The dog/cat food your pet eats effects his or her life. A lot of problems come from poor diet, and are easily solved by simple changes to your pets diet. A lot of non-specific pet problems like itching and dander are most likely food related. How about explosive pet poop? Could be food related. A proper diet is essential to keep your pet running like a well oiled machine.
This easy to read nutrition guide will help you maintain your pets happiness, and prevent you from taking unecessary trips to the vet.
First, the basics of Pet nutrition -
The best thing to do when looking into pet food is to look at the most basic of ingredients - a lot of foods are actually packed full of allergens (which your pet may be allergic to, thus having bad reactions to it). When you shop for pet foods, the first thing you need to do is check the bag of food and look at the nutritional information. If you see 'corn" or 'By-Product', do not buy it.
A list of ingredients to AVOID -
Corn - it is undigestable to your dog or cat. Corn is used in pet food as a cheap, low quality filler. It has no nutritional value, and passes straight through your pet in the form of additional waste. It's actually a very common allergen in cats and dogs.
By-product - Some by-products are more harmful than others, all by-products are an unreliable source of protein from meat. What might be in your by-product food is horse remains, diseased livestock, roadkill, euthenised animals, feathers, feet, and waste. Your animal wouldn't necessarily eat this type of food in the wild. By products usually have a high amount of chemical traces (like phenobarbital) and meat rendered but tainted with poison and bacteria. The 'filler' could easily be replaced with cleaner and healthier ingredients that are safe to your pet.
Peanut Hulls & mill run - Essentially this is what they sweet up off the floor in the processing plants. All sorts of crap like peanut shells, and whatever people have dropped on the floor on the job. It's a big no-no.
Wheat & wheat gluten - Just another allergen. Has the same basic problem as corn.
A list of ingredients look for -
Whole meats like chicken, turkey, bison, venison - you'll get exactly what it claims you are getting. Whole meat is clean, contains no internal organs, and are way easier for your dog or cat to digest.
Fruits and Veggies - Fresh blueberries, apples, sweet potatoes. These are all ground up in the food for added nutrients. Fibre is good!
Meals - Chicken meal, fish meal, turkey meal are all just dehydrated 'whole' products. They contain calcium. It is a little bit more difficult to digest, but is way cleaner and safer than by-product.
Oatmeal & Fish - Oats are highly digestible and really good for soothing upset pet tummies. These ingredients are typically found in higher volume in sensitive stomach formulas and are included in some premium foods. Flaxseed oils are great for the skin and a healthy coat.