Tips for Great Nutrition

One of the big questions we ask ourselves in relation to our pets is what food should I feed? Here are some things to consider when choosing a diet for your companion.

In this article we are focusing on dog and cat nutrition, but future issues will discuss birds, small mammals, reptiles, and the like. We’d love your input on which topics are of interest to you!

1) Choose a super premium, organic or holistic pet food. The ingredients in these foods will be fit for human consumption – conventional pet foods are not.

2) Look at the ingredients panel. The primary ingredients should be a named meat (such as beef, or chicken meal). The term “meal” refers to meat that was dried prior to the kibble being formed. While it is considered a lower quality product than fresh meat, it retains several health benefits, and generally results in a more economically-priced product. However, avoid at all costs any food containing by-products. These are the non-meat portion of an animal, and provide little nutritional value to a food.

3) The secondary ingredients should be fruits and vegetables. Many animals can tolerate some whole grains, though corn and wheat should be avoided in any form.

4) Avoid artificial preservatives. Vitamins C and E are natural preservatives and healthier for your pet. A vitamin E-derived preservative is often listed as “tocopherols” – although it’s not an easy word to say, it’s a natural antioxidant.

5) Pets love raw food! A raw food diet is natural and healthy, as well as a tasty treat for your friend. Remember, wolves and cougars don’t cook their rabbits and other game before eating it. If you’re not comfortable handling raw meat, there are freeze-dried options that still contain the benefits of a non-cooked meal.

6) Variety is the spice of life! Continuing to think in terms of their wild cousins, who may eat poultry one day and rodent or fish the next, we feel strongly that feeding your pet a varied diet provides a much more balanced nutritional base than a single diet form. Variety can be rotating chicken, beef, and lamb (or some of the more exotic meats like bison, venison & duck), or it can be switching between kibble, canned, and raw.

If you’re considering changing your pet’s diet, feel free to email us for suggestions – there are several independent pet stores in the area with very knowledgeable staff that we’d be happy to recommend.


About Kristin S Moran

I have worn a lot of hats over the years. Some of my favorite jobs have been: Naturalist at a state park, Co-owner of a pet sitting franchise, and Intern at a conservation not-for-profit organization. I own 3 male cats and a female rottweiler/border collie dog. I have been learning about pet nutrition for the past few years, and have seen vast improvement in my pets' health and that of several clients' pets. Throughout my life, pets have always had a major role. I grew up with cats, and we got our first dog when I was in high school. I've also owned ferrets, rabbits, and a hermit crab. I started out my college career in a pre-veterinary medicine program, but eventually switched to Wildlife Science, earning my bachelor's degree from Purdue University. I have been an interpretive naturalist at several different facilities, including Acadia National Park, Lincoln State Park, Mesker Park Zoo, and Howell Wetlands. I enjoy learning about the natural world and sharing what I've learned with others. I am also a member of the Society for Creative Anachronism, though I tend to write about that and my other crafty pursuits on other blogs.
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