Choosing the best type of food for your pet

June 30, 2015

As a beloved member of your family, your pet deserves a healthy diet that meets its nutritional needs. Here are some considerations to bear in mind when choosing between the various pet food options available.

Choosing the best type of food for your pet

Commercial pet food

Some pets thrive on commercially prepared food and many owners put their trust in it, feeling confident that their pet is getting products of a high standard with the right balance of nutrients.

  • Choose good-quality commercial dry foods from pet shops and veterinarians. They may cost more, but they are superior to the economy brands sold in supermarkets.
  • Good-quality varieties usually contain high-quality fibre while cheaper commercial canned foods contain fermentable fibre, which may cause flatulence, larger feces and more odour.
  • Look for commercial brands that contain antioxidants and accurately measured vitamin and mineral supplements. This information is often prominently displayed on the product's packaging.
  • If your cat or dog is not eating well, try warming its meals slightly. The aroma may help to revive a jaded appetite.

Organic pet food

Buying foods that have been certified "organic" is your guarantee that they have been produced using no chemicals, pesticides, hormones or antibiotics, and that they are not genetically modified.

  • Buying organic meat ensures that it comes from healthy animals.
  • Canned and dried organic foods are also available, but they are typically imported and thus often more expensive.
  • Foods labelled as "natural" are often cheaper than organic options, but manufacturers may give little information about the way they have been produced. Read the labels carefully to be sure you know what you're buying.

Homemade pet food

It can be difficult to gauge whether a homemade diet is cheaper than a commercially prepared one, but making your pet's food at home will typically give you more control over its nutritional value. In general, a combination of homemade and store-bought food is a good recipe for achieving a healthy, happy pet.

  • Learn about your pet's nutritional needs. You will need to take into account its breed, age, size and lifestyle.
  • Consider homemade food for a pet with medical problems, special nutritional requirements due to age, or allergies to certain colourings or preservatives.
  • Supplement your pet's diet with scraps and leftovers, but make sure the food you are adding is not too fatty, salty or full of preservatives.

Buy wisely

  • Look for cheaper cuts of meat or bones at the butcher. Trim off any very fatty meat and, if you can afford it, buy organic.
  • Consider less fashionable cuts of meat, such as offal (organ meats). Liver is particularly good. However, avoid sheep's liver for dogs because it can cause hydatids (a parasitic disease) if it comes from infected sheep.

Your pet will appreciate a healthy and delicious meal just as much as other members of your family, so it's worth the effort to find out which pet foods are the best fit in terms of nutrition, cost and preparation time.

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