Tips for Choosing the Right Pet Products for Your Furry Friend

When it comes to your furry friend’s health and wellbeing, it’s impossible to overstate the importance of choosing the right pet food. Get it right and your pet will be nourished and set up for long and healthy life. Get it wrong and you’ll be running the chance of risking your pet’s physical and emotional health. But with so many choices and contradictory advice out there, how do you know which pet products are the right choice for your furry pal?

It seems that in every store you enter you see hundreds of products on display labelled “organic”, “grain-free”, “all-natural”, etc. Taking into account the great number of pet breeds, it’s no surprise there are tons of pets supplies to choose from. However, variety doesn’t always mean viability. With that said, here are some tips to help you cross off your list the undesirable products and cut through the marketing hype to make the best choice for your furry pal.

Consider Your Pet’s Breed, Age & Lifestyle


These factors play an important part in choosing the right food for your pet. Puppies and kittens, for example, have different nutritional requirements than older animals – they need plenty of protein and fat to fuel their rapid development. Plus, good food will also include DHA for brain development. Keep in mind that feeding a small, lower activity dog with food that’s designed for a larger and high-energy breed could lead to obesity. Your pet needs to be able to eat its food easily. So, look for pet products with targeted formulations for pets of different breeds and ages, rather than one-size-fits-all solutions.

Check the Quality of the Ingredients

In the past, indecipherable ingredients and misleading labelling kept pet parents in the dark when it came to what actually goes into their pet’s food. After the tons of horror stories in the press, people have started educating themselves better when it comes to the ingredients in their pet’s food. Legislation regarding pet food requires that all products are produced in hygienic conditions and are safe for pets. It is important that the food your furry pal eats does not affect his physical health, behaviour and trainability.


When it comes to buying good quality pet food, the key ingredients to look for include:

  • Animal fats – to promote a healthy brain, skin and coat;
  • Animal proteins – the food should contain a blend of fresh and dried animal protein, with puppy and kitten formulations loaded with higher concentrations;
  • Vitamins and minerals – the food should contain the right balance of vitamins and minerals for your pet. Dogs and cats need food that provides the essential vitamins like A, D and E. The amount of phosphorous, calcium and magnesium should also be carefully formulated to avoid health issues;
  • Carbohydrates – while these should be lower down on the list for both dogs and cats, carbohydrates are important as they provide the right balance of dietary fibre and are a good source of energy. However, make sure the food contains high-quality carbohydrates like oats and rice, rather than nasty fillers. Considering that cats are obligate carnivores, carbohydrates should be further down on the ingredients list;
  • Omega 3 and 6 – these are essential for brain development, immune function and developing a healthy skin and coat.

Ingredients that should be avoided:

  • Fillers – these include corn, soy, wheat and potatoes, which are used to bulk up cheaper pet foods;
  • Pea protein – this is another cheaper filler commonly used in pet food. It is often used to substitute proper animal protein;
  • Un-named meat sources – a lot of leading pet food manufacturers use animal derivates and un-named meat sources. This means that they change the ingredients they use regularly to get the lowest price. To know exactly what your furry friend is eating, look for named meat sources wherever possible;
  • Allergens – these include wheat, pork, beef, eggs and dairy;
  • Sugar, salt, artificial flavours, colours, or preservatives – the current regulations allow pet food brands to hide these ingredients from labelling if used in low quantities. Look for foods that have deliberately omitted these ingredients from their content.

It’s common misinformation that meat meal is bad – this isn’t always true. Although a lot of pet food companies use the term “no meat meal” as a way to promote a superior product, a good quality meat meal can be a great source of essential amino acids and protein. That is because meat meal often includes nutritious parts of the animal including bones and offal. And contrary to what many say, it isn’t full of nasty bits like hair, feathers, hoofs. Regulations exist to ensure that meat meal is free of all these things.


Since pet owners have become more aware of the non-nutritious fillers in pet foods, a lot of pet food brands have started creating “grain-free” products. However, grains shouldn’t be avoided altogether. In fact, the majority of sensitivities in pets are related to gluten from wheat. Good grains, like rice and oats can actually be very beneficial. This explains why most vets recommend chicken and rice to settle sensitive tummies.

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