FurWell Family Focus Vol 9

The Art of Selecting The Right Diet 

8/21/23 Volume 9

Nurturing Your Pet’s Wellness: The Art of Selecting the Right Diet 

Hey there, fellow pet parents! 

At FurWell, we are all about giving your furry friend the best, and that starts at home  with proper nutrition. Ensuring your pet’s diet is complete, balanced, and fits their life stage is like giving them a daily dose of love and health.Just as with us, food is the gateway to health and longevity.  But sometimes there is nothing more confusing than trying to navigate the pet food isles. Don’t worry, I have your back and will try to help you navigate the puzzling world of pet food.  

Let’s break it down with 5 super simple steps you can take to help pick the pawfect diet for your fur baby! Grab your pet’s food bag and lets get down to business.  

Step 1. The Back Label: Your Pet’s Nutritional Seal of Approval

ALL pet food must have an AAFCO statement on the back or side of the bag.  When you’re scanning those labels, keep an eye out for the magical words “Complete and balanced as a SOLE DIET” and “Animal feeding tests using AAFCO* standards”. This means the food has been put through clinical trials. Put simply, this diet has been researched in lab and has been shown to actually deliver the nutrients labeled on the bag.  Skip diets that say “formulated to meet” – they haven’t had the trial run in the lab and are simply made off a generic formula with no science behind them. ?And make sure the diet matches your pet’s age group, whether they’re a bouncy pup, a well trained adult, or a slowing down senior.

Step 2. Don’t be Fooled by the Guaranteed Analysis Numbers

Don’t let those numbers and percentages stress you out! The Guaranteed Analysis isn’t the whole story. It’s the nutrients hiding in those ingredients that count. So, don’t be fooled by percentages alone. Just because a food has a high protein percentage does not mean the protein is quality or even usable by your dog’s body – it simply states that it is there! That is why I default to a diet that has undergone “Animal Feeding Tests” because I know the input and output of the diet has been tested and can be trusted.

Step 3. Ingredients: It’s All About the Good Stuff 

The ingredient list may seem like a secret code, but it doesn’t spill the beans on quality. What matters most is the nutrients that come with those ingredients. Remember that ingredients are listed in order from highest amount to lowest amount. Things listed after the vitamins are more than likely in such small quantities that they provide no nutritional benefit and are simply added so manufactures can market that the diet contains the ingredient.  

Grains are absolutely A-OK for your furry friend. In fact, new data reveals that pets on a grain free diet are at a much higher risk of heart disease! ?And don’t fall into the trap that grain-free diets cause less allergies in pets – MOST allergies come from proteins like chicken, turkey, or beef, NOT the grains. Only 15% of allergies are caused by food; of those 80% are due to chicken, turkey, or beef proteins.  Only 4% are wheat allergies and only 2% are corn allergies. 

And by the way, byproducts are TOTALLY fine – the word byproduct means something different in the human food world.  Byproducts in dog and cat diets simply refers to the presence of organ meat and blood… something pets would normally eat in the wild but marketers do not want you to know that. Sneaky, right? 

A couple more points to know when looking at the ingredients:  

  1. Any vegetables or miscellaneous ingredients after the vitamins and minerals are PURELY marketing because there isn’t enough within the diet to be beneficial
  2. Some manufactures split ingredients by listing all the carbohydrates (corn, rice, barley, wheat, or oatmeal) as separate ingredients so each ingredient appears lower on the ingredient list to hide a much higher overall carbohydrate level.

Step 4. Cracking the Front Label Code 

Don’t let fancy terms like “Dinner” or “Entrée” on the front label fool you. They are fluff terms used to appeal to the buyer.  In fact, there really is only one word that is regulated by AAFCO and that is the word “Natural”.  Natural means it cannot contain any chemically synthesized ingredients except vitamins and minerals.  But be careful trusting the words “Organic,” “Human-Grade,” “Premium,” and “Holistic” – they’re not regulated by AAFCO and can mean just about anything in the pet food world and do not need to be validated.  And beware the term organic, it does not refer to the quality of ingredients, it only describes how the plant or animal products were raised. 

Step 5.  Dig Deeper to Find the Best 

When you’re comparing diets, give those manufacturers a ring. ☎️ The ones worth their kibble have not one but two full-time nutritionists, a research and development crew, their own factories for cooking up their foods, and super strict quality control for everything – ingredients, end products, how long things last on the shelf – you name it.  

But what about the voluntary food recalls you see for certain brands, isn’t that bad?  

In the pet food world, manufactures are not under the same guidelines as in the human side.  Because of this, diets are not required to be tested on a regular basis for safety or contamination…these are all voluntary by the company.  So if a company has never had a recall, probability is they are not spending the money to have their food routinely screened and tested.  So voluntary recalls are actually a thumbs-up because they mean a company is serious about their standards and checks things regularly. 


So, that was a brief primer into the basics of pet nutrition.  I hope it gave you a little clarity into the confusing world of pet nutrition.  If you have further questions, just let me know.    

DID YOU KNOW:  You can get your Purina and Science Diet foods delivered straight to your door from FurWell.  Send us a text and Caroline can get you all set up for the at home feeding program!

Warm Regards! ❤️

Dr. Tyler

Thought for the Week: A family vet clinic is a handcrafted, artisanal cake made with love by mom, while a corporate corporate vet office is the dry, plain, flavorless store-bought cupcake that nobody really wants unless they are desperate! 

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