At Antelope, we believe in the power of natural, wholesome ingredients. When it comes to feeding our pets, we’re guided by simplicity and quality. But selecting food and treats for your dog can feel overwhelming. How much should your dog really be eating? What should pet food look like? And how can you differentiate all the options on the shelf? Below, we walk you through it.
Keep it simple
Being healthy doesn’t need to be complicated, yet so many pet food bags have a laundry list of preservatives, fillers, and additives. If you’ve never heard of an ingredient, should your pet be eating it every single day? Whether you’re feeding fresh, frozen, air dried, or dry food, stick to brands that use fewer high quality ingredients, instead of a long list of additives.
Don’t forget treats
If your pet likes a snack in between meals (who doesn’t?), aim for natural treats. Look for ingredients you can pronounce from a supplier you can trust. Bocce’s Bakery is our favorite pick for high quality treats made from simple ingredients in small batches.
Practice portion control
Obesity is linked to health issues in humans, and our pets are no different. When it comes to feeding your pet a healthy diet, both quality and quantity of food are important. Work with your vet to determine how many calories your pet really needs – factoring in age, body composition, activity level, and breed – and then stick to the plan. We know those puppy eyes are hard to resist when they’re begging for seconds. But a trim dog will live a happier, healthier life. (PS don’t forget to include those treats in your daily calorie count!)
Beware of buzzwords
Pet brands can use terms like “natural” and “healthy” regardless of what’s actually in the bag. Other options are “grain free,” “gluten free,” “high protein,” or “human grade” – but what does your pet actually need? Talk to your vet about what’s best for your breed so you can shop smarter.
Make sure it’s balanced
The one thing you should see on your pet food label? A stamp of approval from The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). AAFCO’s requirements ensure dog or cat food is complete and balanced, containing all the nutrients your pet needs. The “guaranteed analysis” includes a breakdown of these essential nutrients – crude protein, fiber, fat, and water. If you’re feeding your pet a homemade diet, make sure you include the right supplements to ensure nutritional balance.
Invest in the future
Pet foods with higher quality ingredients may come with a higher price tag than other options. But the payoff is the same one you get every time you opt for a smoothie instead of a donut. Your pet reaps the same long term benefits – maintaining a healthy body weight, fewer health issues, and an extended lifespan – of a nourishing diet. But they rely on you to make the decision for them.