Confused about all those pet foods on the shelf? We don’t blame you– there are a lot to choose from, and it seems the choices are multiplying! An easy beginning to finding the ideal diet for your pet is checking for the American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) statement. This will inform you if this particular diet is considered nutritionally complete and balanced and therefore if it can be fed as a sole source of nutrition. If it is not considered nutritionally complete and balanced, it is considered a treat or supplement and should only be used intermittently.
The next aspect to consider is whether the diet you have chosen is appropriate for your pet and his/her life stage. For example, a mature feline diet is not likely going to be the best choice for a growing young kitten. Similarly, that large breed puppy food is not a great choice for an older, overweight dog. Also, keep in mind that the label “for all life stages” is actually most appropriate for growing animals versus mature animals and therefore may become an inappropriate choice for mature and or overweight pets.
The final aspect to consider is food safety. Has there been a recall on this particular batch of food? The FDA requires recalls to be reported within 24 hours of a possible or known problem with a food, and these can be found on the FDA’s site. Bright side of a recall: you know your manufacturer is checking their product regularly and taking action to correct any possible errors. Just because a company hasn’t had a recall doesn’t mean there have not been any errors– it could just mean that they have never checked.
On the food safety front, raw food diets need to be addressed. Raw food diets are a potential health risk to you and your pet as they have a very high risk of contamination with harmful bacteria. If your pet is immune compromised in any way, he/she may become ill due to exposure to these organisms. Similarly, owners preparing these foods may become ill and/or infected with these organisms. Therefore we do not recommend feeding a raw diet due to the potential risk factors. For further resources see the AVMA’s policy on raw diets as well as the AAHA’s statement regarding raw diets.
We want to help you keep you animals happy and healthy. With a lot of drug stores, online pharmacies, T.V. commercials, and magazine advertisements it can be confusing and overwhelming finding the best product for your animal’s needs. A current examination is a great asset to help determine any necessary treatments, supplements, or medications your animal may need. If your animal requires any medication, it may be available over the counter or only by prescription. Here is the AVMA’s FAQ page regarding prescriptions and pharmacies. Before starting your animal on any new supplement, over the counter medication, or prescription medication, please consult your animal’s veterinarian.
The holidays can bring a lot of cheer, food, and decorations into your home. Some of these can be harmful to our furry friends such as chocolates, xylitol containing candy, or that enticing tinsel hanging from the tree. Review the AVMA’s Holiday Pet Guide to help keep your pets safe during the holiday season.
Please see our past Educational Resource Topics.