Feeding your pet the right type of food is crucial in the quality of life our pets will live. There is a huge difference between a pet that survives and a pet that thrives and I think we owe it to our pets to feed them the best quality food we can! Whether that’s feeding your pet a balanced raw diet or a high quality dry food there are a variety of options for pet parents to choose from if they’re main objective is to make sure their pet eats healthy.
The best type of food you as a pet parent can feed your pet is Raw Food, hands down. Raw Food is the biologically appropriate diet that dogs, direct descendants of wolves, are designed to eat. They provide balanced nutrition concentrating more on higher levels of protein and fat rather than carbohydrates as is common in commercial diets i.e kibble / dry dog food.
Not only does a Raw Food provide a balanced diet it also provides pets:
- Healthier Skin & Coat
- Reduced Allergies
- Reduced or Eliminated Chronic Diseases / Infections
- Better Digestion
- Denser, Firmer and Less Smelly Stools
- Healthier & Cleaner Teeth
- Increased Energy & Vitality
- Metal Stimulation
In order to ensure that your pet is getting a balanced diet you should always feed a variety of proteins (chicken, beef, duck, lamb, venison, etc) complete with organs and a small percentage of fruits and vegetables.
For more information on how to feed a balanced raw food you can visit Keep The Tail Wagging written by Kimberly Gauthier. She has been feeding her pups a RFD for years and is very experienced in this department.
Canned foods are a great alternative to Raw Foods if you’re feeling a little bit iffy about feeding your pet animal flesh, don’t have the time or perhaps are on a budget. Canned foods (those being high quality) are the next best thing not only because they are species appropriate but also because the #1 ingredient is protein! This type of food offers a balanced diet with 70-80% water, real meat (even though it is cooked), and a hearty serving of fruits and vegetables.
When choosing any canned food you always want to make sure that the first ingredient (and if possible the first 3-5 ingredients, in my opinion) is a protein. The reason being that anything after the second ingredient will essentially make up the bulk of the pet food.
It isn’t necessary for pets to consume carbs, unless the pet happens to be dealing with kidney or liver issues, in which case they may actually need these carbs to aid in digestion. If the food you choose happens to contain them then that’s perfectly fine so long as it’s not the primary ingredient. You always want the main ingredient to be proteins.
Dehydrated foods are a happy medium between Raw and Canned foods. This type of food starts out as a DRY but once you add water it turns into a much thicker version of porridge. It is also biologically appropriate containing adequate amounts of protein, fruits and vegetables as well as about 70% water or more if you decide you want to add more water when reconstituting this food. Although this food is not technically a raw food because it is dry and won’t decompose when left out it hasn’t been processed at high temperatures as dry foods have and therefore retains much of it’s nutrients. Dehydrated foods are a great choice for pet parents who’d much rather not feed raw or canned foods and come in a variety of protein flavors!
Dry food or kibble as most people call it is the second to last on our list being that it is the least biologically appropriate food. Our pets weren’t designed to eat dry and crunchy foods but unfortunately it is one of the most popular foods we feed our pets. This type of food contains less amount of moisture coming in at a whopping 12%! Because of this our pets are in a constant state of dehydration which causes a significant amount of stress on their bodies throughout the years and in severe cases kidney issues.
In order to get the most out of dry foods choosing a kibble that is super high quality is key. Finding one that has protein as the primary ingredient, very little to no grains and doesn’t contain chemicals that could be potentially toxic to pets such as propylene glycol, ethylene glycol, etc is a great place to start. A good rule of thumb to follow would be to check the label for the first ingredients to be proteins, avoiding terms and chemicals that are unknown and not specified.
Semi-moist foods are not at all the kind of food you’d want to be feeding your pet but being that I was covering all the different types of foods out there I figured this particular one should be included as well. This type of food is at the bottom of the totem pole in terms of what you can (but I would advise against) feed your pet because it requires the use of propylene glycol in order to maintain it’s semi-moist state. Propylene glycol stems from the ethylene glycol (antifreeze) family and although it is approved for use in dog foods and treats it is highly toxic to them.
If you’ve read my article on Propylene Glycol then you know I absolutely hate the stuff and don’t feed my pets anything that contains it!
As for us (Zoey and the boys) we’re on a high quality kibble diet. I know, I know… it isn’t the best food out there and is in fact way at the bottom of the totem pole but unfortunately that’s all we can afford to feed her at the moment. We’d love to go back to feeding them Raw but I’ve found that it can be quite expensive and time consuming both of which we do don’t have an abundance of. We do hope though that at some point we can go back to feeding them Raw because it truly is the best possible food out there, if done right!
What type of food is your fur ball currently on?