How to choose dog and cat food for your pet

Do you go into the pet store and just stand staring at the dog and cat foods wondering how in the world to choose the best food for your pet?  There are so many brands and flavors that it can be an overwhelming decision, so here is some helpful information to make your job easier.

The AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) develops standards for pet foods.  They have certain nutritional requirements that they recommend.  They also have created guidelines for  feeding trials that help determine the quality of each food by testing for things such as palatability and digestibility. 

When choosing a food for your pet, it is best to look on the bag for information about the AAFCO.  Many foods will say that they meet the nutritional requirements of the AAFCO, but this does not mean that they have done feeding trials.  To make the best choice for your pet, pick a food that says that they have done feeding trials based on guidelines by the AAFCO.  This will ensure that you have chosen a good complete diet for your pet.  Purina, Science Diet, California Natural, Iams, and Eukanuba are all companies that perform these food trials.  Some of these companies have various levels of food quality.  For instance, Purina’s low end diet is dog and cat chow, and their high end diet is Pro Plan, and  Eukanuba is Iam’s high end diet.  If you have questions regarding this, you can call the company.  You should be able to find their phone number on the bag of food.  And of course, your veterinarian is an excellent resource for any of your nutrition or health related questions.  

For those pet parents who don’t want their pets to get bored with the same food every day, it is important that you not continually change your pet’s diet.  This can cause an upset stomach resulting in vomiting or diarrhea.  Another option would be to choose one good brand of food and simply change flavors periodically.  Or, you can choose one brand to be 2/3 of your pet’s diet, and choose other good brands to rotate as the other 1/3.  

Remember, you are what you eat, and this goes for our pets as well.  They rely on us to make sure they get a good balanced diet in order to have a long, healthy life.