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Posted on 08-07-2015

By Dr. Denise Smith, Hospital Director

As pet parents, we’re faced with many decisions that affect the quality of our pets’ lives. Choosing a pet food is one of those decisions. With so many brands and varieties of pet food, how do you know what food is best for your pet?

The first consideration should be your pet’s life stage. Just like the nutritional needs of a human baby are different from those of an adult, a puppy has different needs than an adult or senior dog. The best pet foods are designed to meet the specific needs of each life stage; puppy/kitten, healthy adult, and senior.

Your pet’s food should also address her life style. A working dog has different nutritional requirements than a “couch potato” companion dog. Your pet’s optimal diet should also take into account any special needs your pet may have. Is she overweight? Is she a large breed dog, or a small breed? An indoor cat or an outdoor cat? Does she have allergies or skin sensitivities? Pets with special needs require different nutrients in different levels for optimal health.

One of the keys to a good pet food is high quality ingredients. Beware of “fad” diets that completely omit, or completely focus on, one ingredient. As omnivores, dogs need nutrients from plant sources like grains as well as from animal sources. Grains have gotten a bad rap, but they are a good source of such nutrients as protein, carbohydrates and fatty acids. While it’s true that pets can have food allergies to grains, they can also have allergies to animal proteins and dairy products.

Most veterinarians have a particular brand of food they recommend for their patients. I recommend Hill’s Science Diet Pet foods. I trust Hill's; they are a reputable company and have been producing high-quality pet food since 1939. They are committed to research and they work constantly to provide and improve nutritional options for managing and preventing disease. I feed Hill’s diets to my own pets,  and to our hospitalized patients and boarding guests at Main Street Veterinary Hospital.

For more information on Hill's diets, visit their website at www.hillspet.com. Please call us at 972-355-0008 if you have questions about what food is best for your pet!

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