How to Select Natural Pet Food

Those of you with pets have likely heard of the many benefits of natural pet food. However, if you are like me, there was a time that you were naive as to the ingredients found in your pet’s food. My wife and I used to simply buy the cheapo brand at the grocery store and never gave much thought to it. My dog ate it up and that was that.

The problem with this decision making began to be apparent in that our dog had very irregular bowel movements, terrible gas, and sometimes cramped up in the evenings. His allergies were bad and he seemed generally lethargic

We decided to take him to the vet and discovered that the food we had been giving him was loaded with fillers, indigestible proteins and chemicals. Each of these had contributed to his unfavorable health condition. We learned that poor pet nutrition is a direct cause of many pet diseases. So, the solution was simply giving our dog a better, higher quality dog food.

So, what do you need to look for in natural pet food? What are the best ingredients? Of course, this largely depends on your type of pet, the breed, and the size. However, there are common ingredients that should be universal.

Natural Pet Health

What to Look For:

  • Look for USDA approved foods, rather than those foods that are scrap and considered unfit for human consumption.

  • Whole meats like chicken, lamb, turkey, fish, and beef. Generally speaking, the more meat the better for a large variety of pets, cats and dogs included.

  • Vegetables such as peas, sweet potatoes, broccoli, and carrots are high in a variety of vitamins and minerals.

  • Good whole grains are an excellent choice for pet health. Oatmeal, barley, and brown rice are good selections. However, grains should not be one of the first two ingredients. That should be reserved for the meat.

  • Many pet foods now include omega fats, such as flaxseed and sunflower oil. These are great for the fur and coats of your pets and give them that clean shine.

  • Real, whole fruits such as berries.

  • Garlic is a great ingredient and is now found in many natural pet foods. It is great for controlling fleas.

  • Look for natural preservatives, like Vitamin E.

What to Avoid:

  • Hormone and antibiotics found in meats. Obviously, this contradicts the natural pet food selection criteria immediately.

  • Meat by-products, beef tallow, and rendered meats include parts such as feet, feathers, beaks, and intestines. They are hard to digest and create havoc on your pet’s bowels.

  • BHA/BHT or Ethoxyquin (these are preservatives that are known allergens)

  • Artificial colors, sugars, and sweeteners

  • Corn and wheat. Many pets have allergies and these two ingredients may be the cause.

  • Soy products: While great for vegetarian diets, they may have a negative effect of the thyroid as well as the absorption of other vitamins and minerals in your pets.

The bottom line in selecting the right natural pet food is to read the labels, and know the history of the company making the food. With The Pet Institute now stating that forty percent of pet foods contain meat by-products, it will take some effort to find exactly what you are looking for, but doesn’t your best friend deserve it?

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