A Dinner Conversation: Pet Foods. What’s good for my pet?

We see many healthy, strong, thriving animals every day at the Animal Medical Center (AMC).  In those cases when the owner of the pet asks, ‘What’s a good food?’ I’m inclined to point at the patient and say ‘Whatever this one is eating.’

I could spend the next 10 years in animal nutrition courses to learn just a little something, about every food available.  But the same holds true for every one of those bag, can or raw diets available; does your dog like it, is their skin healthy, bowel movements normal and do they maintain a healthy weight?  If yea, then it’s probably a good food.  Simple.

Eddie Kitten

Palatability should be at the top of what is a “good diet” list.  If an animal eats meals enthusiastically, ‘nuff said!  It’s tough to keep ‘em healthy if they don’t eat.

A healthy coat goes a long way to fitting the description of “good” dog or cat food, too.  More so if there are no issues with an itchy dog or skin infections.

The piles of poop in your yard are stink windows to the internal health of your animals.  Most of this is obvious; diarrhea, soft or poorly formed stools – bad.  If your animal does their business too frequently (greater than 3x a day) or the volume of droppings has the area looking like the foothills of the Rockies – that’s bad too.

And think “goldilocks” for weight.  Not too much, not too little…just right.

If all the above are true, then you likely have found a “good food” for your pet.

If the above checklist is incomplete, then your Veterinarian is going to give you a recommendation based on the science behind a food, a manufactures reputation and the history of results he/she gets from their recommendation.  At AMC we stake our reputation behind Hill’s/Science Diet, Purina, Iam’s/Eukanuba and Royal Canin diets.  Any breakthroughs in the last 30 years have come from these people, innovators and trend setters in the industry.  Everyone else will then fall in line.  It is important to say we have no affiliation with any pet food company, nor does AMC receive any endorsement or compensation.  We just believe in how these companies stand the test of time and quality control.

Purina for example, employs 400 PhD types who endlessly search for the perfect blends of food science and palatability.  They invest 3 billion dollars annually on research and development… 3 BILLION!  I expect you could find similar research figures from all of the big time players in the industry.

They control the sources of their ingredients, by contracting their own growers and ranchers.  Never seeking out the cheapest source, like what happened a few summers back with the lesser players in the pet food world.  The little guys found a cheap and abundant protein source in China.  With the bargain they also unknowingly bought a toxin (melamine), which ended up killing our pets.

All of these major players test their diets on animals, too.  Imagine that!  Hard to believe this isn’t an FDA requirement.   A company may fulfill the minimum requirements on an ingredient label easily enough, but ingredients mean nothing if the nutrients in them aren’t absorbed and used in the body.  Food trials that involve actually eating the diet only seem to happen with the major players.  Just ask the herd of beagles at Purina that live the good life doing what they live for…eating.

Bottom line here; what is “good” for your pet isn’t always what’s best for your pet.  We have an opinion about what’s “best”…just ask.


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