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Buyer Beware: A “Healthy” Label Doesn’t Make Your Pet Food a Good Choice

When you’re shopping for people food you already know that labels don’t always tell the full story. “Low fat” often means “high sugar,” for example.

A recent Fox News story indicates pet parents have to be just as careful as they attempt to navigate pet food choices thanks to weak regulations in the pet food industries.

“Most pet owners don’t know that companies are not required by law to test the food before they put it out on the market,” said Dr. Sarah Abood with Michigan State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine.

Dr. Abood says owners need to see through the hype in order to truly pick the best food for their pets.

There are a dizzying array of choices. Raw meat? As the news story mentions, raw meat opens you and your pet up to salmonella or e. coli. Grain-free? While you might not want a corn-heavy dry cat or dog food, which can be the equivalent of feeding your pets sugar cereal, going 100% grain-free might not be super healthy for them either.

And organic pet food might not be any healthier than normal counter parts, even though it’s more expensive.

Fortunately, Pet Peeps has developed a few tips to help pet parents make the most of their pet food choices.

Stay away from China.

This came up in the Fox story, but we’ve covered it on the blog before. Pet foods from China are very risky, since they have fewer controls. Many pet foods and treats out of China have been contaminated with fatal toxins.

Look for a good nutritional balance.

Read the labels. Meat should still be at the top of the ingredient list, not corn. Both cats and dogs are carnivores. However, some balanced grains are good, as are fruit and vegetable ingredients.

Find a safe alternative to raw meat.

Freshpet is one good option. The meat is cooked, but it’s still fresh enough to require refrigeration. It’s also slow cooked at lower temperatures to lock in nutrition. The Freshpet blend also has a nice mix of meat, grains, fruits, and vegetables.

Freshpet can be expensive, however, so if it’s going to break your budget try any high-quality canned wet food instead. Wet food still has a higher concentration of meat, which keeps you from running headlong into the “sugar cereal for pets” effect.

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