Being on trend is important to many of us, and our world is full of the latest and greatest when it comes to our pets. Just as in people, fad diets come and go, some of them more successful than others.
Some pet food trends, however, are worth taking a second look at, while others are potentially harmful. That’s why talking it over with one of our expert staff at Animal Medical Hospital & 24-Hour Urgent Care is worth your time – we want what’s best for your pet, whether it is on trend or not!
Evaluating Pet Diets Objectively
Feeding your pet seems like it should be a simple enough task, but when you start looking for information, it can be overwhelming. Everyone out there has an opinion, and not all of them agree.
In this world of a plethora of information, it is important to use an objective lens when evaluating a diet for your pet. Consider that:
- No one diet works best for every pet
- Higher cost does not necessarily correlate with higher quality
- Marketing can be deceiving – if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is
- Claims should be backed by scientific, peer-reviewed research
- Companies that have put effort into balancing a good diet typically have veterinary nutritionists or animal nutritionists on staff
- Many marketing phrases like “human grade” have no legal meaning
Even when you consider these things, it can still be hard to sort through the information. That’s why we are here. Call us any time you have a question about your pet’s care.
Seven Pet Food Trends to Talk to Us About
In recent years, a few pet food trends have emerged that we definitely should talk about before you choose them for your pet. Before you dive in head first with the following nutritional choices, please visit us for a nutritional consultation.
- Boutique brands – The pet food industry is a large and profitable one, and many people are starting to realize this. In the last decade or two, many new pet food manufacturers have popped up, but not all of them have your pet’s best interests at heart. From examining a company’s AAFCO certification to determining who formulated the diet and how it is evaluated, we are happy to help you decide if a boutique-style brand is the right choice for your pet. In general, larger companies with the resources and research to back their diets are the better choice in most situations.
- Exotic ingredients – A trip around the pet store will reveal diets made from kangaroo, lentils, sweet potatoes, and more. While in some situations these non-traditional ingredients may serve a purpose for a pet, in most instances they are not needed.
- Grain free – For some reason we have decided that pets shouldn’t eat grains. There is no evidence that grain free is better for animals, and in most situations whole grains contribute valuable nutrients to diets. With recent concerns about dilated cardiomyopathy and BEG diets, we generally recommend steering clear of grain free options unless we determine a true medical need.
- Home cooked – While cooking for your pet may seem like a great option, it can be difficult to do correctly. Many home cooked diets lack proper nutritional balance. These should always be formulated by a veterinary nutritionist to avoid problems.
- Prescription veterinary diets – There are many great diets that have been formulated for specific nutritional needs. From diets for pets with kidney disease to those who need joint support, nutritional changes can be beneficial in a great many situations. These should always be fed, however, under the guidance of a veterinarian.
- Raw diets – There are some staunch raw diet advocates out there, but in the vast majority of situations raw diets offer no benefit over cooked diets. In fact they increase the risk of things like dental fractures, bacterial infections including Salmonella and E. coli, and parasitic infections.
- Vegetarian – If you eat a vegetarian diet, it may be tempting to impart these values on your pet. Cats, unfortunately, are obligate carnivores and require meat to stay healthy. Dogs can be managed on a carefully designed vegetarian diet, however it does require some effort to select something that will keep your pet healthy.
Pet food trends are always changing, and the latest fad diet won’t always be the best fit for your pet. We are always here to help you to determine what the smartest choices are for your four-legged family member, though, if you become overwhelmed.