What to look for in pet food: is ‘human grade’ enough?
Make sure your best friend is getting the most out of their pet food.
The North American pet food sector is a multi-million-dollar industry, between new brands coming out and older brands getting updated ‘make-overs’, how is the average pet owner going to navigate on what truly is the best for Fido?
There are numerous things to consider, however, here are my top three:Ethical and Sustainable sourcing;
- Ethical and Sustainable sourcing;
As a lover of all animals, I want to make sure the meat that I’m feeding isn’t just quality, but rather, it had a quality of life, from start to finish. I want to know that the manufacturer is picky with sourcing, and only deals with suppliers who also want the best for their animals as well, from transport right up to time of slaughter. Look for the Certified Humane stamp on the bag and/or the Global Animal Partnership stamp. This insures that no only were the livestock raised in a stress-free environment with no growth hormones and antibiotics, but they were also slaughtered humanely as well.
Sustainable sourcing is also a key thing to look for, yes, we want the best for our pets but not at the expense of our planet. In regards to fish, look for companies who have the Ocean Wise as well as the Seafood Watch seals, this will insure that the manufacturer is supporting the health of our oceans by partnering with leaders in sustainable fishing practices. Third party testing is always important, it tells you that the manufacturer is taking those extra steps to ensure that there are not short-cuts taken and the end result is true quality. Support companies who care.
What the food contains;
2. What the food contains;
In this day and age, transparency is everything, the more transparent the manufacturer is with the entire manufacturing process the better assured you will be as an end consumer. Let’s first talk about protein, at the very low end of the pet food chain you will see ingredients listed as ‘meat’ or ‘meat by-products’, and unfortunately, anything goes for ‘meat’. I’m sure you would like to know at the very least what animal you are feeding your animal. The better companies out there not only source what the protein is, but where it’s coming from, for example, lamb from New Zealand. You would also want to avoid feeding foods that contain what I call ‘non-functional’ foods, some non-functional foods are; gluten, genetically modified foods (GMOs), high glycemic carbs such as; wheat, rice, sugar, corn, food colorings and the list goes on.
3. How it is processed;
Consider this, if I take a broccoli, batter it up and deep fry it, can I still claim it as a health food? For me a good ingredients list is not enough, I need to know how the end product is made. The less processing the better. Ideally, fresh whole balanced foods or foods with as minimal processing as possible is what to look for when shopping for pet food.
Hopefully by following these three tips the navigation through the pet food market will be a little easier for you when trying to decide the next best food for you four-legged family member, because if you love them like family, you’ll want to feed them like one too.
Lucy Jabrayan is the founder of Thrive4life Holistic Pet Food, and is passionate about helping many pet guardians turn to natural food and alternatives that work. Lucy also appears on pet segments and is a contributing writer to numerous publications. To learn more visit www.thrive4lifepetfood.com.