Feeding a high-quality diet can help you avoid painful and costly diseases later in your pet’s life.  Hippocrates said “Let food be thy medicine” and we view it as both preventative and curative.  Armed with some basic information, you will be able to make great choices.

Once you’ve decided what type of food(s) you’re going to use, understanding what’s actually in them is key.  Quality can vary dramatically from brand to brand, and even among the same brand.

Look for named sources of animal protein (chicken, beef, salmon, etc.) as opposed to unnamed sources (poultry, meat, fish) or vegetable sources (soy, peas, etc.) at the beginning of the ingredient list.  The first five ingredients in the list comprise about 80-90% of what’s in the food so you want to pay close attention to those.  Also watch for “ingredient splitting” – this is where a manufacturer has broken the same ingredient into multiple components (e.g., corn, corn meal, corn flour).  Avoid low quality fillers (corn, wheat, soy, by-products, etc.), chemical preservatives (BHA, BHT, Propylene Glycol and Ethoxyquin are known carcinogens), artificial colors & flavors, and high carbohydrates (dogs have no biological need for carbohydrates!).

Know the source.  It’s not enough to know the food has chicken instead of byproducts.  Where and how was it raised and processed also has an impact on the quality of the food.  Avoid ingredients that are pumped with antibiotics and hormones as these will pass through the food into your pet.  Watch out for tricks where items say “Made in the US” but in reality, the ingredients come from another country and are added to the final product that is made in the US.  Tricky, but true.

Raw food Dehydrated and freeze-dried foods Canned/wet foodKibble/dry food
is the most species-appropriate for your Fido and Fluffy. It has come a long way in recent years in terms of convenience. You can now easily feed a diet that is most similar to the way he would choose if he could; the way he was intended to eat. You no longer have to be concerned with proper balance of vitamins and minerals; it’s premixed and premade for you. Raw comes in pre-sized bulk blocks, patties and bite-sized nibbles. Just defrost it and feed.
are excellent choices to ensure your pet is getting the most nutrients out of what he’s eating. These are often still considered raw foods, but are also available as foods that are cooked prior to dehydrating/freeze-drying. They are so simple to feed and make a great addition to any diet. Just add water and watch your pet drool.
is a convenient option, and is available in a variety of consistencies. You can find everything from human-grade shredded meats to chunky stews and even pate. They are a great option to ensure your pet is getting more moisture in their diet. Canned foods are also great for picky eaters or as an appetite stimulant.
is the most convenient, but the least species-appropriate. There are a lot of choices— some very good, some not so good and some just downright shameful.

Diet rotation is also important.  Just as we get different nutrients from different foods, so do our pets.  Feeding the same food (even if it’s high-quality) day in, day out, year after year can lead to problems.  Find a few options that work for your pet and rotate them.

The benefits of a proper diet are almost endless.  We have witnessed some of the most amazing changes in pet’s health simply by improving their diet.  Remember, there is no one “right” pet food for every pet.  You have to sift through the marketing gimmicks and hype to find what is right for your pet.  At Fido’s Market, we take the health of your pet seriously and are here to help you dig in and find the best diet for your pet.