When it comes to pets, we always want to give them the best of everything.
However, the key to a healthy & happy pet is feeding them the right pet food.
But pets can’t read food labels. Can they?
So, it’s our responsibility to ensure nutritious food for our beloved pets.
The pet food industry has drastically grown in the recent years making $123 billion sales in 2022.
This growth resulted in the animal feed industry becoming crowded with thousands of animal feed brands.
As a result, picking out the right animal food can become really difficult.
Moreover, the best food on the market may not even be suitable for your pet.
Because which food would be good for your pet depends solely on the pet type, breed, and health condition.
Worried about choosing the right animal feed? Don’t worry!
This comprehensive pet food guide will tell you all about pet treats and foods.
Learn everything from essential nutrients and animal feed types to tips for picking out the best food brands.
So, let’s dive in to ensure your pet gets the nutrition it deserves!
What Is Pet Food?
Pet food also known as animal feed is food manufactured for domesticated pets.
These foods are specific to the pet animal you have. For example, dog food is completely different from cat food.
Moreover, pet foods are prepared according to the animal’s nutritional needs.
You’d normally find grain, meat, meat byproducts, vitamins, and minerals in animal foods.
Essential Nutrients in Pet Food
The foundation of good pet health is proper nutrition. The animal feed we give them impacts their overall well-being.
Everything depends on the right pet food, from immunity and digestion to energy and sleeping patterns.
However, the food you should choose mostly depends on the type of pet you have.
So, you have to ensure your pet’s food includes all essential nutrients.
The main nutrients include – proteins, minerals, vitamins, carbohydrates, and lipids.
If the animal feed lacks any one of these nutrients, your pet will suffer both physically and mentally.
Protein is the main nutrient required in your pet’s diet. Pets require a lot of protein to stay healthy, especially energetic animals like cats and dogs.
Check out the importance of protein in your pet’s diet:
- Protein is the main source of energy in animal feed.
- Also, it promotes sound growth and healing.
- Therefore, it is more important for growing puppies, kittens, pregnant animals, and sick or weak pets.
- Moreover, Additionally, this nutrient maintains and improves the muscle mass of your pet.
- In addition, protein generates all the vital enzymes needed for metabolic processes.
- That’s not all, to maintain strong immunity, your pet needs to eat the right amount of protein.
So, you have to ensure the animal feed you give to your pet is fulfilling the need of all the amino acids required for them.
Minerals are known as macronutrients.
No matter how much protein or carb your pet eats, if the food lacks minerals, it will surely fall ill.
Animal feed must include essential minerals like calcium, sodium, potassium, magnesium, iron, zinc, and iodine.
Learn how minerals in animal feed help your pet:
- First of all, minerals keep your pet’s skin healthy.
- Moreover, this nutrient is essential for proper bone development.
- In addition, the proper amount of minerals helps maintain good thyroid levels.
- That’s not all, antioxidant activities and RBC production also depend on these nutrients.
- Lastly, metabolic processes such as ossification, energy conversion, and cell ion equilibrium maintenance depend on minerals.
However, excess minerals in animal feed can lead to many digestive problems in pets. Therefore, you’ve to be cautious about how much minerals the animal feed contains.
Your pet’s diet must also include vitamins. If the food doesn’t meet the proper vitamin needs, add vitamin supplements to pet food.
So, the best cat food and dog food would be those that contain the essential vitamins.
Check out how vitamins in cat and dog food help them:
- Vitamins promote red blood cell synthesis.
- These nutrients also regulate phosphorus and calcium metabolism.
- Also, they ensure overall metabolic well-being and illness prevention.
- Another great benefit of vitamins is that it protects pets from cell oxidation.
- What’s more, free radical neutralization, sebum production, and hormones are controlled by vitamins.
Therefore, your dog’s kibble should contain all the crucial vitamins like vitamins A, B2, C, D, and E.
The animal feed should include carbohydrates because crabs are the primary source of dietary fiber in pet food.
So, if you don’t ensure enough carbs in your pet’s diet, their body will use up the amino acids.
Carbohydrate is essential to:
- Give your pets enough energy to run around
- Support a healthy digestive system
- Also, fuels pets’ brain, kidneys, and nervous system.
Lipids or more popularly known as fats and oils, are a vital part of a pet’s diet.
Even though protein and carbs help in producing energy, fat is the main source of energy for cats and dogs.
Learn how lipid helps your pets:
- First of all, lipid oxidation creates energy.
- Some fatty acids act as the building block of hormones.
- Additionally, fats help develop neural and metabolic pathways.
- What’s more, lipids also increase vitamin absorbency in pets.
- Furthermore, your pet’s immune system is protected by lipids.
Types of Pet Food
Pet or animal food comes in several varieties with different tastes. However, no matter which type of pet food you choose, the focus should be on your pet’s nutritional needs.
