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Pets usually spell big money, and the global pet food market is huge. The US is the leading country in pet food production and influences trends in the industry worldwide. Human food trends usually inspire pet food trends. The raw and fresh dog food revolution will continue to gather support in the pet industry. And meanwhile, here are some other pet food trends to look out for.
Pet Food Trends You Should Watch Out For
Humanization of pet food – There is a growing demand for pet food products that resemble human cuisine, including their ingredients, aroma, and product names. Dog food brands have already caught on to this trend, offering pet food, i.e., seasonal, homemade, and free from/clean labels.
Premiumization of pet food – The trend for locally sourced, traceable, and premium ingredients will dominate the pet food market in the time to come. There is a growing need for pet food recipes that are simple, natural, gourmet, and made with authentic ingredients. They must also be high in protein and vegetable content and contain superfoods.
Kinds of Pet Food
Raw meats and treats – Freeze-dried raw meats have already entered the pet food market. They form a part of the "complete" food section and are rehydrated before feeding a pet.
Single Servings – Cats are notoriously fussy eaters. Single-serve wet cat foods have been designed keeping their food leanings in mind. These are available in many flavors, so the cat can decide which appeals to them.
Insect Proteins – There has been a growing interest in using insects as an alternative source of protein. A limited number of pet foods already incorporate insect proteins into them. The need for a sustainable, cheaper source of pet nutrition is slated to increase this manifold.
Home Delivery – The home delivery of pet food is about to become a reality. Now you can order both your and your pet's food online. Pet food delivery services offer customized, fresh, and homemade, quality grain-free dog food at your doorstep.
Micro-targeted and Functional pet food – Pet food marketers are dividing the market into separate categories of specialized target customers with specific nutritional needs. These sub-groups include age, breed, size, activity level, indoor v/s outdoor, type of fur, allergies, and other chronic health conditions.
Preventative pet food – Like human food, pet owners are investing in pet food to prevent illness in their pets and promote pet health.
The Best Pet Food for Your Dog or Cat
There are many options – good and bad – when it comes to feeding your pet, but as pet parents, you can use the variety to your advantage by learning to eliminate the bad and select the good.
The Basic Ingredient Check
Carbohydrates are an inexpensive way to get calories to your best friend, but it isn't necessarily good for their health. Not all carbohydrates are created equally. Because dogs are omnivores, they need some carbs; look for vegetables, whole grains, sweet potatoes, quinoa, oats, and potatoes. Avoid corn and soy, as these are cheap fillers without much nutritional value. Cats are carnivores; carbohydrates should make up only 10% of their diet. Look for dog foods and cat foods that list a whole grain, and ensure that the carbohydrates are low on the ingredient list.
Protein is the most crucial component of your pet's diet. While protein from plant sources like corn and soy are cheaper, they deprive your pet of vital amino acids they need to survive. Many pet foods have a high enough protein percentage, but often, it comes from cheap plant sources that don't have the necessary amino acids. Animal products (meat, eggs, chicken meal, fish, and animal by-products) will have the nutrients your pet needs. Look to the ingredient label: any food you buy for your cat should have an animal product first; for dogs, an animal product should be at least in the first three ingredients, if not higher.
The Truth about Animal By-Products
Although you might have heard otherwise, animal by-products are not necessarily harmful to your pet. They include the liver, heart, intestines, and other "left-overs" from animal slaughterhouses. While some think this is gross, these animal parts are amino acid dense, giving your pet the nutrients they need without hurting your wallet. "Chicken meal" or "beef meal" will include a mixture of by-products and muscle meat. If you don't want your pet eating such unmentionables, choose food that lists a specific meat source like "salmon," "beef," or "turkey." Generally, muscle meat will be of higher quality than animal by-products or "chicken meal," but all of these ingredients will give your pet the essential nutrients they need to thrive.
Ingredients to Avoid
Animal Digest and generic animal protein, often labeled as "animal," "meat," or "poultry," are two ingredients to avoid. These ingredients come from "4-D" meat: the diseased, dead, disabled, and dying before slaughter. Because 4-D meats have lower regulation standards, these ingredients can be derived from roadkill and other unsavory sources.
