You Are What You Eat! – ​Picking a Good Pet Food


One of the only things you can do every day to keep your pet healthy is feed them a diet that is nutritionally balanced to meet their needs.

How do you decide what food is the best for your pet?
The team at Chestermere Veterinary Clinic is a great place to start, stop in or call us at (403) 272-3573 for a nutrition consultation. Our team is trained to help you make the best choice for your pet.

We only carry and recommend foods that:
– Use licensed independent laboratories for analysis.
– Have clinical and scientific data supporting their medical claims.
– Do not perform invasive research on animals.
– Use feeding trials to test the food for taste acceptance, quality and freshness.
– Continually test and upgrade their recipes.
– Support pet owners by answering their questions and providing more information when required.
– Conduct clinical studies with veterinarians and pet owners.
– Have an established quality assurance program, and test the quality of each ingredient put into the food.
– Provide veterinarians with support from board certified internal medicine veterinarians.
– Provide detailed information on the diet including: a complete list of ingredients and quantities, digestibility, urine acidity (which helps to keep your pet free from bladder stones and urinary infections), amino acid profiles (ensuring all essential building blocks of protein are provided), and fatty acid analysis (ensuring a correct balance of fats).

What about raw and homemade diets?
There is no scientific analysis to show that these diets are nutritionally balanced for pets. One study on raw food found significant inadequacies, specifically in calcium and phosphorous ratios, which can be devastating for growing pets. Other risks of feeding raw diets (both home-made and commercially prepared) include presence of bacteria such as Salmonella, Campylobacter, E. Coli, and Listeria. Pets have died from Salmonella in raw food and if infected with Salmonella can infect other pets and people. Even the most stringent cleaning methods may not kill the bacteria. One study found that after putting food bowls containing Salmonella infected raw food through a residential dishwasher cycle or after soaking in 10% bleach for 5 minutes, 67% of bowls still contained Salmonella.

Common Food Myths:

Meat first diets are better – MYTH!
High meat diets are usually excessive in calcium, sodium and phosphorus which are not appropriate for older pets.

More is better – MYTH!
Higher amounts of poor quality protein is not as good as smaller amounts of high quality protein.

Corn is just a filler – MYTH!
Fillers offer no nutritional value, but corn is a highly nutritious ingredient chosen as a source of protein (for muscle and tissue growth), carbohydrates (for energy), fibre, antioxidants (Beta-carotene, Vitamin E, Lutein) and linoleic acid – an essential fatty acid that promotes healthy skin and coat. In addition, corn causes no more food allergies than any other grain. Corn is also highly digestible, even more so than rice, wheat, barley and sorghum.

By-products are bad – MYTH!
By-products are common ingredients found in both human and pet food. Vitamin E, gelatin, beef bouillon, beef liver and vegetable oils are all by-products. For example, chicken by-product meal is a high quality, concentrated source of protein. It consists of ground, rendered, wholesome parts of the chicken including white meat, dark meat, liver and viscera.

Dogs are carnivores – MYTH!
Dogs are omnivores. Dog food should have a balance of nutrients, not just protein, but also fats, carbohydrates, fibre, etc.

Fibre is a filler – MYTH!
Fibre is a complex carbohydrate. The primary function and benefit of fibre are to increase bulk and water in the intestinal contents to help promote and regulate normal bowel functions.

Organic, Natural, Holistic and Human Grade – FACTS!
The term “organic” was legally defined for human foods by the USDA. Pet food companies can currently use the term “organic” if they follow the same rules applied to human foods. Foods that are “100% organic” or “organic” will carry the USDA Organic Seal on the package. Natural and organic are not interchangeable terms. “Holistic” has no legal definition. There is no regulation defining what the word holistic means with regard to pet foods. The use of “human grade” or “human quality” is not allowed in pet food marketing unless the food is made in a human food approved plant.

Remember, the right food can help your pet live healthier and longer and can also manage or prevent certain diseases. Talk to the veterinary team at Chestermere Veterinary Clinic to find the right food for your pet.

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