Some Questions and Answers About Pet Nutrition

The primary line of defense in nutritional disorder prevention and immune system maintenance is a sound nutritional program.

Why doesn’t Pet Planet carry some of the most common brands of pet food?

As the pet food industry became big business, so did the marketing campaigns of some products. The focus was not on the quality of the pet food, it was on the mass appeal of the product through color, smell, and marketing gimmicks. At Pet Planet, we carefully research the quality of every food we stock on our shelves. No matter how well advertised or how profitable it may be, Pet Planet will never carry a food that we would not feed our own pets.

What’s wrong with Grocery store brands?

Well marketed grocery foods have wonderful claims of natural ingredients and images of fresh meat, fruits and vegetables on the packages. Many of these foods contain high levels of sugar,salt and chemicals used as colorings and flavorings. Poor quality ingredients in pet food is a major factor in the epidemic of degenerative pet diseases, including cancer, arthritis and a range of allergies and autoimmune diseases.

There has been a lot of controversy lately about carbohydrates. What’s the difference?

The glycemic index or “GI” describes the difference in carbohydrates by ranking them according to their effect on blood glucose levels. Carbohydrates that break down slowly during digestion, releasing glucose gradually into the bloodstream, have a low Gl. Choosing low Gl foods reduces the risk of heart disease and diabetes and is key to sustainable weight loss. They also increase levels of HDL (healthy) cholesterol and can help control appetite. Low Gl foods provide more consistent energy levels throughout the day. Eating a lot of high Gl foods can be detrimental to health because it pushes the body to extremes. This is especially true if the pet is overweight.

Examples:

  • High GI Ingredients (over 70) = ground wheat, ground corn, rice
  • Low GI Ingredients (under 50) = oats, barley, quinoa

How important is protein to a pet?

High quality, “grade A” protein is essential for muscle, skin, coat and nail growth. Protein is the source of essential amino acids- building blocks of tissue, muscle, bone, elements of the blood, hormones and antibodies that keep an animal healthy. Not all proteins are created equally. A high quality pet food will use human grade A meat free from by-products. Premium pet foods will always choose a highly digestible animal protein rather than relying on cereal proteins. Most cereal proteins are devoid of the most important amino acids.

Some pet foods list “whole chicken” and some list “chicken meal”. What’s the difference?

“Meal” is protein that has been cooked and is therefore pure dehydrated meat. A premium food that uses chicken or lamb meal as its primary source of protein is typically easier to digest for your pet. Even though whole chicken may be listed first on an ingredient panel (remember- ingredients are listed according to weight), a food that lists chicken meal may actually have more chicken, as it does not contain the water present in whole chicken.

What about price and value?

When considering price, remember cheaper foods may actually be more expensive because more must be fed to receive the same benefits. A high concentration of cheaper ingredients provides less nourishment. Consequently, a pet requires much more of that formula. Not only that, but you will have far less to clean up in the backyard when feeding a high quality food!

My grocery brand food says it contains vitamins. How do these compare to a premium food’s vitamin package?

In poor quality commercial pet food, complete vitamin packages and vitamin bio-availability are rarely present. Premium pet foods use expensive, high quality and bio-available sources of vitamins in their diets to ensure our animals are absorbing these vital dietary requirements. In many premium formulas, a manufacturing process called “chelating” or “sequestering” is used to protect the vitamins in the food from potency loss during the manufacturing process. The chelating/sequestering process delivers almost 100% of the trace nutrients to the point of absorption. In grocery or utilitarian foods that do not use chelation or sequestering, most of the vitamins and minerals that may have been in the food are lost during digestion and are therefore not bio-available.

What does bio-available mean?

When a nutrient is bio-available, it means that the nutrient is in its highest quality and most digestible form and that the nutrient is in a form that can be absorbed into the animal’s system ensuring the greatest benefit possible from that nutrient.

I’ve decided to switch-how do I know my dog will like the food?

Samples are available in-store for most dry food formulas available at Pet Planet. If your dog or cat does not enjoy the samples that you have brought home, Pet Planet can provide different samples. Please also keep in mind that palatability is not a reflection of the nutritional value of a food.

When sampling a new food, place a few kibbles of each type on the floor, about a foot apart. Allow your pet to go to each and smell them. Whichever one they goes back for first and gobbles up, is the one that they likes best. DO NOT feed one sample one night, and then another sample the next! Changing foods like that can cause stomach upset.

How do I transition my pet to avoid further stomach upset?

A transition should always be done gradually. Start by mixing 25% of the new food with 75% of the old food, gradually eliminating the old food from the diet over the course of 7 -10 days. The digestive tract needs time to adjust to the new food, building up the right bacteria to digest it properly. A “cold turkey” switch can lead to diarrhea, gas, vomiting and a lack of interest in the food.

Should you be unable to mix the new food in with the old (completely out of food), transition powders or digestive enzymes found at Pet Planet can be added to each meal to ease the transition.

How much of the new food should I feed?

When switching to the right formula most Guardians have a tendency to continue to feed the same amount as when they were feeding the grocery food. Each individual pet is different in his or her food requirements. Even manufacturer recommended amounts may not be right for an individual pet. Watch your pet closely so as to not over-feed when you switch to a higher quality premium pet food.