Pet Food: What You Need to Know About Feeding Your Furry Friend

When searching for food for dogs and cats, pet owners have one thing in common: they want to find the best quality nutrition available at a price that suits their budget. As you shop for pet food for your furry friend, keep in mind that a number of different factors should be taken into consideration when deciding which one is the best fit for your individual pet.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Which Food to Feed Your Pet

Quality Ingredients

The best pet food manufacturers understand that using quality pet food ingredients leads to healthier pets. Dogs and cats are carnivores by nature. This means that protein should be the primary ingredient in their food. Protein supplies essential amino acids dogs and cats need to develop and maintain their muscle structure and other body functions. Premium pet food ingredient listings will list a quality protein source, such as chicken or beef, as their first ingredient.

According to a Consumer Affairs report, the following list of Premium Pet Food companies all list quality meats as their primary ingredient:

  1. Blue Buffalo
  2. Candidae
  3. Eukanuba
  4. Hill’s Science Diet
  5. Iam’s
  6. Nutro

Dietary Requirements to Consider

While each dog or cat may have specific dietary requirements, dogs do have different nutritional needs than cats. When determining what and how to feed your pet, pay close attention to these feeding recommendations and tailor them to your pet’s unique nutritional needs.

  • Your Pet’s Age – nutritional requirements are different for puppies or kittens vs. adult dogs and cats. The dietary needs of elderly dogs and cats will differ from those of middle-aged pets.
  • Your Pet’s Weight – It is also important to keep your pet’s weight in mind. Over-feeding your pet can lead to food-related health problems. If your pet is under-fed, it can have a detrimental effect on their growth and development.
  • Any Health Issues Your Pet May Have – take into account any health issues your pet may have, such as diabetes, kidney disease, or other health problems.
  • Allergies – Some pets are allergic to certain ingredients. Always check the label before buying pet food to ensure your pet is not exposed to ingredients they may be allergic to.

Cost vs. Value of a Quality Pet Food

One of the best ways to determine if a pet food is worth the asking price is to compare the cost of the food against the value it offers. Many premium pet foods for dogs and cats on the market today come with hefty price tags. Fortunately, there are money-savings options available that can help you cut costs.

There are several ways you can save money on pet food. Most pet food manufacturers offer discounts on pet food by issuing coupons for their brands. These pet food coupons keep expenses under control, especially if your pet has special dietary needs. Check manufacturers websites or your local Sunday newspapers for these money-saving coupons.

Some veterinary offices offer their clients free samples of pet food to try before investing in a premium pet food. This “try-before-you-buy” approach helps you save money, by seeing how your pet will react to the new food before you invest a lot of money. If your pet refuses to eat the new food or if they have problems digesting a new food, it is easier to make an adjustment without spending money on something that doesn’t meet your pet’s needs. Making your own pet food is another way to help cost costs without sacrificing quality.

Advantages of Making Your Own Pet Food

One of the biggest advantages of making your own pet food is that it can help cut down on pet food expenses. Homemade pet foods offer additional benefits over traditional commercially-prepared pet foods.

  • More Product Control – Making your own pet food allows you to have control over what goes into your pet’s diet.
  • Better Quality Ingredients – You get to select the freshest, most nutritious ingredients best suited for your pet’s needs and taste preferences.
  • Reduced Risk of Contamination – There remains a risk of contamination issues for any food that is commercially processed. When making commercial-level quantities of pet food, there are times when things may go wrong, as evidenced by widespread pet food recalls of the past several years.
  • Save More Money by Buying Bulk Ingredients – Buying fresh ingredients in bulk, such as meats and vegetables, afford you the opportunity to save money on a cost per serving basis.

Homemade pet food gives pet owners the peace of mind that comes from knowing exactly what goes into your pet’s food dish. If you would like to try your hand at making your own pet food, there are many reputable websites that offer enticing pet food recipes for your 4-legged companions.

The single most important thing to remember when making homemade pet food is that the finished product should be nutritionally-balanced. It is not enough to just combine meat, rice, and vegetables. Take the time to learn what nutritional requirements your pet needs to grow and develop to their best potential. The following suggested websites offer valuable insights, such as nutritional guidelines and delicious DIY pet food recipes, designed to help your pet avoid potential diet-related health issues.

Homemade Pet Food Recipe Websites to Try

Homemade Cat Food Recipes

  • http://www.catnutrition.org
  • http://www.feline-nutrition.org
  • http://www.consciouscat.net

Homemade Dog Food Recipes

  • http://www.caninejournal.com
  • http://homemadedogfood.com/dog-food-recipes/
  • http://www.whole-dog-journal.com/issues/15_7/features/Home-Prepared-Dog-Food-Nutritional-Information_20568-1.html

The unavoidable reality of pet ownership is the fact that caring for, and feeding, your canine or feline companion will always involve some type of expense. The good news is that there are options available to help you save money and provided the best possible nutrition for your beloved family members.

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