Much like us, each pet is unique, with different preferences and dietary considerations. Opting to feed your pet a commercially prepared pet food will ensure that you are supplying them with all of their basic nutritional requirements and thankfully, we are spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing the right pet food brand for their needs and our pockets.
Brands are not all made equal and it is in the different permutations of ingredients PLUS the different quality of ingredients used in their composition that sets them apart. Better quality food often means that the nutritional composition is more concentrated per gram. As a result, the quantity of food that should be served to your pet each day differs per brand, so following the instructions and guidelines displayed on the packaging is vital. And the differences in the food intake quantity is seen in the output – more premium brands boast the benefit of smaller stools as feeding smaller quantities are required yet offer the same nutritional value.
Nowadays different foods can be bought to match different life stages, from puppy all the way up to geriatric, and even different sizes, breeds and lifestyles, to ensure that differing nutritional requirements are met. Medical / health issues can often be aided with specially formulated foods, so chat to your veterinarian about the different options available to treat allergies, arthritis, digestive issue, to name a few.
Price is generally synonymous with quality – the higher the price, the better the quality of the ingredients that goes into the food. However, one should not fall into the trap of choosing a pet food brand based on price alone, as it is not unheard of for reprobate manufacturers to use low quality products and hike up prices, to give the illusion of quality, while only lining their own pockets.
You can rest assured that correctly registered and legally stocked pet foods share a commonality in their compliance with minimum nutritional requirements (as set out by Act 36 of 1947). Or, at least, they should… We say “should” in this instance because there have been historical cases of dishonest pet food brands that have registered a certain food composition and thereafter have altered what ends up in the bag to increase their profits.
For peace of mind, rather choose a brand that is a member of the PFI (Pet Food Industry Association of Southern Africa) – a brand that has publicly committed to putting the wellbeing of your pet first, by upholding safe, quality pet nutrition. The PFI also busies itself policing the market, to uncover deceptive brands, doing random tests to ensure that what is says on the bag is in fact what is found in the bag.
You may still be asking which pet food is the right one for your pet. By adhering to all of the below 5 principles you can be sure that you are supplying a balanced, nutritious diet to meet your pets’ needs:
Ensure the pet food has been registered – look for the ‘V’ number on the packaging followed by ‘Act 36 of 1947’
Ensure the pet food brand is a member of the PFI – look for the PFI logo on the packaging or check online for a full list of members
If your pet has a medical or health ailment that can be addressed with diet, purchase a pet food that has been formulated to treat the issue (chat to your vet for guidance)
Purchase a pet food brand that suits your budget, opting for the best quality that you can afford
If your pet in not performing optimally on a specific brand, or is reluctant to eat it, shop around – you are, after all, spoilt for choice. Just ensure that you make gradual changes over a week of two so as not to upset the gastro-intestinal flora.