I’m often asked if the pet food that the breeder or pet store recommended is OK for a particular dog or cat.
If you have a new puppy or kitten or just want to try a new food you can use the following guidelines to help you. No matter which brand you choose, be sure to pick a food appropriate for your pet’s life stage (puppy/kitten, maintenance food, senior food) and breed.
Questions you can ask the pet food manufacturer (call the # on the bag/can):
- Do they have a full time nutritionist?
- Do they have a research and development department?
- Do they have their own manufacturing plant?
- How do they insure quality control (Ingredients, end product, shelf life, accountability)?
- Do they have feeding trials?
You can also look at the Label:
- Does the label say it is a complete and balanced diet? And what is the basis of this claim (feeding trial is best, “formulated to meet standard” isn’t as good).
- Label should state that the food meets the nutritional requirements established by AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials).
- Is the “life stage” correct for your dog (puppy/growth, maintenance, senior, large breed vs. small breed).
- If the label says it follows AAFCO guidelines for “natural” it means there are no chemically synthesized ingredients except vitamins, if they are listed on label.
- The terms “organic”, “holistic”, and “premium” have no definition and, therefore, can mean anything the manufacturer wants them to mean.
I hope this helps!
Dr. Eric Grunder
Disclosure: If your pet has a medical condition and your veterinarian has recommended a specific food, please use that.