Fresh food for a healthy pet

Americans spent $39 billion on their pets last year. The average pet owner spends close to $130 on pet food per month in the U.S. 

For that kind of money, we should make sure the food we are giving to our pets is of great quality. You can provide great quality food to your pets and not spend a fortune. 

There are things you can do and look for to ensure you have a good brand of pet food. The easiest is look at the ingredients. 

Stay away from any food with corn in it. Surprisingly, it is one of the first ingredients in large name brand and prescription foods. Corn is a filler food with no nutritional value. 

Check for meat meal and meat byproduct. The meat in the pet food you buy should be just meat as the number one ingredient. Look for good veggies and fruits; these provide natural vitamins and minerals. 

In most kibble, or dry food, you will find vitamin supplements and that is okay but if there are some good natural foods in there, they do not have to rely on the supplements. 

Check for pre- and probiotics in their kibble – ingredients like dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product and dried enterococcus faecium fermentation product. This helps their good gut health which helps build their immune system.

When your pet gets a nutrient-dense food, they feel fuller and more satisfied and usually you end up feeding them less. 

The second easiest thing you can do is look for brands from smaller family-owned companies, which typically resource their products from local farmers and ranchers. Sometimes they even have their own farms and ranches. 

When you are purchasing from large name brands, you do not know the resources of their food ingredients. 

There is a great documentary available called “Pet Fooled.” I recommend this to all pet owners to learn where their pet food is coming from. 

Many of the small pet food companies also have their own manufacturing plants and canneries, along with testing facilities to ensure their foods are safe before they go out to the market.

You will not find a lot of these small companies’ brands in grocery stores and big box pet stores because they support local small owned businesses and will only sell to them. 

Some of these brands will be Fromm, Nutrisource, Stella & Chewy’s, Answers, Grandma Lucy’s, and many others. 

You can try feeding different types of food to your pet and adding in supplemental pet foods. It is healthy for pets to have more than kibble. 

It is a little like humans eating a salad, steak, potatoes, broccoli and squash for dinner. We have a variety of flavors and textures to get our nutrients. This is how you can think of your pets’ food. 

If you can only afford kibble, then choose a good quality kibble and that will improve your pet’s health. But if you can, try adding some wet food. 

How about a freeze-dried topper of raw meat with organs and bones included in the recipe? There are bone broths, fermented goat milk and cow kefir which help as nutritional supplements but in a natural form. And of course, there is frozen raw. 

Raw food is a great protein resource for your pets. Check out the magazine “Dogs Naturally” for more nutrition information. Do your research. 

Do not be afraid to show your veterinarian the ingredients. And consider giving your pets a variety of flavors, textures and, most of all, great nutrition.

Lisa Thayer owns Gordy’s Goodies Pet Food & Supplies at 15425 S. 48th St., Ahwatukee. Reach her at 480-687-7191.

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