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Selecting a safe pet food

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Owners want to provide nutritious food for their pets, but deciding what to buy gets more confusing every day. Protein sources, carbohydrates, vitamins, and additives are just a start to the ingredients owners need to evaluate before selecting an appropriate diet for their pet. Pet food companies market food for specific age ranges, breeds, and activity levels. In addition to sifting through all this information it seems that all too often a product is recalled due to an unsafe ingredient.

The first place to go for nutrition information is the veterinarian’s office. General practice veterinarians can help owners to understand what levels of nutrients are best for a specific patient. In addition there are veterinary nutrition specialists that may be helpful. http://www.acvn.org/

Pet food is available in dry kibble, canned, and semi-moist forms. Many owners feed a combination of canned and dry. It is important to take into account all forms of food being offered when determining calories fed. Meal feeding a measured amount is the best way to ensure an accurate accounting of food being consumed. Pet obesity is a significant issue with many house pets and can lead to a multitude of health problems. This is also helpful in recognizing when a pet may be experiencing a decrease in appetite due to illness.

Snacks and training treats are also a significant portion of our pets’ diet. It is important to count these tidbits in the overall calorie intake. Owners should read the ingredients list and source country of all snacks given.

The Association of American Feed Control Officials is a non-regulatory agency that helps protect consumers and safeguard pet foods.

http://www.aafco.org/

Most pet food is considered safe and nutritious. However, if a problem occurs there is a notification system in place to alert pet owners to any problems. The American Veterinary Medical Association has a recall list with links to national organizations that publish recalls to email, Facebook, and Twitter.

http://www.avma.org/petfoodsafety/recalls/default.asp

Pet food is regulated and monitored by the Food and Drug Administration.

http://www.fda.gov/AnimalVeterinary/Products/AnimalFoodFeeds/PetFood/default.htm

Pet food companies often add vitamins or supplements to formulas targeting a specific age range. It is important to consider the amount of these vitamins and additives if your pet is also receiving individual vitamins, supplements, or medications.

With so many excellent choices available most owners can pick a food that meets their pet’s individual needs. It is important to consider that pets’ needs change throughout their lifespan, possibly requiring a change in diet.

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