Pet Food Choices: How do you choose your pet’s food?4 min read
For centuries, cats and dogs have been our favorite house pets. They are affectionate and love us unconditionally. When we return from work or an outing, a home isn’t complete without our pets. It is hard to resist the look of happiness and love in their eyes, accompanied by a tail that wiggles like a whip when you arrive.
Choosing The Right Food
Talking to pet owners has made me notice how passionate they are about their pet’s diet and the choices that they have made. This could be a raw or homecooked diet, supplements or treats, or any of the other trends and practices I’ve witnessed over the years. It’s not surprising that pet owners love their pets and make a lot of money. The overwhelming amount of information available about nutrition, diets and ingredients has made it difficult for pet owners to make informed decisions. One study found that dog owners felt the hardest part of pet ownership was choosing the right food.
Since 1995, I have been a Board Certified Veterinary Nutritionist. I am fascinated by peoples beliefs and choices about food and nutrition. Multiple studies have been done to understand why pet owners make certain decisions about the food they feed their pets. Our latest study was published earlier in the year. I collaborated with an applied economist, who studies the economics and policy for food and nutrition. We conducted a study to collect information from pet owners about the factors that influence their decisions regarding dog and cat food purchases.
There were more than 2100 responses, which should have given me some insight into the enthusiasm of pet owners. The most striking finding of the entire study for me was that more than 40% of respondents said that purchasing healthy food for pets was more important than buying healthy food themselves. Nearly all respondents viewed buying healthy food for their pets on a par with purchasing it for themselves. It was clear to me that pet owners are passionate about their pets. This gives us an opportunity to use this passion by providing evidence-based information that will help them buy the best food for their pets. We want pet owners to be able to choose the best food for their pets, not just the one with the most buzzwords and the best marketing.
Common Mistakes When Selecting Pet Food
Are you able to base your decision on one of these?
- The ingredient list. Pet owners often choose diets based upon the ingredients on the ingredient list. This is more important than choosing the most nutritious diets. Pets need nutrients and not ingredients. You can find more information in our helpful ingredient list and confusion from past Dogfood.Guide posts.
- These are the most persuasive labels. The most persuasive labels are those that include marketing information, not factual information. Not just because some diets include superfoods or ancient grains, it doesn’t mean they are the best for your pet.
- Ratings websites. Rating websites currently use marketing information or myths to determine which diet is the most nutritious and quality.
- Recommendations from your veterinarian: Your veterinarian will help you choose the right food for your pet. Employees at pet supply stores may promote the most profitable food, the store’s private brand or the ones that have the best marketing. This could be detrimental to your pet’s health.
These myths and misinformation could be part of your decision-making process. You might end up choosing the wrong diet.
Make Good Decisions for Your Best Friend
You care about your pet and are passionate about giving her the best nutrition. What can you do for your pet to get the best food?
- Talk to your vet. Our study found that veterinarians were the most popular source of nutrition information. They were also the most important source. Some veterinarians don’t enjoy discussing nutrition as much.
- Ask questions about your pet food. Most of the information you need is not found on the label. For example, whether the manufacturer uses rigorous quality control procedures or if they have qualified nutritionists. A tool from the Pet Nutrition Alliance has been compiled with some of the most important criteria from the World Small Animal Veterinary Association. This tool is updated annually.
- You can be skeptical about the internet’s nutrition. Although the internet can be a great resource, it can also be unreliable and full of misinformation or completely false information. Be a more objective web user, especially when it comes to pet nutrition. You can avoid common pitfalls when using the internet for nutrition.
Petfood Guide understands your passion and love for your pets. We feel the same! We want you to provide the best food for your pet. We want you to be able to make informed decisions about the health and nutrition of your pet. It is important to base your decisions on facts and not emotion or marketing. We hope that you will continue to read Petfood Guide. We’ll keep you informed, educated, or armed to make sound decisions.