Just as our food has evolved a great deal in the past few hundred years, so has that of our pets. Store aisles are lined with dozens of options, from dry to canned to semi-moist. The question is… which food is best for your pet?

This is a common question veterinarians are asked every day, and a sincere one, considering pet owners who want to do the best they can by their beloved family members. However, the answer is not as simple as you might assume.

As T.J. Dunn, Jr., DVM, says in response to this question: “It depends.”

Dunn notes, many dog foods that are marketed as “complete and balanced” do not provide a “proper nutrient spectrum to the dog.”

Dunn came to recognize over time dogs that were visibly deprived of key nutrients were largely a result of foods based on corn, meaning corn was the first ingredient listed on the label. He noticed truly well balanced diets that were resulting in his healthiest canine patients were based on chicken or another source of meat, such as lamb or beef. The meat-based diets promoted today are far superior to what foods were available years ago, as manufacturers are trying to more closely replicate the diet of a dog in the wild.

The only way to ensure your pet is getting the best nutrition is to read the nutritional label. “Optimum nutrition demands that protein, fat, carbohydrate and micronutrients such as minerals, vitamins be in balance with each other.”

Dunn recommends food that is 30 percent protein, 18 percent fat, preservatives to be via Vitamin E and/or C and to include Omega Fatty Acid. A wide spectrum of ingredients is fine, but they should be all natural, and there should be no food coloring. Look for all natural dog foods and treats that use higher quality ingredients, such as nitrate and antibiotic free meat and poultry. The Cookie Jar’s Peanut Butter Turkey Sausage treat, for example, is made with nitrate and antibiotic free all natural turkey, organic all natural peanut butter, and whole grain rye flour. The treat is preservative and chemical free to provide the best possible nutrition for your pet.

Keep in mind that “all natural” is sometimes used as a marketing tool is not really representative of the true value of the product. The only way to ensure that you are not giving your pet food with potentially harmful additives or processing aids is to carefully read the nutrition label of the food you are considering. 

Bio: Sheena is a specialist in custom labels. When she is not writing for LabelValue.com you can find her at the beach or hanging out with her Shiba Inu, Becca.

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