Have you ever tried researching pet foods online, or perhaps asking your vet, trainer, groomer or even your neighbors for advice on pet nutrition? You will get dozens of answers to this same question: What is the best pet food? Today, the pet food industry offers endless options and trying to make sense of it all can give anyone a migraine. Where do you start? Who do you ask? Which “pet food analysis” do you trust? I have learned from over 20 years in the pet food business that there is only one “person” who can answer that question . . . your PET!

I have read pet food ratings that have listed certain foods as the very best. These foods would actually be the very worst for my pets. Use these ratings only as a starting point to get you looking in the right direction for quality pet foods. Ratings, along with a knowledgeable retailer, can help you make an informed decision. Don’t let the overwhelming variety of products and varying opinions steer you in the wrong direction.

So, how do you know what to feed?

Start by making sure your pet has a clean bill of health. Although proper diet can help to prevent many health issues, most serious medical problems cannot be cured by diet alone.

Observe your pets. Create a journal or mark on a calendar any reoccurring concerns. Make note of dry skin, diarrhea, vomiting, hot spots, rash, gas, burping, itching or chewing of the skin or feet. Excessive shedding, tear stains, ear infections, bad breath or body odor can also be indicators, Try to keep track of the foods you feed during that time. Make a note if you try anything new or add in a special treat or food topper. Keeping track of these patterns will help you explain to an experienced pet food retailer what your needs are.

All pet foods have the potential to run their course. If you ate the same diet every day, no matter how healthy it may be, your body would eventually stop using it efficiently. Supplements may become necessary to fill nutritional gaps. Often times a simple change can correct many of the problems listed above. Make some notes and come see us.

This article, written by our Liora Robinson, first appeared in Dogtopia’s newsletter, and has been reprinted with their permission.