Pet Nutrition & Diet
Feeding your pet the right type and amount of food is one of the most important aspects of helping your furry friend live a long and healthy life. The right food delivers all the nutrients your pet needs to thrive, including protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and water.
But when you arrive at the pet store, you’re confronted with several aisles of different foods from different brands at different price points. How do you make the proper selection? Use this pet nutrition and diet guide for starters. Then, call Germantown Vet at 240-252-7467 for more personalized help choosing a pet food.
How to Pick the Right Pet Food
- Check the label: Dogs and cats are natural carnivores, meaning their wild counterparts only eat meat. You want your pet’s food to contain primarily, if not solely, meat ingredients. Check the label to find out what’s in the food you’re considering. When selecting cat food, look for the “AAFCO statement” indicating the food is a complete and balanced source of nutrients.
- Consider a higher priced food: Cheap pet food may be more affordable off the shelf, but if it fails to keep your dog or cat healthy, you could face excessive vet bills. Better food also makes your pet more lively and happy. Select the highest quality pet food you can afford with your budget.
- Avoid chemical preservatives: Dry food in particular is bound to have preservatives to extend the shelf life. However, avoid any pet food that contains BHA, BHT, and Ethoxyquin since these can be harmful to your pet’s health. Vitamins E and C are natural preservatives that are a lot healthier.
Wet or Dry Pet Food?
The biggest decision you have to make is whether to choose dry bagged food or wet canned food. Each has its advantages and drawbacks.
- Dry pet food: Most pet owners opt for dry food. It’s cheaper, lasts longer once opened, and is better for your pet’s teeth and gums. For cats, dry food gives you the convenient option of free feeding, or leaving a bowl of food out all the time. Dry food also keeps your dog’s stool firm and compact for easier cleanup.
- Wet pet food: Canned food also has benefits. For one, it has higher moisture content, making it a good source of water. It’s also more palatable for finicky eaters and has greater protein and fat content with fewer carbohydrates to more accurately mimic a wild animal’s diet. Plus, wet food usually has no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives.
- Mixing dry and wet pet food: Searching for the right balance, many pet owners serve a combination of dry and canned food, especially if their animal is a picky eater. You may need to experiment to find out what your dog or cat likes and can easily digest.
How Much to Feed Your Pet
Cat owners who free feed with dry food have it easy. It’s up to the cat to eat how much he needs, returning to his bowl throughout the day for little snacks. For dog owners and those who prefer wet food, consider the animal’s size and activity level when deciding how much to feed your pet.
Contact Us for Pet Nutrition & Diet Tips in Germantown, MD
For personalized advice about what type of and how much food to feed your pet, feel free to contact Germantown Vet with all your questions. We’ll help you understand your pet’s nutritional needs, so you can both be happy!