When choosing the right natural food for your dog or cat it is important to remember several factors:
Freshness - The more fresh and less processed the food, the better. As with human food, the more pet food is processed, the more nutrients are lost.
Meat - Dogs and cats are natural carnivores, so it is important that the main source of protein in their diet is meat. Grains are inferior sources of protein and cats especially do not tolerate grains well. Diets with higher grain and carbohydrate content can lead to weight gain and other potential health problems.
Vegetables & Fruits - Vegetables and fruits contain beneficial vitamins and antioxidants and should be included in the diet as well -- to a greater extent for dogs than for cats. Cats are almost exclusively carnivores, so this portion should be smaller for them.
Variety - It is a good idea to feed your pet different types of food, either through rotation or mixing them together. Try different brands and/or different flavors of the same brand. Feeding your pet the same dry food all the time would be like you eating only corn flakes - sure you could survive, but it wouldn't be very healthful or enjoyable. Every meal does not need to be perfectly balanced. Feeding a variety of healthy meals will create balance over the course of the week.
Supplements - Most of the food we offer contains additional ingredients to add vitamins, minerals, and other beneficial nutrients. It is always a good idea to also add some fish oil to your pet's food, an excellent source of essential fatty acids, as well asdigestive enzymes and an overall multivitamin supplement containing key nutrients (a lot like your daily vitamins, only more important since a pet's diet tends to be less fresh and varied than yours).
With these things in mind, below we've compiled a list summarizing natural pet food in order of nutritional value and health benefits. Raw food is the best, followed by dehydrated and freeze dried, then canned and rolls, then dry kibble. Of course your budget is a factor, because the better quality the food, the more expensive it tends to be. Don't forget you can save 10% on your pet food bill by using our Simplify Life Automatic Delivery program.
Type of Food in Order of Nutritional Benefit
Raw Food Comes frozen and you keep it in your freezer and thaw it before feeding. Mostly freshly ground meat and bones, and many brands contain fruits and vegtables and sometimes grains as well. Raw chicken and turkey necks are a great way to clean teeth, provide natural calcium and phosphorus, and add variety to a dog's diet; and raw bones are the perfect healthful treat.
Premixes for Home Prepared Food Perfect for those who want to feed homemade food but don't have time for the hassle. These mixes take the guesswork out of balanced meals - all you do is add water and the meat of your choice to make a complete meal.
Dehydrated & Freeze Dried You add water to prepare, in some cases boiled water to speed reconstitution. An excellent choice for adding freshness to a predominantly canned or dry kibble diet.
Canned Great for adding variety into your pet's diet, and definitely better than dry kibble. If you rely primarily on dry kibble, try mixing in some canned food or feeding canned in the morning and dry in the evening (or vice-versa).
Dry Kibble Certainly the easiest and least expensive alternative. If you rely primarily on dry food, be sure to supplement with one of the recommendations below. Please note: We do NOT recommend kibble as a large portion of a cat's diet. Feeding dry kibble to cats contributes to many chronic health problems including urinary tract problems, kidney disease, obesity and others.
Supplements No matter which type of diet you choose, a good nutritional supplement will help optimize your pet's health by ensuring they get enough of the necessary vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients.