Make Sure Your Pet's Getting the Nutrition It Deserves?
Although the United States Food and Drug Administration responsible for pet food regulations has taken some measures toward improving tracking and response methods during the past pet food safety crisis, legislation to enforce stricter standards for ingredient testing and food quality is still in the works.
All ingredient listings are regulated and defined by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO).
AAFCO is an independent corporation that aids industry and government representatives in setting the standards for the animal feed industry. Although pet foods are not required by law to follow AAFCO standards, most do and will state this on their label.
While analyzing a label can be a daunting task, it is the owner’s primary source of information. The most important things to look at are the sources of protein, fat, and the type of preservatives used.
What You should Look For in a High Quality Food
Protein should be listed by name, such as chicken, beef, salmon, lamb, etc., and a generic term "meat" or "meat by-products." The same standard should be used when looking at the source of fat. Avoid generic listings such as vegetable oil, animal fat, or poultry fat.
Avoid foods with artificial preservatives such as BHA/BHT or ethoxyquin. High-quality foods use natural preservatives such as mixed tocopherols, vitamin C sources such as ascorbic acid, rosemary extract, and other herbs or antioxidants.
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A sure way to evaluate your pet’s overall health is by observing his coat. A lackluster coat should be considered a warning sign that nutritional needs aren’t being met.
Another way is to take note of energy levels. A fatigued pet is hardly healthy and one of the causes could be insufficient nutrients in his food.
Natural remedies are a safe alternative to help support your pet’s health. Spirulina, for example, can be used in pets to support energy, immune system and liver functioning, as well as overall systemic health.
Dandelion is known to contain bitter principles, which have a beneficial effect on the liver and digestive system. Dandelion is also a source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin A, D, C, various B vitamins, iron, lecithin, silicon, potassium, magnesium, zinc and manganese.
Keeping these key factors in mind will be of great help when looking at different pet foods for your companion. And although paying a little extra for natural supplements and high-quality organic foods might seem like a lot, it will save most likely save you money in veterinary bills in the long-term—and most importantly, provide your pet with the priceless gifts of health and vitality.