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As a pet owner, you might be tempted to save money on food so that your cat can afford other luxuries. If you belong to that category, then you need to rethink your priorities. Your cat deserves a daily meal that will keep him hale and hearty. So, how can you tell if the cat food you are buying is up to the mark? Let's take a look:
- Balance of nutrients – Energy (from fat, protein or carbohydrates), vitamins, essential fatty acids, minerals and water are absolute essentials in every mammal's diet, and your pet is no different. As long as all the vital nutrients are present in the right quantities, the source of the ingredients is irrelevant. Balance is very important for metabolism. If you do not eat sufficient carbohydrates, but eat a lot of protein, some of the protein will be used up for glucose production. So, the essential dietary nutrients must be balanced. It is for this reason that pet food manufacturers hire veterinary nutritionists to select the ingredients.
- Did nutritionists formulate the food? - Formulating cat food is not an easy task. Pet nutritionists undergo years of training to learn how to balance key ingredients in diets. They also pay close attention to the quantity of individual minerals and nutrients to make sure that your cat is at optimal health. Once formulated, the food has to go through feeding trials before it hits the shelves.
- Has the food undergone trials? - Feeding trials are an absolute must for pet foods. Diets that are substantiated through a large sample set and strict guidelines are best suited for your pet. If the label of your pet food says that it has been substantiated by the AAFCO, then you can go ahead and buy it. If not, stay away from ti like the plague.
- Quality control – Safety and quality is a big concern for most pet food companies, and a lot of them manufacture it at their own facilities to make sure that they have everything under control. For instance, cat food that is made onsite can stay in the factory till the test results come through. This saves the company the trouble of recalling a product from the shelves for issues like Aflatoxin and Salmonella contamination.
If you have trouble deciding on the right pet food, talk to the vet. After all, it is not an easy decision to take. You need to factor in your cat's breed, age, activity level, weight and health condition. A medically trained professional would be able to give you the best advice. By choosing the right cat food, you will be saving on future medical bills.