Increasingly us humans are seeing the benefits of a diet high in protein and healthy fats, with research showing 58% of consumers are looking for low carb alternatives (New Nutrition Business December, 2018). Our dogs also benefit from a high meat, low carbohydrate, and grain-free diet but many pet parents don't really know what is in the food they are giving their pets.
Meat Mates is challenging all pet parents to flip the pack of their pet’s current food, dive into the ingredients list and see if they are feeding the correct nutrition their pets need and crave to live their best lives.
Our pets deserve to have access to the nutrition they need and crave. To help ensure you are providing your pet with a healthy diet, Kathryn Reeves, Meat Mates in-house Nutrition & Technical Manager, has created a 5-step checklist.
5 steps to ensure you are providing your pet with a healthy diet
1. Real Meat
Meat doesn’t always mean ‘real’ meat. Animal meals are often added to offer a meaty flavour without the nutritional benefits. Real meat is always best, packed with real protein that nutritionally serves your pet. Watch out for animal meal, or fish meal which will provide a source of protein but won’t be as high in protein as real meat. Both meals are made from slaughterhouse and fish factory remnants which are processed under high heat and dehydrated into a powdery substance. Fish meal is usually low in omega fatty acids as the oil is pressed out and the fish used is rancid. At Meat Mates we source 100% of our meat from New Zealand grass-fed, free-range meat, cage free chicken. Each product is traceable from farm gate to your pet’s plate. Our products only include real meat – no meals, or other animal proteins are included in our recipes.
2 No additives
Additives or' minor ingredients’ are used to ensure the stability and palatability of the product to the pet. They are also used for food safety such as resistance to spoilage and maintaining desirable features such as pet food colour - but they add no real nutritional value. If there’s unnecessary ingredients added, they might just be there to bulk out the food. How much nutritional value do you think a gelling agent adds? Healthy fats from a diet high in real meat offer the meaty texture our pets love, with the added nutritional benefits of healthy skin, coat, and digestive function. Win-win!
3. Read the label
Clean eating for pets means whole foods without any or least amount of additives. A wholistic raw food diet is defined as meat, bones, vegetables and organ meats. This is enhanced with healthy supplements such as vitamins, essential fatty acids, probiotics, kelp, alfalfa powder and various herbs. Some foods for dogs are toxic, which eaten regularly can lead to long term health problems. Foods to avoid include onions, garlic, artificial sweeteners, alcohol, cheese with moulds, macadamia nuts, chocolate, sultanas, and grapes. Don’t just take the flavour variant on the front of pack as a vouch for the back. Flip the product over and peruse the ingredient list. Are they ingredients you understand? The same philosophy we use on human labels applies: Simple label = Clean Dinner.
4. Is it complete and balanced?
If a product is a complete and balanced diet, it’ll say. This means the diet you’re feeding not only fills them up, but meets all the specific nutrients your pet needs to live their best life. If a product is ‘complete and balanced for all life stages’ this means it’s suitable for your Puppy and kitten as well.
5. Treat them right
We use treats as a way of showing our love for our pet, but is the treat loving them back? Look for limited ingredients so you can keep a close eye on what your dog is ingesting and packed with protein for a treat that’s both delicious and nutritious. Some healthy snacks for your dog include apple slices, baby carrots, and sweet potatoes. You can even spread a little bit of peanut butter on these too