By Rachele Baker, DVM – One of the easiest ways to help keep your pet healthy is to feed him or her a high quality pet food. A high quality diet will provide your pet with the nutrients and vitamins they need to have a healthy immune system to enable them to fight potential infections. Ten Simple Ways To Keep Your Pet Healthy - Tip #1: Feed Your Pet A High Quality FoodThe right diet will help your pet avoid obesity with its associated health problems, support the health of his or her heart, kidneys, and other organs, support joint health, and give him or her a shiny, healthy haircoat. With all the different diets available, how do you decide which one to feed your pet? How do you know if a pet food is high quality?

Read the Ingredients list on the back of the bag or can.
All dog foods and cat foods must list the ingredients in their foods in order of weight. It is also important to note that the first ten ingredients in the ingredients list usually constitute eighty percent or more of a dry pet food.

Look for a pet food that has a first ingredient of real meat such as chicken, fish, or lamb in the ingredients list rather than meat by-products. Also check the ingredients list for whole grains such as brown rice, barley, or oats. Corn, wheat, and soy have been linked to allergic reactions in some dogs.

As an example, compare the first eighteen ingredients in the two Adult dry dog foods in the table below. The first and most important ingredient in the Blue Buffalo food is deboned chicken while the first ingredient in the leading brand is chicken by-product meal. Which would you rather feed your pet? Blue Buffalo is just one of several high quality dog and cat foods. Not all high quality diets will work for all pets. Some pets may prefer one brand over another. You may need to experiment to find a high quality food that your pet likes and they do well with.

Blue Buffalo
Life Protection Formula
Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe
for Adult Dogs

A Leading Brand

  •   Deboned Chicken
  •   Chicken Meal
  •   Whole Ground Brown Rice
  •   Whole Ground Barley
  •   Oatmeal
  •   Chicken Fat
  •   Peas
  •   Tomato Pomace
  •   Natural Chicken Flavor
  •   Whole Potatoes
  •   Flaxseed
  •   Alfalfa Meal
  •   Whole Carrots
  •   Whole Sweet Potatoes
  •   Blueberries
  •   Cranberries
  •   Barley Grass
  •   Dried Parsley
  •   Chicken By-Product Meal
  •   Corn Meal
  •   Ground Whole Grain Sorghum
  •   Ground Whole Grain Barley
  •   Fish Meal
  •   Chicken
  •   Chicken Fat
  •   Dried Beet Pulp
  •   Chicken Flavor
  •   Dried Egg Product
  •   Potassium Chloride
  •   Brewers Dried Yeast
  •   Salt
  •   Sodium Hexametaphosphate
  •   Fructooligosaccharides
  •   Fish Oil
  •   Calcium Carbonate
  •   Flax Meal

Remember that whenever you want to switch your pet to a new diet to gradually transition them to their new diet over a period of several days or longer. A rapid change in diet can cause your pet to get diarrhea or other digestive upset.

Choose a food that is appropriate for your pet’s stage of life. Puppies and kittens should be fed a high quality Puppy or Kitten diet until they are one year of age. Foods that state they are for “All Ages” are not appropriate for feeding to puppies or kittens. While puppies and kittens are growing, they have huge nutritional needs. They need more calories, protein, calcium, and other nutrients than adult dogs and cats. Adult dogs and cats between the ages of one and seven years should be fed an appropriate Adult diet. Once your dog or cat gets to be age seven, it is time to change their diet to a Senior diet.

Look at the table below to see an example of the differences in Puppy, Adult, and Senior dry dog foods. You will see that the amount of protein, fat, calcium, phosphorus, and calories are highest in the Puppy diet. The Senior diet has fewer calories since older dogs are less active. In this diet example, glucosamine and chondroitin have been added to the Senior diet for joint health since many senior dogs develop arthritis as they age.

Blue Buffalo
Life Protection Formula
Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe
for Puppies

Blue Buffalo
Life Protection Formula
Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe
for Adult Dogs

Blue Buffalo
Life Protection Formula
Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe
for Senior Dogs

Crude Protein      27.0% min
Crude Fat            16.0% min
Calcium                 1.3% min
Phosphorus           1.0% min
Crude Protein    24.0% min
Crude Fat          14.0% min
Calcium               1.0% min
Phosphorus         0.9% min
Glucosamin 400 mg/kg min
Crude Protein      18.0% min
Crude Fat              8.0% min
Glucosamine 400 mg/kg min
Chondroitin   300 mg/kg min

Calorie Content:
452 Kcals/cup

Calorie Content:
442 Kcals/cup

Calorie Content:
430 Kcals/cup

While it may be more expensive to buy a high quality food for your pet, the benefits will outweigh the cost. A healthier pet will be happier, live longer, and have fewer health issues requiring costly veterinarian visits. It is worth your investment of time and money to find a high quality diet appropriate for your pet’s stage of life and feed it to your pet consistently.

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