March is National Pet Food Nutrition Month

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics originally started National Nutrition Month to call attention to the importance of nutritious food choices for children and adults. The awareness campaign has since evolved to include the veterinary industry. At Grantsburg Animal Hospital, we see first-hand the effects of both good nutrition and poor nutrition. Some of the consequences of the latter include malnutrition, obesity, skin and coat problems, allergies, and an increased risk of diabetes, heart issues, and cancer. 

Choosing the Most Nutritious Food for Your Pet
While nobody wants their pet to experience such serious health problems, it can be hard to select the most nutritious pet food. Before making a purchasing decision, it’s important to consider your dog or cat’s age and special health requirements. Many companies that manufacture pet food tailor their product to age categories and common issues such as a sensitive stomach. It’s also important to check the pet food label. Both dogs and cats benefit from food that has animal protein as its first ingredient.

For dog food, other important ingredients include water, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. Cat food should contain antioxidants, fat, and fiber. Pet food labels are regulated by the American Feed Controls Office and must contain the following:

• Product name
• Ingredient list
• Guaranteed analysis that states the percentage of main nutrients in the pet food
• Nutritional adequacy statement
• Feeding guidelines
• Net quantity statement
• Manufacturer’s name and address

While this list sounds impressive, it leaves room for many omissions. For example, ingredients added by anyone other than the original manufacturer do not have to be included on the label. Additionally, a manufacturer can add words such as premium or all-natural to the packaging without having to create a higher quality product. That’s why knowing how to decipher a dog or cat food label is important. For additional information on how to interpret each of the above categories, go to the website Dog Food Scoop or Cat Food Analysis.

If you still feel uncertain about which type of food and brand is best for your dog or cat, our staff is happy to help. Just give us a call or bring it up at your pet’s next wellness exam. Your pet’s veterinarian will consider individual factors such as species, breed, age, weight, and general health before making a recommendation. 

Grantsburg Animal Hospital carries Purina Pro Plan and Purina Prescription diets in all three of our clinic locations located in Grantsburg and Frederic, Wisconsin and Wild River, Minnesota. The Purina brands are also available from our online store. If your pet has allergies, we encourage you to consider feeding him or her Taste of the Wild grain-free food. This specialty food is also available in all three clinics.

Image credit:  cynoclub| iStock Photo

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