In evaluating a dog or cat food there are
a variety of points we look for including the quality of the protein source,
amount of grain, the presence of any grain or meat by-products, and any
artificial ingredients such as preservatives, colors, or flavors - among other
The ingredients listed on a dog or cat food labels must be listed in order of
predominance by weight. The ingredient listings are regulated and defined by the
Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). AAFCO is not a
governmental organization; it is an independent corporation whose stated purpose
is to aid industry and government representatives in setting standards for and
supervising the animal feed industry. Pet foods are not required to follow AAFCO
standards, but most do and will state this on their label.
Here are some things to look for when analyzing a pet food.
Dry food (kibble):
Keeping these key points in mind will give you a good basis for evaluating pet
foods for your companion. Paying a little extra each month for your best
friend’s food will go a long way to preserving his or her health and saving you
lots of money in vet bills in the long run.
Additional advice when feeding processed foods:
Rotation: We highly recommend you rotate the brand of food and main protein
source in your companion’s diet on a regular basis. A more diverse diet is far
more likely to provide complete nutrition than the same “formulated” diet fed
over and over again. While pet foods may meet the AAFCO standards for
“nutrition”, that does not mean that any one of them are the ideal food for the
life of your companion. Consuming the same food repeatedly over long periods of
time can contribute to the development of food sensitivities and allergies,
inflammatory bowel disease and other health issues.
Digestive Enzymes: Every dog or cat that is eating a processed food diet should
digestive enzymes with every meal. This will not only improve digestion
and the assimilation of nutrients, but it may also help protect against the
development of allergies and immune disorders. Improving digestion and
utilization of nutrients can help to prevent and eliminate a host of diet
related problems such as eating stools, body odor, excessive shedding,
flatulence and itchy skin. Digestive Enzymes are a crucial part of improving
digestion and gastrointestinal health. Click to view
digestive enzymes for dogs
digestive enzymes for cats. All enzymes that naturally occur in the
food are destroyed during the cooking and processing of canned and dry foods.
Essential Fatty Acids:
Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) are required in the diet;
they cannot be produced by the body. Essential fatty acids are necessary for
proper formation of cell membranes, are precursors for prostaglandins (hormones
involved in pain regulation among other things), aid in proper cardiovascular
function and nourish the skin and coat as well as the lining of the digestive
tract. In addition, omega 3 fatty acids such as EPA and DHA act to reduce
inflammatory processes in the body.
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The articles and information in the Holistic Healthcare Library are presented for
informational purposes only and are not intended as an endorsement of any product.
The information is not intended to be a substitute for visits to your local veterinarian.
Instead, the content offers the reader information and opinions written by our staff,
guest authors, and/or veterinarians concerning animal health issues and animal care