There are many different choices of food at the pet store, and short of sampling them yourself, you’re going to have to rely on your pet’s feedback to learn whether or not the food is appealing. But because pets can’t fill out a review, we grilled veterinarians to learn what you should be looking at when shopping for cat and dog food to make the best decision.
Don’t assume that your pet is sick. “The average dog is a happy, healthy dog,” said Donna Solomon, a vet with the Animal Medical Center of Chicago. Too many pet store foods carry a notion that the dog is ill, and owners mistakenly think they should be buying food catered toward their sick dog. “They are creating a little bit of havoc in the world,” she said, recommending that unless a vet says otherwise, you stick with food for a normal dog or cat diet.
Be careful with homemade food and treats. Be sure to check out the safety of the ingredients before feeding it to your pet.
One Chicago-area store was selling homemade dog treats with garlic inside, which can be bad for some dogs, said Michael Marmesh, a veterinarian with the Coconut Grove Animal Clinic in Miami. “It can make them anemic by damaging their red blood cells,” he said.
Stay away from food with too many ingredients. The food should have a good protein source and a few ingredients – and that’s it, Solomon said. It should be simple.