As a follow-up to our last blog re: the importance of good nutrition for our pets, Stephanie Thomas, of pawtree (Scottsdale) offers the following:
The Do’s and Don’ts of Dog Food!
The best gift we can give our pets is good health, and the best gift for us pet parents is for our pets to live a long, healthy, disease-free life. Dr. Cruz, one of the veterinarians on the pawTree Veterinary Advisory Council, says it best, “Proper nutrition is so important….it’s the foundation of health. It is diet, genetics and luck that will make a difference in your pet’s life. We can’t control the genetics and we can’t control the luck, but diet is something we CAN do.” But how do you KNOW what’s the best nutrition to feed your dog? There are miles of aisles of pet food in the stores, how do you know what to choose? It’s SO confusing!
Dog Food Nutrition: Our Top 7 “Do’s”!
1. DO read the dog food label! Did you know that the first 5-10 ingredients are the most important? At the very top of the list, you need to see a named protein and fat source (such as chicken or salmon instead of ‘meat’ or a ‘meat by-product’). And, did you know that ‘meal’ such as ‘Turkey Meal’ is GOOD? It means the turkey has been dried, some fat has been removed, all the water has been removed, and it has been ground up for your dog’s enjoyment. Lastly, don’t be fooled by a common misconception: “If you can’t pronounce it, your pet shouldn’t eat it.” This isn’t necessarily true. Some key ingredients are hard to pronounce, like ‘Fructoligosaccharides,’ which is a prebiotic!
2. DO know that ALL pet food labels require a Guaranteed Analysis (GA). This is to advise the consumer (you!) of the product’s nutrient content. However, it is NOT easy to compare GA’s from one brand of dog food to another. For instance, some brands may show a higher protein content, but that protein may be made up of lower quality vegetable proteins, like soy, as opposed to higher quality proteins from meat, poultry, or fish. Therefore, focus on the quality of ingredients. Click @ http://www.pawtree.com/express-tour to see 20 reasons why pawTree dog food is a better way!
3. DO know that dog food should be ‘complete and balanced.’ This means that the diet contains all the necessary nutrients, such as vitamins and minerals, that your dog needs for daily health and well-being. This also means that all commercial dog food should be AAFCO compliant. That stands for the Association of American Feed Control Officials, which establishes the nutritional standards for complete and balanced foods! All of pawTree’s food is formulated so that the nutrient levels are compliant with AAFCO nutritional standards… which means, our dog food diet is complete and balanced and you can see the statement printed on the back of each bag of pawTree dog food.
4. DO know that not all nutrition is created equal. It is like comparing a Big Mac with fries to a plate of chicken, veggies, and a baked sweet potato. You’re still getting nutrition, calories, and a full belly, but they are definitely not equal nutritionally speaking. Now, we know there is lettuce in the Big Mac, but that hardly counts as a nutritious vegetable!
5. DO know that dog food must change as your dog grows. There is not one bag of food that is right for your pet throughout their entire lives. There are many factors that go into choosing the most appropriate dog food: age, energy level, breed, size, weight, allergies, health issues, etc. With the help of the pet profile on pawTree.com, we will help you determine what is best for your dog through all the stages of their lives from the puppy years to their senior years and everything in between.
6. DO know that a transition period is important. Whenever you change dog food, it is important for a pet parent to transition all dog food over a 5-7 day period. This must be done slowly, gradually mixing in more and more of the new food each day. This way your dog won’t get sick. Sometimes, if a pet parent just switches to the new dog food cold turkey, the dog can get sick and often times the pet parent thinks it is the new food to blame, but that is usually not the case. It can be because the dog’s system has not had time to properly adjust to the new food.
7. DO know that dog food allergies are rare. Did you know that less than 5% of true allergies are food related? The majority of true allergies are due to fleas and seasonal or environmental things. If a dog truly has an allergy to protein (such as chicken) it’s usually because they have been exposed to it before. However, unique and novel proteins, such as turkey, duck, and salmon, where a dog is less likely to be exposed to, they are less likely to be allergic to. Here is a quick fact: If a dog is “allergic” to chicken, they are having an allergic reaction to the protein in chicken. But, they are not allergic to chicken fat, since fat does not contain protein! So if your dog is allergic to chicken and the ingredient list shows ‘chicken fat,’ have no fear. Since the allergy is the protein and fat does not contain protein, there is nothing for your dog to be allergic to.
Dog Food Nutrition: Our Top 2 Don’ts!
1. You DON’T have to be an animal nutritionist. Isn’t that great?! We’re here to help you with any question you may have and don’t forget your petPro!
2. DON’T compare dog food labels. As mentioned above in our ‘DO’s,’ it is very important to not compare dog food labels as proteins are often not the same, voluntary information is on one bag of dog food, but not another, and information can be misleading. We can help you answer any questions you may have.
If you’re confused on what to buy, just remember that pawTree takes the guesswork out of pet nutrition so you can buy with confidence and can feel good about what you’re feeding your pet.
For more information on pawtree products, visit: http://www.pawtree.com/doghealth
You can also e-mail Stephanie @ .