Navigating the Pet Food Industry to Improve Pet Health and Wellbeing
To a pet parent, pet health and well-being is typically determined by the animals’ external appearance. People often notice and comment on whether or not their pet has a full shiny coat of hair, whether they have bright and happy-looking eyes and if they are active. In other words, do they look and act happy and healthy?
A number of factors can affect the health and well-being of dogs and cats and typically if there are any pet health issues on the inside, you will eventually notice a change on the outside appearance of your pet. Let’s take a look at factors that can affect pet health and well-being.
Factors That Impact Pet Health and Wellbeing
Nutrition: Each dog and cat has a specific nutrition requirement depending on their breed, age and lifestyle. Excessive nutrition can be a problem for companion animals: 53% of dogs and 55% of cats are categorized as obese. Pet parents tend to love their pets a little too much by overfeeding and provide one too many treats in an effort to make sure their pet is fat and happy, but this can lead to potential health issues.
Lifestyle: Activity can also affect our pets’ health and well-being. A Labrador retriever on five acres of land with a pond will probably be much happier and healthier than the same dog kept in a Chicago apartment and walked only once a day. An active and healthy lifestyle benefits both the pet and their parents and requires a higher plane of nutrition.
Companionship: We all want and need companionship, and our pets are no different. A single dog may lay around all day and be less happy and fit than if they had another animal as a playmate to chase and interact with.
Allergies: When pets have allergies, it is often blamed on their food. But cats and dogs can be allergic to grass, lawn treatments and pollen as well as a number of other allergens in the environment, and this can cause pet health issues such as upset stomach, watery eyes and skin inflammation (which often leads to excessive scratching or hair loss referred to as hot spots or atopic dermatitis).
What You Should Look for in a Pet Food
There are so many great options and so many opinions when it comes to pet food that it can be confusing to make the best decision for your pet. You should take the time to research the ingredients in your pet’s food and why they are important. Research the company that produces the food you’re interested in, learn what they stand for and even consider calling them to ask questions. Most companies will be happy to have the conversation of why their food is the best choice and why you should feed it to your pet pal.
The first consideration when choosing a pet food is the age, gender and lifestyle of your pet. Look for pet foods that are specifically formulated to the life stage and activity level of your pet. An active pet will need a higher level of nutrition than that loveable couch potato pooch that lounges most of the day.
When considering a pet food made with new, novel ingredients or exotic protein sources like alligator or wild boar, make sure it is fully vetted and formulated by a pet nutritionist to ensure the pet food has essential nutrients like vitamins and minerals to meet your pets’ nutritional needs.
The all-natural pet food trend has resulted in some products that have no added vitamins and minerals and rely on the innate nutrients in the ingredients. Vitamins and minerals are essential and are a good insurance policy against a nutrient deficiency that could affect your pet’s health and well-being. Marginal deficiency symptoms from nutrients may take a long time to show up and are difficult to identify.
How to Choose a Pet Supplement
Pet supplements are typically fed to companion animals to prevent or provide a solution to a health concern or a perceived lack of nutrition. For example, many people will feed joint supplements to an older dog to improve the mobility of their old friend.
When choosing a pet supplement, look for a nutrient profile that will support your pets’ specific needs. Zinc, manganese and copper for skin and coat, bone health, cartilage, maintenance and growth. These three minerals, especially zinc, are critical for supporting a robust immune system to help your pet lead a long and healthy life.
The original ZINPRO® zinc methionine is proven to improve skin and coat health, hair density and growth. ProPath® trace minerals are Zinpro’s latest nutrient innovation for performance trace minerals and provide a grain-free option with superior bioavailability.