Health & Nutrition | Dogs | Cats | October 29, 2020

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.

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. 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 meals (such as chicken meal and salmon meal) or market-fresh meats, veggies, fruits, and berries.
  • Read pet food labels for feeding guidelines. Higher quality pet foods can have higher energy values, so you can feed your pet less. Use feeding guidelines as a starting point and adjust the amount you feed to maintain an ideal body condition for your dog or cat.
  • Transition your pet to a new food slowly to help avoid digestive upset.

Read More: What is the best way to transition our pets to new foods

  • 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. Better yet, for more accuracy, weigh your pet’s daily ration.
  • If there is no zip or velcro closure on the bag, squeeze as much air out and roll the bag down or place the bag inside an airtight container. Always store pet food in a cool, dry place. Refrigerate or discard any uneaten wet or canned pet food right away.
  • Don’t pour your pet’s food out of the bag into a plastic storage container to store, unless you are going to wash and dry that container thoroughly in between each bag of food. Oils from the food can leech into the plastic and cause the food inside to go rancid if you don’t clean the container each time.

Read More: Pet food storage and safety

This blog was originally published on September 11 2013. Last revised October 29, 2020.