Learn about the different types of food available for pets and how natural pet food may be your best option.
There are many different types of foods you can choose from to feed your pet. You’ll want make your choices carefully to be sure that your dog or cat is getting enough nutrients to keep it healthy and strong, and also enough daily calories to fuel its energy throughout the day while maintaining a healthy weight.
Though many food products are manufactured and the use of commercialized pet food is widespread, most of these foods are processed and knowing how they’re made and what is in them is important so you can craft a healthy diet geared toward the individual needs of your pet. Here are some of the most commonly used types of pet food and how they’re made.
Dry food or Kibbles
Kibbles are small pellets of dried food. Kibbles are manufactured in a couple different ways, but are essentially pieces of compressed food or dough that are either baked or heated with steam until they pop and solidify into their pellet form. Kibbles are advantageous because they are typically inexpensive and can store a lot more nutrients than wet canned food. Water constitutes about 75% of canned food, while it only takes up about 6% of the compressed kibbles. The nutrients and fats in kibbles, however, are typically sprayed on after the pellets are baked, so excessive heat or amount of time exposed to air can cause these nutrients to either dissipate or even go bad and spoil.
Wet Food or Canned Food
Wet food has some advantages as well, particularly storage without spoiling. Wet food typically has higher protein levels than canned food does, but overall usually is a lesser source of nutrients, vitamins and minerals than its dry kibble counterpart.
Wet food is not necessarily any more natural than dry food—many brands will even use protein gels and soy to simulate the look of real pieces of meat, but they are typically processed as well.
Many owners have taken a more natural approach to feeding their pets and go with a raw diet that’s built around what their animals would naturally eat in the wild. Many of these diet choices are available at health food stores or highly organic outlets of local produce. Some manufacturers even make prepackaged fresh meals that they either keep raw or lightly cook for pets prior to sealing them in airtight packaging. These foods are more expensive and have a much shorter shelf life, but they are very nutritious for dogs.
Raw foods consist of meat, either on or off the bone, raw eggs and the like. Owners who choose to go this route and do not cook the pet’s meat should be sure they are purchasing raw dog food and not just meat off the supermarket shelves. The acceptable level of bacteria within the raw meat at grocery stores for humans is about 15 times higher than what’s acceptable for dogs, as the grocery store meat is intended to be cooked and not eaten raw. Owners must always be wary of food-borne bacteria that can cause serious disease, illness or death in foods not intended for a raw diet.
Natural Pet Food
Many pet owners have found that the best approach is to look into the various options for natural pet food. These options grant one of the safest approaches to proper pet nutrition. You’ll be able to feed your pets with great confidence knowing that you’ll be helping them avoid harmful chemicals and artificial ingredients.