Selecting food and supplements for pets

LWT Animal Nutritionists have long experience in the development of pet foods across the world. From gravies to kibble, we have been involved in many novel products. We get a lot of questions regarding pet food and supplements: What is the best for my animal? How much should I feed? What are the quality standards for dog and cat food?

The best pet foods are formulated using AAFCO or FEDIAF (in Europe) standards. These give the minimums and maximums of the nutrients required by the animals to meet their growth, weight maintenance and reproductive needs. Some companies go to the lengths of testing their products in cats and dogs, to check for any problems and the digestibility of the diet, which is done in long term feeding studies from and AAFCO protocol. Special technical ingredients can be included to address problems such as poor digestion, autoimmune problems, and liver and joint maintenance, to name a few. There is a wide range to choose from, and trends in the basic forms of pet food changes over the years. Currently, there is much interest in low grain, high meat content and raw diets. However, the basic kibble and canned market remains the mainstay in most countries.

When selecting a pet food, check on the back of the bag that a standard legal statement, such as ‘formulated to meet AAFCO’ is included. This means that the product is within the designated min/max range for all the nutrients, and that it include essential ingredients such as taurine and omega oil balance, for example.

There are a vast array of supplements available as well – many in dry treat forms. Do be careful when selecting these, as some plant extracts have to be carefully dosed to ensure safety. Always follow the feeding guidelines for amounts to feed per day. Not all plant extracts and essential oils are safe to consume! Dr Waldron has been involved in the development of nutraceutical ingredients since 2001, and has a wide knowledge of the safe and effective way of using these products in animal feed, and advises companies on the best way of using them.

Make sure you are feeding according to your individual pet’s needs. A senior pet may benefit from a supplement which can help with liver function and joint mobility. A young puppy may need support in ensuring its digestive functions are operating well and it has good gut health, with the right bacteria present. If in doubt, ask a nutritionist or your vet to assist you in such decisions.

LWT Animal Nutrition works with pet food companies world-wide to ensure the products meet quality control standards and are properly formulated.

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