We realize that the pet food industry has improved by offering many diverse food types (raw/frozen, freeze-dried/dehydrated, canned, and kibble-both baked an extruded). However, with all of these choices it can be confusing and quite honestly, a bit scary to try to pick the best option for your pet.
Everyone at Happy Tails is committed to helping simplify your options. It all begins by talking with you to understand the type of diet you prefer as well as what your pet may thrive on based on their age, specific breed, activity level, medical status, etc. The more we know the more we can help you make an informed decision regarding the type and brand that is best for your pet.
At Happy Tails we understand that good nutrition can be attained within various budget levels and we will work with you to find that “ideal” food for your furry child that is also “ideal” for your budget. The bottom line is that good nutrition does not have to break the bank.
Happy Tails strongly believes in only carrying foods that DO NOT HAVE by-products, corn, wheat, soy or harsh chemical preservatives. We also will not carry food (or treats) that are made in China due to the variety of recalls and medical issues pets incurred from such in the past. Many of the grocery store and large big-box stores/chains DO CARRY FOODS WITH a number of these concerns.
Below is some helpful information regarding each type of food:
Raw or frozen diets
These are very nutritious and considered by many to be the most easily digestible for both dogs and cats. As with all raw meats there are concerns about bacteria, yet unlike people our pets often handle such without issue. If your pet has an illness that may have compromised their immune system there are diet options that use HPP (High Pressure Pasteurization) which is a process that eliminates pathogens (i.e. bacteria) from the food. You should always add hot water to a raw diet as it should never be served cold. Once thawed this diet can be stored in the refrigerator for approximately 4 days. Using a glass container is best.
Freeze dried or dehydrated diets
These are also a great source of nutrition. Many are complete and balanced diets and may be combined with dry kibble to enhance with natural nutrition and may even help with picky eaters by making the kibble more palatable. They can be fed dry or rehydrated by adding water. They are a convenient version of less processed food.
Canned food diets
These are a great source of meat and moisture. It can also be added to kibble to increase the meat protein and moisture. Canned food is preferable for cats, but make sure it is a high quality canned food as you don’t want a lot of sodium and/or sugar. Those ingredients should be at the end of ingredient list if there at all. Always add hot water to refrigerated food as it will increase the palatability.
These can be baked, air dried, or extruded. Baked or air dried kibble is more nutritious as the vitamins and other nutrients are not killed by the higher temperatures as when extruded. Most grocery store kibble will be made with lesser quality ingredients. Always store kibble in its original bag as it helps the oils from going rancid more quickly. There is also grain free kibble, but all kibble needs to have starch to make the kibble, so many will use potato or tapioca which break down into simple sugars. Always make sure one or more meat products should appear first on the ingredient list and should be referred to as the specific meat it is. Higher quality kibble will have chelated vitamins and minerals which makes the vitamins and minerals more absorbable.
Here are some helpful tips that promote optimal health.
- You want to make sure there are NO by-products, corn, wheat, or soy. Also watch out for artificial preservatives such as BHA, BHT, and ethoxyquin.
- Rotating proteins, and at times brands, often promotes a more balanced diet by minimizing the risk of nutritional deficiency
- Introducing your pet to unique food/protein diets reduces the risk of food sensitivity/allergy
- Probiotics/Prebiotics, digestive enzyme and Omega-3 (fish oil) supplementation can be helpful with food absorption, sensitive stomach, stool issues, gas issues, skin/coat issues and food brand transition to name a few.
- A healthy gut equals a healthy pet.
Ask a Happy Tails team member about any of the options/information above and we will be happy to help you make an informed decision.
Below are many of our choices for pet food. We look forward to meeting you, and your pet, when you visit our Racine or Franklin, WI pet store to view all of our food options.
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