Selecting the Best Food for Our Pets
Selecting foods for your pet is a daunting consumer challenge today because media advertising, and not always common sense, is driving the pet owner’s purchasing decisions. Active, exercising, and working young adult dogs can often eat the super premium high calorie foods that appear in ads on our TV screens without packing on the extra pounds. But a dog who is sleeping all day while you’re at work and then gets a fifteen minute walk up the street and back twice daily will probably gain weight over time. And then when treats and some table food are added in, it’s a recipe for a burgeoning waistline.
Most of the pet food manufacturers today have created a variety of foods with varying caloric densities to help us help our pets to stay fit.
There’s even one pet food company (Royal Canin) that now scientifically formulates adult maintenance foods tailored to over 200 different breeds of dogs – from Chihuahuas to Irish Wolfhounds!
There are just too many variables that go into making a scientific decision regarding which manufacturer’s food and at what caloric density is perfect for your pet for me to cover here, given the dozens of food lines available in the supermarket and hundreds more featured in pet stores and online.
My best summarized advice is to do your due diligence after viewing TV ads, perusing the pet food displays in stores, and even trying to weed through the advertising propaganda seen online. Most of our pet dog and cat breeds were created by decades or centuries of selective breeding by man and don’t have the same metabolic and caloric needs as do wolves roaming the Canadian wilderness or leopards on the savannah (TV Ads) !!
Please realistically assess how much real exercise your pet dog or cat achieves per day and look at the breed weight standards available online at your breed’s association website. If your pet has ongoing medical problems, like the predisposition to form urinary stones, or has developed arthritis or many other chronic conditions, what they eat can affect their health significantly. Consider too, your pet’s age as we now know that dogs and cats eight years and older are considered to be senior pets and do have changing nutritional requirements. Geriatric pets over age eleven may have even greater metabolic changes to consider. Then do the research to find a food formulated to meet the unique caloric and metabolic needs of your pet, and always use the feeding directions on the pet food bag as a starting point. Most pet’s food intake can be adjusted over time to maintain a healthy and fit conformation if you continue to feel your pet’s body regularly.
Almost every month there is a new super premium pet food brand introduced to American pet owners. Several times per month my clients will ask me to comment on a new pet food which is completely new to me as well. If you have questions about your pet’s food, I encourage you to bring in the nutritional information from the food bag or the advertising brochure to your next appointment so our Doctors can help you evaluate what’s best for your pet.
Pittsburgh Spay & Vaccination Clinic is a state-of-the-art, full-service suburban veterinary facility serving the Pittsburgh Area since 1980.. We offer diagnostic, medical, surgical, and dental care to dogs, cats, ferrets, rabbits, and pocket pets in the Pittsburgh area.