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#Understanding the #Pet #Food #Industry

By Pawsforreaction @PawsForReaction
The pet food industry: the basics in understanding the pet foods on the market today
By Stacey Gonzalez

#Understanding the #Pet #Food #Industry

Photo by Brian Hathcock Foter.comCC BY-NC-ND

Choosing a food for your dog or cat can be an overwhelming and confusing experience. The pet food industry can seem complicated. Knowing your pet and watching how it reacts to different foods is just a part of selecting the right food. It is also important to know about the different types of pet foods on the market. The advantages to using a higher-grade pet food include easier clean-up, healthier skin and coat and over all immune health.

Breed sizes
The first thing you must consider when selecting the right food for your pet is that each animal is different and will have a different set of needs. Your food must meet these needs. Breed size will make a difference in food. Large breed pet foods usually have chondroitin and glucosamine added to support hip and joint health. The kibble will be appropriately sized. Small breed kibble will be smaller and easier to consume for the pet. Giant breed dog- 90 pounds or higher- foods are available as well as breed specific foods. Royal Canin offers a great selection of super-premium breed specific pet foods for both dogs and cats.
The next step is selecting the right life stage. Puppy and kitten food is important to feed in the early life-stage. This food contains more calories as young pet’s burn more calories than adult pets. Puppy and kitten food is usually fed to the pet up until 12-14 months of age. But every pet develops differently so if your pet starts to pack on the pounds at ten months then switching to an adult food early is the right call. Once you have your pet on adult food it can stay on it until 6-8 years of age. Then the animal can be switched to a senior diet. The senior food will be easier to digest for the animal and often has added nutrients for the older pet. There are times when an animal will be on a life-stage food that is not accurate. For example pregnant and nursing pets should be on puppy or kitten food to provide calories for both the parent and the babies. Underweight pets are often switched to puppy or kitten food as well.

#Understanding the #Pet #Food #Industry
Grocery grade pet food
The most economically priced dry and wet pet food is grocery grade pet food. It can be found in most grocery stores, super stores and non-pet oriented stores. I strongly advise against using these foods. These foods contain mostly fillers such as grains. Grains are not essential to a pet’s diet but act as bulk calories to fill the holes between meat products and other ingredients. Grains also contain gluten and gluten protein which is a common allergen in dogs. Grocery grade foods also usually contain meat by-products. There is no guarantee what parts of the animal go into meat by-products but it contains only five per cent real meat minimum. Often fillers and by-products appear much higher in the ingredients list on these foods. Don’t get me wrong- there is nothing harmful for pets in these foods- but they are balanced and often nothing else. They don’t contain many extras for the pet. Although these foods are economical in price pet owners actually end up spending more money because they have to feed so much more to their pet than if they bought a better, healthier food.

 Super-premium pet food
One healthier choice for your pet is super-premium food. These foods usually contain more meat proteins that the more economical foods. They will contain less fillers like corn and other grains which will make the food more digestible for the animal. Premium foods also have many extra vitamins, minerals and nutrients to support your dog or cat’s immune system and overall health. These foods will have extras not mandated by the guaranteed analysis that are great for your pet. Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids will be added to support skin and coat. These foods cost more but you feed less and clean up less so it’s a better choice for pet parents. While the foods aren’t considered all-natural they contain condensed nutrients that ensure that the pet gets all it needs from its daily meal. This type of pet food comes in both wet and dry kibble formula.

Holistic pet food
This premium pet food is an all-natural option for pet owners that are concerned with feeding their pet whole foods. Instead of using the condensed nutrients that the super-premium food use, holistic food uses the actual meat, fruit or vegetable that the nutrients are extracted from in their kibble and wet formulas. Holistic foods will also contain extras for the animal to support the pet’s overall health. Most holistic foods are also grain free and can often be a great choice for pets with food allergies. But using whole, human-grade ingredients can sometimes mean that the level of nutrients may vary so holistic pet owners will often feed supplements to ensure immune support.

#Understanding the #Pet #Food #Industry
The raw diet
Raw pet food’s popularity has been rising over the years and many pet owners are switching to a human or raw diet for their furry family members. Some pet owners chose raw food because they believe it is the closest to the food the animal would eat in the wild. Raw food is more time consuming to prepare and can cost more but it is just as healthy as feeding a holistic or premium food. There are many great raw pet foods on the market that come in freeze fried, refrigerated and frozen forms. These will be more balanced for your dog. But when feeding a raw diet of human food to your pet it is important to consult your veterinarian on the best practices for this feeding method. I also advise pet parents to only select hormone-free meat products.

Specialty pet foods
With many choices in each category of pet food some pet parents may focus on choosing a pet food that meets their pet’s nutritional needs. But other pet parents may have pets with health issues and will have a harder time selecting the right food. While some pets may have to be on vet-specific foods others can improve their issues using a specialty pet food. There are many pet foods on the market for skin and coat health, weight control and digestive sensitivity. But there are also some great foods that can reduce urine crystals, protein reduced options for allergenic pets and foods that improve dental health. The options are endless when it comes to specialty pet foods but it is important for pet parents to check the ingredients on every bag no matter what.

With a little research and getting to know your pet choosing the right food can be easier and the pet food industry can make a lot more sense. Always remember that every pet is difference and it is important to monitor then on and food and treat to make sure that it agrees with them. Choosing the right pet food can potentially add more happy and healthy years to your pet’s life.

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