Regular readers of the Wisconsin Pet Care blog know that if there is one thing we preach (time and time and time again) it is feeding your pet quality food. We believe that nutrition has a direct effect on your pet’s overall health and wellness, so when we came across reports suggesting that Hills Science Diet is having trouble selling kibble, we couldn’t help but to stop and give everyone a high-paw! But what’s the deal? Isn’t that stuff sold in every single veterinary office and big box pet store across the United States?
According to PetFoodIndustry.com, consumer spending on pet food is up 62% since 2001 (a near $19 billion industry)! So why isn’t Science Diet getting a slice of the pie? Savvy pet parents, such as yourself, are demanding better ingredients for their pets. Now, more than ever, our pets have become humanized – an actual member of our families. If we sit down to a steak and veggies, we don’t want to feed them chemical-kibble! To its credit, Science Diet did try to counter the demand and introduced their Ideal Balance brand to the market; featuring whole grains and no by-product protein sources. They have named the brand HILLS in order to avoid the negative backlash from Science Diet. However, consumers are indicating that it might be too little too late. $19 billion is a lot of money though, so you can be sure that the battle of pet food manufacturers has just begun. You’ll have to arm yourself with information to continue making the best food choices for your four-legged friend.
One way that will become easier for you is that the AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) approved new regulations that will require all pet food to have have calories featured on your pet food packaging. This ruling will be enforced in 18 months (for new products) to 3 years (for existing products). As you know, pet obesity is at epidemic rates and adding caloric information to the packaging may help pet parents gain better insight as to how much food to feed their pets.
But all of this is just a start. Pet health is comprised of many different aspects, starting with nutrition. How can you help ensure that your pet not only lives a long life, but also a healthy life?
1) Nutrition (of course!). Check out our previous blog posts on both dog and cat nutrition to find what will work out best for you and your companion. Of course, we always recommend a raw diet – especially as it has become easier to find commercial manufacturers of raw pet food.
2) Exercise. Get them up and moving! Just like humans, animals feel best when they are in motion. Not only is exercise great for weight maintenance, it is also one of the best forms of mental stimulation for your pet. Play hard, live long.
3) See Your Vet. Wellness exams help to ensure that your dog or cat is in good health.
4) Grooming and Hygiene. Keep their teeth clean, nails clipped and fur brushed: You’d be surprised how many health benefits these simple tasks have.
What are some of the things you do to keep your pet at his happiest and healthiest?