The best pet foods are difficult to identify . Here are a few tips. The food should be identified for the stage of life. For example growth ( kitten, puppy) , adult, less active ( overweight) and seniors. These are all non-prescription diets available in vet clinics, pet stores and supermarkets. There is no such diet that is “for all stages of life” . Go right now and check the bag of food for your pet. If you see this–don’t buy it again. Sorry Dick Van Patton… and numerous others. These diets may have inviting ingredients and may be “organic” ( more on this next post) but there is no food for a puppy and a senior . NO go.
I prefer the first 2 ingredients to have meat and or poultry and the 3rd ingredient will likely be a grain. Many have corn as the second ingredient and that can still be a great food (unless your pet is allergic to corn). But more an more the price of corn increases so you will see soy or other protein grains. Barley is unique and wonderful.
The next will be ingredients to complete the balance of protein, fiber and carbohydrates. Often the fiber comes from beets, carrots, beans etc. These are vegetables that are healthful and in the wild many canines would eat them. Then follows, additive such as glucoseamines, preservatives, vitamins and minerals. The preservatives have improved so much over the years because they more natural, eg , marigold extract, green tea extract, lycopene, rosemary extract, preserved with natural mixed tocopherols and citric acid. Not bad, right?
The food should always state that it meets the AAFCO guidelines–these are the minimum requirements for pet food standards. However, this doesn’t give complete comfort. I worked in the pet food industry in quality assurance and I didn’t feel very “assured”. Sometimes the meat was brought in on a freezer truck that had no refrigeration, I checked the temperature of the raw product and turned the truckers away… the meat was nearly putrified. But they would leave, get the coolant back on board, return on the next shift and it would be accepted. It met the “requirements”. So, minimum is not saying much.
You could produce pet food and market it. I could buy it and not really know if you had balanced it to meet my kittens requirements. It frankly is quite is easy. Not on a large scale. But you could do it. Science Diet, Royal Canin, Purina or ask your veterinarian or animal nutritionist for advice. Do not rely on a cashier in the pet store for help. They would rarely have any training.
Next post=organic and raw diets.