Those of you who missed the Nutrition Discussion last month at the library missed out BIG TIME! Everyone who attended was treated to a big sub sandwich, chips, pop, veggies and cookies, as well as a great presentation from Dr. Scott Carter, an animal nutrition specialist who taught us how to interpret pet food labels. We learned all about how some big name companies (even NATURAL and ORGANIC ones) can get away with sub-par nutrition in a spectacular looking bag.
We came away with several great tidbits to help with our pet food shopping. First, always make sure the label states which life-stage it is for. If your bag of food says “For all life stages” that is a big sign that it very likely isn’t specific enough for YOUR dog’s life stage. Many mature dogs, or less active dogs will get overweight easily, and the vitamins and minerals may not be just right for the life stage of your pet.
We also learned that it is important to make sure that the company that makes the food also does clinical trials to make sure the food actually does what it says it should do. If the label says it is “Formulated,” that means the recipe comes from a formula for what SHOULD give the pet the nutrients it needs, but it has not been proven by feeding it to pets to see how it really works. He showed us pictures of animals from clinical trials using food from different manufacturers with exactly the same nutritional analysis, but with wildly different results, because of poor AVAILABILITY of nutrients from the cheaper food. You should be able to call up the company at the phone number on the bag and discuss the exact nutrient content of the food and how digestible it is (meaning how much of the diet can be used by the pets tissues, and not just pass on through). If no one will answer your questions clearly and completely, find a new food.
At the Stock Doc we recommend and use Hills Science Diet because it meets all of these requirements and more. Hills has been doing research on pet nutrition since 1939, and their mission is to “Extend the length of the Human Animal Bond,” and they do so with sound nutrition. All three of our doctors and our office manager have all taken trips to Topeka, Kansas to see how they do their research and check out their manufacturing plants. We love the way they house their clinical trial critters in big open rooms and outside in huge yards with lots of stimulation from people and toys. They seem to be living at the spa, not a research facility.
The research they do with Nutrigenomics, studying the way nutrients affect gene expression, is cutting edge, and benefits our pets in so many ways. They are using natural ingredients to affect all of the cells of our pets’ bodies in a way that optimizes their health and extends their lives, allowing us to love them longer. Go to www.hillsvet.com and www.petMD.com for more great information on optimizing your pet’s health with nutrition.