Pet Nutrition

Written by Kathleen Gagne
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Pet Nutrition Facts

Let's start with what's not healthy for pets. It might surprise you to know that the majority of pet foods you buy in a grocery store are not only not good for your pet, but they can also be harmful to your pet and can shorten your pet's lifespan and quality of life. One nationally recognized veterinarian has recommended a list of healthy protein sources, natural preservatives, antioxidants, and probiotics that make up the major ingredients in healthy pet foods. The differences between healthy pet foods and foods that can harm are significant. This vet states that pets like dogs and cats should average a 20-30 year lifespan, yet most of our pets live only 13-16 years.

What makes the difference? To start with, most over the counter pet foods contain large quantities of soybean meal, corn glutens, corn meal, whole corn, crushed corn, and ground corn. Lots of corn. That's the main source of protein in most pet foods and also in foods designed to make farm animals gain weight! Pets, however, like people, need the higher quality of protein that comes from meat products such as chicken or lamb meal.

How Can You Provide Quality Pet Nutrition?

The first thing you should do when you're considering any pet food is to look at the label. If the first three ingredients are corn, chicken byproducts, and more corn, the food will not provide appropriate protein. Chicken meal and lamb meal as the top ingredient are much better for your pets. Look for the chemical preservatives as well. BHA and BHT are two commonly used preservatives that have been shown to promote liver disease.

In addition to the major ingredients on the label, you should see if the food has antioxidants such as grapeseed that help to prevent or deter degenerative diseases like kidney and heart disease. Pet foods should contain some vegetables as well because vegetables are an excellent source of antioxidants. The label will also tell you whether there are artificial dyes in the food. Many major brands include dyes that can be harmful. The bottom line is that you should know what's in the pet foods you buy. Just because a product is made by a major manufacturer and has a fancy ad campaign and probably costs more does not mean that it provides good pet nutrition.

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