The most common pet food types are:
- Dry Food
- Canned or Wet Food
- Semi-moist Food
- Homemade Food
- Raw Food
Most pet owners know dry dog food as kibble. Dry foods are possibly the least expensive and most popular type of pet food.
However, while choosing kibble, you must ensure it includes all the essential nutrients. What’s more, dry kibble keeps your pet’s teeth healthy.
Canned or Wet Food
The second most popular animal feed is known as canned, wet, or moist food. You can easily find them in supermarkets, and they come with long shelf lives.
On top of that, most pets love eating wet food. Also, this type of pet food contains high amounts of protein.
But canned cat food and dog food are more expensive than dry ones. Additionally, not all wet food will contain the same nutritional benefits. So, read the labels carefully.
When shopping for animal feed, you’ll find foods shaped like burgers, pork chops, or other meats. These are traditionally called semi-moist food.
However, these are low in nutritional value and high in artificial flavors. Hence, veterinarians recommend pet owners avoid this type of food.
Some pet owners prefer having control over what they’re feeding their pets. A homemade diet allows them to ensure pets are getting all the essential nutrients.
However, preparing homemade dog food is an expensive and time-consuming task. Also, you need to be knowledgeable about pet nutritional needs before you start making homemade animal feed.
Raw pet food includes raw meat, plants, vegetables, beans, insects, etc. However, raw dog food should only include raw bones and meat. These could be a great source of phosphorus and calcium.
However, you must consult your vet before transitioning to raw dog food.
Choosing the Right Pet Food
Choosing the right pet food is more important than you might think.
Eating food lacking in nutritional value or with artificial flavors for a long time can lead to serious health conditions in pets.
So, how to choose the right animal food?
Each pet may have unique dietary needs. You have to find out your pet’s needs and choose food according to those.
However, here are the most crucial factors you must consider while choosing pet food:
- Determine Your Pets Nutrients Needs
- Check the Ingredients List
- Research Before Purchasing
- Avoid Going Overboard with Ingredients
- Consider Pet’s Age
- Compare Serving Sizes
Determine Your Pets Nutrients Needs
Too much of anything can become harmful, even if it’s a good thing. Similarly, an excessive amount of nutrients can be dangerous to pets.
So, you must ensure all the nutrients are present in a proper ratio in animal feed.
However, the nutrient needs will vary depending on your pet’s age, breed, dietary restrictions, and health issues.
So, how to identify the unique needs of your pet?
- The best thing to do ins this case is to consult a vet.
- Also, a pet care specialist can assess your pet and give you the full nutritional profile of your pet.
- They will perform physical tests and ask about previous eating habits to create this profile.
- Once you get this profile, giving the right pet food will become much easier.
Check the Ingredients List
After you learn the nutritional needs of your pet, you have to buy food that matches those needs.
For this, you must always check the ingredient lists of packaged pet products.
- Read the ingredient list to make sure it includes all necessary nutrients.
- Also, you must understand the ingredient list in pet food packets.
- Usually, animal food lists a mix of chicken, fish, or beef as the main protein ingredients.
- If you find meal written instead of meat, don’t get confused. Dehydrated and processed protein is called a meal.
- However, some wet cat food also includes unprocessed chicken or beef as protein.
- Herbivore pets survive on healthy fibers. So, check for high-fiber ingredients such as alfalfa.
- Moreover, make sure the nutrient ratio is suitable for your pet.
- Last but not least, check if it includes any ingredient your pets are allergic to.
Research Before Purchasing
Always do proper research before purchasing animal food.
Just spend a day searching on Google, and you’ll find out tons of information about your pet’s required food type.
However, make sure the information you are accepting comes from a trustworthy source.
There are pet care associations and veterinarian websites that provide helpful information about pet food and nutrients.
Avoid Going Overboard with Ingredients
You might think the pet food that has the most ingredients is the most nutritious. But that’s not true at all.
Vets, on the other hand, recommend going for animal feed with a simpler ingredient list.
Along with making it easier for your pet’s digestion, it also keeps them safe from too many processed additives.
Consider Pet’s Age
Another thing to consider while buying pet food is your pet’s age. You’ll find animal feed labels specified for baby, adult, and senior pets.
Moreover, food manufactured for puppies will not meet your adult dogs’ health needs.
So, make sure you are buying food that’s appropriate for your pet’s life stage.
For example, while puppy food contains a high concentration of protein, food made for senior dogs includes nutrients like glucosamine. Why?
Protein helps promote healthy growth in kittens and puppies.
Additionally, glucosamine is needed for preserving joint health in older dogs.
Compare Serving Sizes
Once you’ve chosen the brand you’re going for, compare the serving sizes.
This is important because food that recommends smaller serving sizes is usually more potent in nutrients.
So, you’ll need to feed less amounts to your pet, and the food will last longer.
However, if you buy a huge bag of kibble with a large serving size, it’ll only last a few days.
Because your dogs will be eating more every day.
Top Pet Foods You Should Check Out
Along with proper pet supplies, grooming, and training, your pets need to have nutritious food every day.
