Health & Nutrition | Dogs | Cats | September 11, 2013

Get the scoop on pet food with this quick 101

A woman walking in a pet food store

Early fall is often associated with a return to the classroom. So as we help our kids delve back into history, math and geography, it’s also a great time to consider expanding our own knowledge.

Why not start with something they don’t teach in school, but which will be a big help to many of us – a little pet food 101.

Our Health and Nutrition Specialist, Michele Dixon, says that a little knowledge is gold when it comes to choosing the right food for our pets, but that the learning shouldn’t stop there.

She offers this quick course to choosing, feeding and storing pet food:

  • To start, buy your pet food at a pet specialty retailer with knowledgeable staff who can help you find the right food for your cat or dog’s needs, based on their age, size, breed and activity level.
  • Don’t shop by price alone. Choose a pet food made with high quality ingredients like named meat meal (such as chicken meal and salmon meal) or market-fresh meats, veggies, fruits and berries. Need help? Check out our handy food selector at
  • Read pet food labels for serving size and transition guidelines. Higher quality pet foods can have higher energy values, so you can feed your pet less.
  • Choose a pet food dish made with a durable, non-porous material that’s easy to clean, won’t hold bacteria and can’t be chewed by your pet.
  • Use a dedicated serving scoop or spoon to serve out the recommended amount of food.
  • If there is no zip closure on the bag, squeeze as much air out and roll the bag down or store the food in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. Refrigerate or discard any uneaten wet or canned pet food right away.