Image Credit - Wikimedia.org/
Take a few moments and think about your standards when it comes to the food you feed yourself and your family. Are you big on locally grown or organic food? Whatever standards you have for yourself and your family, it is important that the dog food you choose is wholesome and healthy as well. But with the marketing terms on all the pet food labels, it is difficult to tell which is the best option for your canine companions. Here are a few pointers that will help you sort out the fact from the fiction:
- Clinically proven – Phrases like “clinically proven” and “Veterinarian/Doctor recommended” are important as they have specific rules associated with their use, controlled by the FTC and the FDA. If you see pet food that states specific health benefits or claims to improve the physical appearance and condition of your pet, you want to make sure that the claims are clinically proven. That is the only guarantee that the claim is not just marketing hype, but an actual benefit from a quality product.
- Clinically tested vs. clinically proven – While these two terms are often used interchangeably, “clinically proven” foods are better. It implies that the product in question has undergone scientific review and testing and can stand up to the claims made by the company. To be labeled “clinically proven”, a product must have undergone at least two studies that show that the claim is accurate. Clinically tested simply means that the product was tested on patients, and it does not necessarily meet the requirements of sound experimentation.
- Undergone rigorous clinical trials – The main reason to test wellness and therapeutic pet foods via clinical trials with real pets (under veterinary supervision) is to make sure that the pet food is safe and does not pre-empt any adverse reactions. It is also crucial that there is enough scientific evidence to show that the food delivers on the health benefits it promises. As a pet owner, if you feel that a particular health need is addressed by feeding your pet a food that claims a particular benefit, you might not look for alternative remedies. If the health claim is false, the condition can go untreated.
- How do you determine if it is clinically proven – While it is a good idea to feed your pet food with established benefits such as “clinically proven” antioxidants, which will definitely benefit the immune system of your dog, you should consult the veterinarian for specific health issues. He/she would be aware of your pet's specific needs and will be able to decide on the best food for the situation. Once you have all the information you need about your pet's health needs, you will be able to make a more informed decision.