choosing the right diet for your dog, cat, puppy, or kitten

Dog eating food

What your pet eats makes a difference

From puppy and kittenhood through the adult and elder years, what your pet eats plays a big role in their overall wellness and quality of life. Understanding your pet’s diet — and knowing what’s in the food they eat — can help you make informed decisions about what they need to live their best frisky life. We’re here with nutritional guidance and advice to help you feed your pet.

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Don’t fall for sad stares and mournful meows. Table scraps and other human foods are calorie-packed, can upset pet tummies, and lead to health issues like obesity.

When it comes to pets, it seems like food really is love

Food Ingredients

What to know about nutrition

Pet food is comprised of an array of ingredients. When all combined, they should meet your cat’s or dog’s nutritional requirements. Below are key players on the pet food field.

Common Ingredients

Fresh animal protein, including meat, chicken and fish

Necessary for muscle tone, muscle development, and healthy skin.

Meat and bone meal

Provides concentrated essential amino acids, calcium and phosphorous, and helps maintain lean muscles, strong teeth, and bones.

Ground whole corn

Provides essential amino acids, linoleic acid, fiber, and carbohydrates. A great source of energy, and good for lean muscles.

Corn gluten meal

Provides concentrated essential amino acids, antioxidants, and linoleic acid. Builds, maintains, and repairs tissue, and also helps the immune system and promotes a healthy skin and coat.

Animal fat

A good source of linoleic acid and fat which promotes energy, and a healthy skin and coat.

Ground whole wheat

A carbohydrate that’s a great source of energy and fiber.

Meat or chicken by-product meal

Provides concentrated essential amino acids, glucosamine, chondroitin, and antioxidants. Promotes lean muscle, bone and joint health, and bolsters the immune system.

Beet pulp

A soluble fiber source that aids in pet digestion.

Vegetable oil

A good source of linoleic acid that promotes healthy skin and a shiny coat.

Brewer’s rice

Provides carbohydrates and fiber, and also aids digestion.

Vitamins and Minerals

Vitamins and minerals are an important part of your pet’s diet and help support their skin, eyesight, bones, immune system, and more.

Nutrients and Nutraceuticals

Antioxidants, glucosamine, and chondroitin are just a few of the nutrients that benefit your pet’s overall health. They can help your cat or dog resist disease, manage the effects of aging, and more.

Protein

Protein is an essential ingredient in any healthy pet diet, and a variety of proteins contribute to your furry pal’s vim and vigor.

Carbohydrates

Although your pet may not be running a marathon anytime soon, carbohydrates are still an important part of their daily food intake that helps keep their energy high and system humming.

Pet food labels list common ingredients and nutrients, and can provide a clearer picture of what goes into your pet’s kibble, wet food, and stomach.

All about alternative diets

Along with commercially-produced pet food, there are lots of alternative diets for cats and dogs out there.

Cat licks its nose

Natural diets

In respect to pet food, the term “natural” is pretty fuzzy since no official definition really exists. That said, natural diets do tend to steer clear of chemically, highly-processed, and artificial ingredients.

Organic diets

Organic food for dogs and cats pretty much follows the same rules that apply to organic food for humans. That means no pesticides, artificial fertilizers, growth hormones, antibiotics, and other questionable stuff.

The Cat eats
Dog is lying on the Floor

Raw food diets

A raw food diet could be a fit for your furry one, but it’s wise to know the pros and cons. Some of the pros are that raw diets can give your pet a shinier coat and leaner muscles. Cons include bacteria and parasites that can sneak into your pet’s system – especially through raw meat. Cats and dogs can also experience general GI issues like diarrhea and vomiting. It’s a good idea to chat with a vet before you embark on a raw diet for your pet.

Homemade food diets

Pet owners that want and/or need to avoid commercial dog and cat food can make their pet’s food at home, which means you know exactly what your pet is eating, where you got the ingredients, and how it was made. Take note that homemade diets involve quite a bit of meal prep, so be prepared to be your pet’s personal chef.

The Girl is feeding the Dog
Someone's hand is on Dog's head

Your dogBFF needs a doggy-specific diet

A good dog diet is formulated specifically for your BFF’s system, and is critical to their health and well-being. The right combination of proteins, nutrients, ingredients, and supplements helps keep their energy high, their coat sleek and shiny, and their muscles supple and strong. Feeding them right also helps prevent disease.

Cat looks shocking

Your kittyBAE thrives best on cat-specific foods

A good cat diet is designed to keep your feline companion healthy and strong. When your cat eats the right things, everything usually works better. That includes their muscles, bones, teeth, brain, skin and coat, and their tum-tums. A proper diet also helps keep their weight in check – another key part of their overall health.

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