What You Should and Shouldn’t Feed Your Pet

There’s a wide range of pet nutrition products on the market and it can be confusing working out what to choose. Here are some helpful hints.

There’s a lot of information online about what you should and shouldn’t feed your pet. The headlines you see will change from fad to fad, making it hard to cut through the trends and find a straight-forward guide on what to do. Here is a list that most reputable sources agree on:

SHOULD: Compare Ingredients

We all live busy lives and it isn’t always realistic to spend ten minutes in the grocery aisle comparing the ingredients of different products. But, you should definitely make a point to do so at least once in your next upcoming few shops. If you do it right just once, you won’t have to do it again for a while.

Comparing ingredients gives context to what can sometimes be misleading packaging, such as when a product claims to be a particular percent of protein or fat and what those proteins and fats are. Turn the packaging around, look at the back and see how many real and recognisable whole foods are listed. The more you recognise the better.

SHOULDN’T: Go with the brands you recognise

Comparing products ensures your pet is getting the right stuff without breaking the bank. A report released by New Zealand’s Ministry of Primary industries (MPI) in 2016 revealed that the ‘norm’ of pet food marketing is to use buzzwords like ‘premium’, ‘natural’, and ‘healthy’, making it even harder for the everyday pet parent to distinguish which is the best. That same report noted the most trusted and established brands use a higher price tag to ‘position themselves as a superior product.’ Again, check the ingredients to make sure you’re not falling for clever marketing tactics.

SHOULD: Buy according to pet lifestyle

Whichever species of pet is in your household, it is likely that the market for their food differentiates itself between young, adult, and senior formulas. This is not just another marketing ploy. Different pet age groups require different vitamins and protein-to-fat ratios to compensate for any growing, maintaining, or decline that your pet may be going through. Also, it matters whether your pet is active, sedentary, or has any mobility or health issues that can be mitigated through diet.

SHOULDN’T: Discount all fads, with the proper research

While we’ve provided a basic guideline on what you should and shouldn’t do at the supermarket, it’s worth noting that not all fads are created equal, so long as you check them out thoroughly with research of your own. The best example of this is homemade meals, which can be cheaper in the long-run, so long as you have the time, know which ingredients to avoid, and which ingredients give them all the vitamins they need. Others include an only-dry or only wet-food diet, which can be beneficial depending on the needs of your pet.