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Feeding our pets is a fundamental part of ownership; a “no brainer” in terms of a pet owner’s responsibilities. Yet it is a fact that we take little time checking exactly what they need rather than what is simple, cheap or convenient.

dogs dinner
One problem with the pet food industry has to be that it advertises to owners rather than its consumers. How else can we have ended up in the position where cat food is flavoured with ‘ocean ‘ fish and combined with fresh vegetables and even in the supermarket this week I noticed, spinach.

Flavours dominate the adverts but for our pets it is ingredients that matter. Quality of ingredient is a major determinate of the cost of pet foods.
For dogs and cats this can be important for health reasons. Although true food allergies are rare, one benefit of buying a premium brand is that all the ingredients are consistently included. When cheaper foods are made only around 5% of any ingredient has to be included to call it by that flavour. The other 95% can vary due to whatever is cheapest in bulk that month. So an allergic dog may react to a food in one bag but not the next. For this reason we use strictly controlled diets to diagnose these patients.

Many conditions are treated with dietary management. Kidney disease is probably the most clinically well proven condition where diet forms the cornerstone of our treatment. In cats diagnosed with a lower grade of kidney disease, life expectancy can be doubled if a renal (kidney specific) diet is fed.

Realistically the best veterinary advise has to be to provide the best quality diet you can afford based on ingredients.

Article by Ben Hynes

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