How to Choose a “Safe” Pet Food

Stories about pet food recalls, tainted treats and the growing pet obesity problem in the U.S. have swarmed the news this year leaving pet owners to wonder, “What should I feed my pets?”

When it comes to choosing the right pet food, our doctors make these recommendations:

1. Always consult with your family veterinarian about what you should be feeding your pet.

2. Review the list of ingredients and ensure you understand what it means in relation to the nutritional content your pet will be receiving. (Visit BluePearl’s article Pet Food Labels – How to Read Them)

3. Make sure you choose a brand that uses quality ingredients. It will be worth it in the long run to provide your furry friend with a quality diet.

4. Whatever you and your family veterinarian decide, make sure you stick to proper portions and avoid giving table scraps that can throw off their diet. Like humans, many health problems in pets can be avoided with a proper diet.

5. If your pet appears on the heavier side or is gaining weight, talk with your family veterinarian about adjusting the portions or obtaining a prescription food. Also like humans, diet and exercise will lead to a healthier pet and a longer life.

6. Some people may choose to prepare home-made meals for their pets. Make sure you have consulted with your family veterinarian to ensure you’re using certain ingredients that will provide the right amount of nutrition for your pet to promote a healthy lifestyle.

7. An uncooked, raw diet can result in gastrointestinal problems for your pet due to the potential presence of bacteria like salmonella.

    Even with all of these considerations, your pet may reject the selected food or be allergic to the food you choose. Signs of dietary upset include abdominal pain, dehydration, diarrhea, increased thirst, lethargy, vomiting, or blood in vomit or stool.

    “Most importantly, we want pet owners to develop a good relationship with their family veterinarians,” said Dr. Neil Shaw, chief medical officer of BluePearl Veterinary Partners. “Anytime they have a question or concern regarding the health of their pet, pet owners should ask their family veterinarian. That is what they are there for.”