Selecting Safe and Healthy Pet Foods

I am a dog lover. Some people who know me might even say I’m a dog fanatic. (I like cats too, by the way. I don’t currently have one, but I have in the past and I’m sure I will again.) My husband and I consider our dog an integral part of our family, and we try to make sure we’re giving her the best sustenance and care that we can. Unfortunately, many pet foods are extremely low quality and don’t provide the proper nutrition to help pets live long and healthy lives. And some foods can even be harmful.

Remember, a couple of years back, when a bunch of pets got painful kidney stones, and some died, because of melamine in their food?  (Click here and here to see current recalls and alerts.) Contaminants and chemical additives aren’t the only problems to be concerned about. Many popular pet foods are essentially junk food—the equivalent of feeding yourself low-grade fast food and nothing else, every single day.

For some good overviews of the problems with many dog foods, and what types of foods to look for, you should read the following articles from DogFoodAnalysis.com (link 1; link 2), and the following articles by Dr. Weil, who’s not a vet, but rather an MD and a dog lover (link 1; link 2).

My dog’s vet recommends Chicken Soup for the Dog Lover’s Soul and Natural Balance. Dr. Weil feeds his dogs Acana Pacific. And the Dog Food Analysis site has given its highest rating (6 stars) to certain product lines within the following brands: Innova EVO, Wellness Core, Instinct, Orijen, Taste of the Wild, Horizon Legacy, Artemis Maximal, Blue Wilderness, and Go Natural Grain Free Endurance. You can look up the DogFoodAnalysis review and rating of the food you’re currently buying for your dog by using the site’s Search bar. Many products that are marketed as healthy and beneficial, such as Purina’s “Beneful,” have received very bad reviews because they contain such low-quality ingredients. In fact, most of the dog foods that were reviewed ended up getting only a 1-star rating!  (Bear in mind that some of the reviews on the site are a couple of years old, so some brands may have changed their ingredients since then.)

Some specialty stores, such as Pet Food Express (in the San Francisco Bay Area), have a large selection of some of the higher-quality food brands. But keep in mind that not all pet foods that are expensive (or that advertise themselves as healthful) are actually high-quality. Do your research to make sure you know what you’re getting.

Related Post: Flea and Tick Treatments that Won’t Poison Your Pet

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April 7, 2010

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