"pets eating food"

When it comes to pet ownership, perhaps one of the most overwhelming decisions you will need to make is what to feed your pet. Canned or dry? Puppy food or adult? Large breed? Small kibble? Grain free? Organic? Chicken or lamb?

Choosing the best pet food for your dog or cat doesn’t have to be difficult, though. Oakhurst Veterinary Hospital has the information that you need to nourish your pet from the inside out. 

One Size Fits All

Our team’s job would be a lot easier if there was one pet food that was the best choice for every pet we treat. That is not the case, though, because every pet we treat is a unique individual with their own needs. 

When thinking about choosing a pet food, consider your pet’s unique qualities:

You should also consider your family’s unique needs. What is your budget for pet food? Where do you prefer to purchase? Are there allergies or other medical needs in your home to consider. 

Criteria for the Perfect Pet Food

Once you have narrowed down some options based on your pet and your household’s needs, you can start to weed through the choices. A lot of this information can be gleaned by calling the brand’s customer service line (hint: this information should be readily accessible). 

You first will want to be sure that the diet you are looking at is made by a company who has an animal nutritionist on staff (ideally not just consulting). This should be a person with a PhD in animal nutrition or a board-certified veterinary nutritionist (DACVN). This will help to ensure that the food you choose is appropriately formulated and changed as needed. 

You should also assess what type of quality control measures are in place for the diet in question. Remember that recalls are not necessarily bad things. A company that issues voluntary recalls periodically is likely doing more quality control than one who never does.

Also be sure to check the AAFCO statement to learn if the diet meets criteria for nourishing certain categories of animals via feeding trials in which actual animals are fed the diet versus chemical analysis via calculations. Diets should be labeled as complete rather than for short-term, intermittent, or complementary feeding. In general, diets for “all life stages” are too general for most pets. 

Take into account the amount of calories in a serving of the food as well. This can help to prevent overfeeding. 

Try to beware advertising tactics as well. Terms like holistic and human grade really don’t have much meaning on a pet food bag. In general, grain-free diets are not recommended, either, due to ongoing concerns about diet-related cardiomyopathy. 

There are so many options out there it can be a little hard to pick, but we hope that these criteria will be helpful when it comes to picking the perfect food for your pet. As always, if you need our help, don’t hesitate to contact us. We are always happy to be sure our pet patients are well cared for.