How to Choose Healthy Cat Food Brands

by johnsmith

How to Choose Healthy Cat Food Brands – When it comes to selecting a food for your feline friend, the choices can seem overwhelming. With an ever-expanding selection of brands and styles available, it can feel nearly impossible to choose the best option for your cat.

How to Choose Healthy Cat Food Brands

So, what should you be looking for in your cat’s food? How can you be confident that you are providing a healthy diet?

Here are some healthy ingredients to look for:

  • A protein source other than meat
  • Ingredients that are low in starch
  • Ingredients recommended by the Association of American Feed Control Officers (AAFCO)

Basic Nutritional Needs for Cats

Cats are considered obligate carnivores, meaning their diet must include animal protein to meet their nutritional needs. This is because they are unable to efficiently synthesize the amino acid taurine from other nutrients, and need to obtain it from their food. Taurine is found only in animal proteins, meaning a vegetarian diet is unhealthy for cats.

A diet lacking in taurine can lead to serious heart disease in cats, such as dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). In recent years, researchers have linked taurine deficiency with central retinal degeneration and reproductive failure.

Cat Food Labeling

The Association of American Feed Control Officers (AAFCO) provides recommendations for ideal diet compositions for different animals. However, pet food is regulated by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA). A manufacturer that adheres to AAFCO recommendations will have an AAFCO statement, or nutritional adequacy statement, on its bag or can of cat food.

How to Choose Healthy Cat Food Brands

This statement informs pet owners that the diet is complete and balanced for the specified life stage, meaning it contains all the necessary nutrients. AAFCO offers recommendations for different life stages, including growth/kittens, adult/maintenance, and all life stages.

Diets can either be formulated or undergo feeding trials. Formulated diets include a minimum of species-specific nutrient requirements (rather than ingredients) necessary to provide adequate nutrition and development in animals, while feeding trails demonstrate a diet’s overall healthiness through clinical studies with a set group of animals.

A Word on Ingredients

Pet food companies often list ingredients in descending order of weight. Though whole meats are often listed first, meat meal, chicken meal and similar derivatives can actually be more protein-dense after moisture has been removed, and may contain additional nutrients such as glucosamine. Though a pet food with meat as the first ingredient may seem like a healthy option, it’s important to look at the subsequent ingredients on the list. Pet food companies may also list a whole source ingredient as separate items, breaking up “corn” into “corn meal” or “corn gluten meal” for example, which can affect where it appears on the ingredient list.

Canned Food vs. Kibble

There is a debate over whether to feed a cat dry kibble or canned food. Dry food is a cost-effective option that allows for “free choice” feeding. However, complete and balanced canned diets have a moisture content of 75%, providing a good source of water for cats. Yet, some cats may reduce their water intake when eating canned food, and canned food lacks a hard surface for cats to chew on which may negatively affect dental health.

How to Choose Healthy Cat Food Brands

Grain Free vs. Grain Containing

Grain-free diets have grown in popularity, but they pose health risks for pets. Recently, an increased number of pets have developed diet-related dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) after consuming grain-free, boutique, or exotic diets. Though grain-free diets are marketed as ‘premium’ and ‘holistic,’ these terms are not regulated by AAFCO.

Raw Diets

Raw diets have become more popular in recent years, but there’s limited scientific evidence to support their benefits. More concerningly, the risk of exposure to pathogenic bacteria from raw diets is a real possibility.

Choosing a healthy diet for your cat can be challenging given the vast number of options in the market. Factors like life stage, AAFCO statement, and ingredient composition are all aspects to consider. Consult with your veterinarian to determine the dietary needs of your furry friend.

Is it safe for dogs to eat cat food?

In general, it is not recommended for dogs to eat cat food regularly because cat food is higher in protein and fat content, which can lead to health issues such as obesity and pancreatitis in dogs. However, if a dog accidentally eats a small amount of cat food, it is usually not harmful.

Can cat food make my dog sick?

Yes, if a dog eats cat food regularly, it can cause digestive issues such as vomiting, diarrhea, and pancreatitis. Additionally, cat food may not contain all of the necessary nutrients that dogs need for their overall health and well-being.

Why do dogs like to eat cat food?

Cat food has a stronger smell and flavor than dog food due to its higher protein and fat content. Dogs may find it more appealing and tastier than their own food.

What should I do if my dog ate cat food?

If your dog accidentally ate a small amount of cat food, monitor them for any signs of digestive issues such as vomiting, diarrhea, or lethargy. However, if your dog ate a large amount of cat food or shows any concerning symptoms, it is best to consult with your veterinarian.

Can feeding my dog cat food lead to nutritional deficiencies?

Yes, cat food is formulated specifically for cats, and it may not contain all of the necessary nutrients that dogs need for their overall health and well-being. Feeding your dog cat food regularly can lead to nutritional deficiencies, which can have long-term health consequences for your pet.

What are some signs that my dog is experiencing digestive issues after eating cat food?

Signs of digestive issues in dogs include vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, lethargy, and abdominal pain. If your dog exhibits any of these symptoms after eating cat food, it is best to consult with your veterinarian to determine the underlying cause and appropriate treatment.

Related Posts

Leave a Comment