Animal food varies depending on your pet’s age, activity level, and health. Moreover, cats and dogs have different dietary needs than other pets.
We’ve listed the top pet food companies in US to aid you in finding the right pet food for your beloved animal.
- Royal Canin
- The Farmer’s Dog
- Hills Science Diet
- Just Food for Dogs
Royal Canin could be a great option if you want to keep your pet’s diet diverse.
They offer the most diverse dog food options in the pet food industry.
What’s more, you’ll get both wet and dry dog food for different ages and breeds of dogs.
Royal Canin is known as the top dog food brand because:
- All their food is veterinarian tested.
- Also, the food is lower in fat.
- They offer food for specific dietary restrictions.
- Moreover, it includes omega-3 and fish oil fatty acids.
- In addition, their dog food contains prebiotics for maintaining good gut bacteria.
- So you’ll find the right pet food, even for food-sensitive dogs.
- That’s not all, Royal Canin has dog food for pets with gastrointestinal issues.
The Farmers Dog
If you want to avoid shopping for pet food every month, the Farmers Dog is a great choice.
This subscription-based pet food company delivers fresh animal feed to your doors every month.
- The Farmer’s Dog is the best subscription dog food.
- Their food is more palatable than dry kibble.
- It removes the hassle of monthly or weekly trips to pet food stores.
Hills Science Diet
Hills Science Diet is especially famous for its puppy foods. They offer dry and canned food for dogs for up to one year.
Moreover, you can choose from 4.5 to 15.5-pound food bags. That’s not all:
- They offer the best pet food for puppies.
- Also, their kibble formula is easy to digest for puppies.
- Hills Science Diet includes DHA for healthy eye & brain development.
- In addition, your pets will get vitamins E and C for a better immune system.
Purina has been a trusted animal feed brand for pet owners for decades.
Pet owners dealing with allergy-sensitive dogs especially love this brand of pet food.
What’s more, Purina offers food for dogs of all breeds, sizes, and ages.
So, you will find food suitable for both your puppy and the adult dog.
Check out what else makes Purina a top dog food brand:
- Good for both puppies and large breeds of dogs.
- They include high-protein salmon for more nutrition.
- Moreover, your pets get omega-6 fatty acids for healthy skin.
- In addition, prebiotic and probiotic fiber improves the immune & digestive systems.
- Purina also offers food excluding allergy-provoking ingredients like soy, wheat, and corn.
Many dogs are allergic to poultry like chicken and turkey. Giving them dry food with these protein sources can cause life-threatening allergy attacks.
But Merrick offers poultry-free dry pet food for dogs.
If your dog suffers from digestive sensitivities, you can try Merrick’s poultry alternatives.
Many pet owners love this brand for their dogs. Moreover:
- Merrick is the best poultry-free dry dog food brand.
- Best for pets that can’t digest poultry.
- They use salmon as an alternative protein source.
- What’s more, they ensure allergy-free safe pet food.
- Additionally, eating Merrick dry food relieves digestive issues.
Just Food for Dogs
Want to incorporate frozen dog food into your pet’s diet? Just Food for Dogs
offer a variety of fresh and frozen meals.
Also, this is a great brand to consider if your pets have higher weight because they offer animal feed that is nutritious but low in calories.
- Good for stomach-sensitive pets.
- All food is made from fresh, locally produced ingredients.
- You’ll find high-protein and low-calorie food for helping heavier weight pets.
- Moreover, there are poultry-free options available with fish and veggies.
- What’s more, the frozen food doesn’t include any preservatives.
Where to Find the Best Pet Food in USA?
Your pet’s health and lifespan highly depend on the food they eat every day.
However, with hundreds of animal food brands swarming the industry, it can be overwhelming to choose one.
In addition, finding an authentic product can be a struggle too.
Now that you’ve learned the top pet food brands in USA. Let’s check out where you can buy that food from.
You can buy animal food online or from physical stores. Also, most physical shops have online pet food delivery services.
Here are the best pet food stores in USA:
Pet food online
Most pet owners buy pet food online as its more convenient. Also, online food stores hold the most variety of animal feed.
Besides, there is the obvious benefit of receiving the food right at your doorstep.
Pet food online & in-store
The most popular stores offer both online and in store shopping experience. You can visit the shops physically or order from their online stores.
Pet food in-store
Some pet food stores don’t offer online shopping. In addition, these stores don’t have stores all over the country.
So, you’ve to make sure the store you’ve chose in available in your area.
Once you adopt a pet and bring them home, they depend entirely on you for their health and well-being.
The first responsibility of a responsible pet parent is to ensure the right pet food.
However, which food would suit your pet depends entirely on them.
This comprehensive pet food guide has equipped you with all the knowledge required to find the right pet food.
But consulting your vet before starting a new pet diet is always necessary.
They’ll help you understand your beloved pet’s diet and health needs.
So, next time you want to buy pet food online or from stores, utilize the tips you found here to choose the best pet food.
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