food companies all vying for your pet food dollar. You need to become knowledgeable about what your pet really needs and how you can make sure that they’re getting it.

 The following key points are essential in a nutritional balanced dog food.

  1. No controversial chemical preservatives.
  2. No anonymous meat ingredients.
  3. No artificial coloring agents.
  4. No generic animal fats.
  5. Fillers such as corn and wheat are not required
  6. Proper amounts of meat based protein.
  7. Modest carbohydrate content.

Years ago, pet food producers discovered that pets like the taste of corn. Manufactures found corn to be a very inexpensive filler to add to their pet food recipes. The gluten in the corn is used as an inferior protein source and it must be balanced with an animal protein. Corn is often abused in pet food recipes. By breaking corn down into corn meal, corn gluten, corn starch etc the corn comes in further down the ingredient list, giving the illusion that corn is not the main ingredient when you put all the corn together, it should be listed higher on most pet food ingredient lists. This excessive use of corn contributes to obesity, chronic inflammation, diabetes and cancer. Your pets do not require corn as part of their diet. However, you may be challenged to find a pet food that does not use corn at all.

Wheat is another unnecessary filler product used in many pet foods. In 2007 there was a massive pet food recall related to contaminated wheat gluten that caused kidney failure, debilitation and in some cases death.

Soy is another unnecessary ingredient that is a common allergen in domestic pets.

Powerful chemical preservatives are also not required in the food we serve our pets. These preservatives are only added to extend the shelf life of the product. If you are seeking truly healthy pet food you will find products that use tocopherols, natural preservatives, Vitamin E, citric acid and Rosemary to prevent rancidity. These products will have a shorter shelf life and you should check the best before date on the bag. Pet food companies who care about the ongoing health of your pet, are not using fillers and chemicals in their pet food. However, it is up to you to read the ingredient lists and don’t settle for inferior products.

Your pet is a member of your family. Your furbabies deserve healthy food. The risk with many pet foods is they use inferior products within their recipes to keep their costs down. When you are looking for a quality pet food, find a company that uses “human grade ingredients” in their recipes.

Understanding pet food labels

Pet food labels are legal documents that are put together to provide information to the pet owner regarding the nutritional value of the included ingredients. This is the most important information when you want to know what to feed your pet!

The label contains

  • product name and brand name
  • net weight
  • the words dog food or cat food
  • a statement of the nutritional adequacy or purpose of the product
  • ingredient list
  • guaranteed analysis
  • name and address of the manufacturer, packer or distributor.

Ingredient list

Every prepackaged food that consists of more than one ingredient must list all ingredients by descending weight.

Guaranteed analysis

the guaranteed analysis list the minimum amount of crude protein and fat in the maximum amount of crude five or water ash and magnesium. These label guarantees are useful only to provide a general idea of the nutrients content and life stage classification.

Proteins

proteins consist of amino acids which are the basic building blocks of muscles bones Blood and the immune system. Some of amino acids cannot be manufactured in the body and must be obtained from food sources such as meat, eggs and dairy products. The biological value of these proteins is high and the value and digestibility of plant proteins is low.  

It is a myth that dogs are carnivores that require an all meat diet, they are omnivores and require more balanced nutritional diet. Cats on the other hand are true carnivores and their protein requirements are a lot higher.

 Vitamins are necessary to regulate energy, protein and amino acids and metabolism and are required by cats and dogs throughout all stages of their life. Vitamins are also something that the animal needs to get from food sources and is the do not produce the vitamins within their own body these vitamins would include vitamin C and E niacin, thiamine, riboflavin, folic acid, D-pantothenic acid, pyridoxine, B12 and biotin. It is noted that excessive intake of any vitamins can be harmful.

Eating habits

Dog food companies have studied dogs eating habits and have discovered that the palatability of dog food has a lot more to do with then just taste. The smell, the temperature, the texture all play a part in determining if the dog is going to like the food. Dogs have fewer taste buds on their tongue then humans have and some dogs will chow down on just about anything to gain nourishment. They also have a sensitive vomiting reflex that allows them to reject food that is unpalatable or possibly dangerous. However, do not rely on that vomiting reflex to save your dog from spoiled food or other toxic substances.

Many dogs, especially large breeds, given the opportunity, will gorge their food. This may be due to boredom, increased availability or just habit. This can lead to canine obesity and a shorter life expectancy.

Dogs can be very protective of their food while eating. To avoid aggression and unnecessary injuries it’s advised to stay away from a dog and their food while they are eating, this is especially important regarding children.

It’s important to keep fresh water available always. When drinking the water a dog can curl his tongue to lap up the water. Some dogs especially larger breeds tend to get very sloppy when their drinking water but will drink more carefully when drinking other liquids such as milk.

A natural good quality food is essential to give your pet the best chance at a healthy, happy life!

Riplees Ranch Winnipeg has put together an “A to Z Ingredient Definition Guide. This guide explains the importance of every ingredient that goes into Riplees Ranch pet food. If you would like a copy of this guide and our newsletter fill in the form below with your email.

For more information about Riplees Ranch Natural Canadian Pet Food or to see more posts like this one go to https://petaffection.ca