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Choosing the Best Food for Your Pets

Our pets are like an additional family member. As such, we’re naturally always on the lookout to provide them with the best food to keep them as happy and healthy as possible. Also, veterinarian bills can get quite expensive, so not having to dip deep into our wallets is another motivator as well. In this article, we point out some steps you can take to ensure you’re buying the right food for your pet.

Dogs

Though man’s best friend is a rather simple creature when it comes to day-to-day interactions, careful consideration needs to be taken when choosing the best food to add to its diet. Here are some factors you should consider when buying dog food.

Consider your dog’s age, activity, breed and reproductive status

Dog’s physical characteristics largely dictate their dietary needs. Puppies and breast-feeding mothers require are higher daily calorie intake. In contrast, adult and senior dogs don’t need to take in as many calories. Similarly, more active breeds need to take in more calories, as well.

Pay attention to keywords on product packaging

Certain words on dog food packaging are an indicator of how much protein the food contains. For example, if you see the word “dinner” on dog food packaging, then the product will contain less protein. Other keywords that indicate a product has less protein include “entrée”, “platter” and “formula”.

Learn to read the product ingredients

One thing you should look out for is what the first ingredient is on your dog’s food labelling. It’s a good idea that “meat” or “meat meals” are the first listed ingredients on your chosen product. These products have higher nutritional value, which is vital to your dog’s overall wellbeing. Products that have corn, grain or vegetables listed as their primary ingredient offer lower nutritional value. Yes, dogs are omnivores, but they should predominantly be fed a vegetarian-based diet when they’re seriously ill.

Consider grain-free dog food

If your dog is suffering from allergies, then you might want to consider grain-free food, based on your vet’s advice. Meat-based dog food is far more likely to be the cause of any sort of allergy, food intolerance, vomiting or diarrhea versus grain-free dog food.

Research your preferred brands

Finally, speak to your vet and look for customer product reviews to decide which brand is best for your dog.

Cats

Cats are picky creatures, so outside of choosing food it will like, you need to choose food that will provide the best benefit to its overall wellbeing. Take the following factors into consideration when buying cat food.

Check the nutritional value

Like with dog food, ingredients in cat food are listed by weight. Key ingredients such as beef, chicken and fish are usually listed at the top. Though, it’s important to look down the list to see which other ingredients are included and may offer additional nutritional value such as taurine and arachidonic acid.

Consider grains

Grains are an excellent source of carbohydrates and are commonly used in many pet foods. Many pet owners opt to avoid grains, as it is a common belief that high-protein and low-carbohydrate diets are healthiest for cats. Having said that, not all grain products are high in carbohydrates, as is commonly believed.

Try canned or dry food

This is a bit of a controversial topic among cat owners, with some arguing that canned food is better and others preferring dry food. If your cat is reluctant to try drink water, canned food offers high moisture content, which can be crucial to your feline friend.

Talk to your vet

A vital step to take is to ask your vet to inspect your cat’s physical characteristics, including conducting a body condition analysis. This way, you will be able to check if your cat is over- or perhaps underweight and you will be able to adjust its diet accordingly.

Horses

If the dog is a man’s best friend, then the horse is a close second. Equine pets are expensive to own as it is, so you should make an active effort to avoid additional costs due to trips to the vet by providing your horse with an impeccable diet. Follow our tips below to choose the right feed for your horse.

Horse age

Your horse’s age is one of the significant factors in determining its nutritional requirements. Up until two years of age, the horse feed that forms part of your horse’s diet should be designed to drive growth and protein contents should be between 14% and 16%. Also, mineral and vitamin contents are increased in feeds for young horses to support growth. For older horses, you need to provide them with a feed that is higher in vitamin and mineral content and is chewable and easily digestible.

Physiological stage

Horses that are in the breeding, pregnancy or lactating stage have special dietary requirements. During this stage, it is essential to strictly monitor your horse’s activity level, as over or underfeeding good result in the horse becoming over or underweight. Overall, pick a feed that is designed to cater to your horse’s physiological stage.

Bodyweight and condition

It’s important to have accessible methods of monitoring your horse’s body weight to be to determine its dietary requirements. To assess your horse’s body weight, use the Body Scoring Condition (BCS) method. It involves visually inspecting various parts of your horse for fatness, including ribs, tailhead area, behind the shoulders, neck and withers. By regularly checking your horse’s weight and condition, you will be able to decide whether it needs to lose, gain or maintain weight.

Available forage

Hay and pastures should always form the foundation of a horse’s diet. Then, the feed you buy for your horse should complement the forage. The more forage you have, the less concentrate you will need to feed your horse. When forage is plentiful, then balancer products are a good choice.

Skyler

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