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 can also benefit from a high meat, low carbohydrate, and grain-free diet. However, many pet parents don’t really know what is in the food they are feeding 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 their pets the correct nutrition to live their best lives.
5 Steps to Providing Your Fur Pal With a Healthy Pet Diet
Certainly, our pets deserve to have access to the nutrition they need and crave. To help ensure pet parents are providing their pets with a healthy diet, Kathryn Reeves, Meat Mates in-house Nutrition & Technical Manager, has created a 5-step checklist.
1. Choose Real Meat
‘Meat’ doesn’t always mean ‘real’ meat. Animal meals are often added to offer a meaty flavour without the nutritional benefits of actual meat. 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.
2. Look for 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 with the least 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. When eaten regularly this 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. Check it is 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 also 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. Use Treats Wisely
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. Feed your pet treats that are packed with protein, so that it’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.
How do you ensure you’re feeding your furry friend a healthy pet diet?
Want to know more about feeding your pet a healthy diet? Check out these related posts:
- How to transition your dog from processed food to a more natural diet?
- What human foods are healthy for dogs? (And which aren’t?)
- Trending superfoods your dog will love
- Is a grain-free diet better for pets?