I have been working at North Town Veterinary Hospital for over 7 years and over that time I have sold A LOT of pet food. Doctors and technicians would choose diets for each individual pet but how much did I know about what was in the food I was selling? It turns out there was a lot I did not know about!
The management team at North Town encourages all team member to learn more about the product we sell and so I did.
Here’s my new ‘Scoop on Food’
Great way to explain
Pets don’t require ingredients, they require nutrients.
This is to state that just because a pet food diet may have the best, top of the line, all natural ingredients does not mean the right amount of nutrients are there.
Ingredient list by weight
Yes, the ingredient list goes by weight starting from the highest. BUT… How much do you really read into it?
Did you know that some companies break up ingredients into their smaller parts so that they appear lower on the ingredients list?
That means that a company may have ‘Corn’ list third on their ingredient list where another may have ‘Corn Wheat’ list 5th, ‘Corn Gluten Meal’ listed 8th and ‘Corn Bran’ listed 10th. Even though the total amount of corn is in both diets are the same, the second diet would ‘appear’ to have less.
Also remember, the amount of moisture/water in the ingredient the heavier it will be. If chicken is first on the ingredient list, you have to think about if it is a chicken breast weighed raw.
The Corn Myth: To digest or not to digest….
Corn IS DIGESTABLE! Each kernel of corn is protected on the cob by a army shell. Once broken down in the process of making food (or chewed) all of the great nutrients in corn, like fatty acids and Vitamin E, are able to be digested and can be a key component to the overall nutrition of the food.
We all fall for it ‘fat free’ ‘low carbs’ ‘calorie wise’, all these labels may seem great but did you know they could mean nothing at all?
When looking for a weight control diet, the only ‘labels’ that matter are ‘LITE’ and ‘LIGHT’, only these two words are approved and guaranteed to meet specific calorie amounts.
A big concern with at home cooking and ‘raw’ diets is something called ‘Recipe Drift’. This is referring to a recipe made so often that you begin to stop measuring each ingredient. This can cause a shift in the nutrients you are providing your pet. Just because you have the right ingredients does not mean you have the right nutrients.
Another concern with raw diets is the risk to humans. Bacterial contamination with salmonella is not anything to take lightly. There is always a higher risk to humans when feeding pets a raw diet.
AAFCO Food Trials
An AAFCO food trial has specific requirements, such as the amount of cats (or dogs) that the food is tried with. Food sold in pet’s stores and other ‘grocery’ type stores (without the AAFCO lable) do not have these trials done. That means that the food in that bag may have never had a trial with actual animals.
Pet foods labeled ‘Formulated’ have no required testing to determine if the ingredients used are digestible in cats or dogs.
Do you get what you pay for?
While cost is always a concern, when looking at pricing of different foods, a diet sold at Veterinary clinics that have the AAFCO seal of approval will, a lot of the time, cost less than those Natural and Holistic Diets sold in the pets stores, plus you will get the added bonus of knowing those Veterinary diets have been trialed and are guaranteed.
Veterinary Hospitals, such as North Town, carry diets that they can count on and believe in.