Think about Your Pet's Personal Health Needs
Once you've passed the essential checklist, consider your pet's health conditions. If you have a dog, research their breed and find out if you can prevent likely health problems with nutrition.
Gastric torsion: Find a low-grain, high-protein food with plenty of fiber, and have your dog eat smaller meals more frequently.
Skin problems and hot spots: Look for dog food with higher fat content, mainly if that food contains fish oil, which is packed with Omega-3. Often Salmon and other meals with fish are good places to start.
Overweight or suffering from Pancreatitis: Choose lower-fat foods such as Hill's Prescription Diet i/d Low Fat Digestive Care Dry Dog Food to keep away the strain on the digestive system and reduce calories.
Food allergies: Try foods with limited ingredients, and if symptoms stop, slowly introduce new foods to see what causes your dog's allergies
Kidney Problems: Find food with lower protein content to keep the strain off the kidneys.
Bad breath: Bad breath is a sign of dental disease, so support dental health with crunchy kibble.
Hairballs: Many foods are designed to prevent gastrointestinal problems related to hairballs. Most of these foods will have high Omega 3 contents to reduce shedding, thus reducing the need for excessive grooming. Additionally, these foods will have a higher fiber content to make hairs more digestible, so your cat doesn't have to expel their hair in a hairball.
Obesity: While the best way to tackle obesity is to cut on portions, you can also choose a weight management food with higher protein content and fewer grains to reduce calories.
Thyroid Problems, Urinary Tract Infections, and Cystitis: Try switching to wet food. Cats have a very low natural thirst drive and are meant to get most of their water from their food. Even with a full water bowl, cats who eat dry food have half the urine content of cats who eat wet food. Better hydration promotes good urinary health and lessens the burden of chronic thirst that plagues cats with thyroid problems.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Many cats with IBS will have their problems subside when put on a grain-free diet that resembles the diet of their carnivorous ancestors.
Life Stage and General Nutrition
Make sure you're also thinking about your pet's life stage. Senior dogs generally gain or lose a lot of weight, so change their food to a high or low-fat content based on their body's needs. Senior cats often start to have urinary health problems, so switching to wet cat food like Wellness Chicken Formula Canned Cat Food as your cat ages can prevent issues before they start by keeping your cat hydrated. You can find senior, puppy, and kitten food quickly; make sure it passes the "basic ingredient check" before buying.
If you have an adult pet with no specific health concerns, consider buying cat food brands or dog food brands labeled "complete and balanced." All foods labeled "complete and balanced" have been tested by the American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) and have proven themselves healthy and nutritious.
Final Tips and Tricks
Generally, everything from the first fat listed and above is a "primary ingredient." The rest will only be in small amounts.
Sometimes manufacturers split fillers like corn into two ingredients (corn and cornmeal) on the ingredient list, making it look like meat is the primary ingredient when the majority of the food is comprised of different forms of corn or another filler.
Don't trust the front of the package! Things labeled "Flavor," "Dinner," and "Nuggets" can be misleading. Often products don't deliver on their promises – go through the ingredient label to ensure your pets get the nutrition they deserve.
Read More About Your Dog's Dietary Options
Dog Nutrition 101
Good Diet, Good Health: Using Nutrition to Prevent Disease in Your Dog
The Most Poisonous Foods for Dogs
Natural Dog Food: Holistic and Organic Dog Food Diets
Raw Food Dog Diet
Grain-Free Dog Food: Cut Down on Carbs
What is in My Dog Food?
Finding the Right Food for Your Dog
Vitamins and Supplements: Vital or Superfluous?
Great Cat Foods
Wellness Chicken Formula Canned Cat Food
Merrick Before Grain Chicken Dry Cat Food
This information is for informational purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for the professional advice of, or diagnosis, or treatment by, your veterinarian. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian or other qualified professionals with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard or delay seeking professional advice due to what you may have read on our website.