The Ultimate Guide To Pet Nutrition For Dogs And Cats-5 Tips to Select the Best Dog Food for him!

Are you a dog or cat owner? If you’re like most people, you’re probably feeding your pet foods that are designed specifically for their species. But what if you want to feed your pet a diet that’s general enough to suit both cats and dogs, or even multiple breeds of each? Here are five tips to help you select the best dog food for your pet.So read on and learn everything you need to know about pet nutrition!

Unfortunately for our pets who cannot make decisions about what they will eat, there are products being presented to them that are full of artificial colorings, flavor enhancers to entice them to eat, ingredients such as meat and bone meal that are so highly processed they have questionable nutritional value, and preservatives to allow a long “shelf life” at the grocery store.  This is a sorry state of affairs for our pets; and often the consumer believes they are providing good food for their dog or cat!
     The field of canine and feline nutrition is clouded with misconceptions, misleading advertising and an overall lack of commitment to educate pet owners.  During 30 years of experience treating dogs and cats, plus 7 years in Veterinary School, I have learned far more “on the job” than I ever did in the few classes that were offered in College. I am committed to passing on to you,  the responsible guardians of our dogs and cats, some of the important aspects of pet nutrition I have learned.
T. J. Dunn, Jr. DVM

Pet Nutrition-5 tips to select the best dog food for him

There are so many topics to be discussed that it is difficult to select where to start. The Internet has many informative places to visit for background on how to read pet food labels, what responsibility the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) has and even a web site about the Pet Food Institute. Many of these sites have factual information and are not slanted by pet food manufacturers’ marketing strategy,  profit margins, or advertising agencies’ creative design departments. Other sources of information available to the pet owner looking for good advice may not be quite so objective.  The Golden Rule you should keep in mind is “Does the advice make sense?”

Involved High Protein in Diet

For example, if some pet food “expert” tells you that eating animal fat is bad for dogs and cats and that a plant source of fatty acids is much better, your common sense should tell you that dogs and cats successfully evolved over the eons by consuming animal fat in their diets. So does it make sense to say that animal fat is bad for dogs and cats? Another example is the common notion that lots of protein in a pet’s diet will cause kidney damage.  Again, looking at the nature of the dog and cat as a meat-eating animal and having evolved by capturing and consuming other animals, we know their diets have always been high in protein.  Think about what makes sense IN NATURE.  If you hear about a nutritional product that “just doesn’t make sense”…be cautious about it’s factual basis.

Grain-Based Foods

Here is the biggest and most common misconception of all… the promotion of grain-based foods as being a Complete and Balanced diet for dogs and cats!  Having done physical exams on tens of thousands of dogs and cats and learning from their owners what these pets are being fed has taught me that dogs and cats look, feel, and perform better if they are fed a meat-based diet rather than if fed a corn, wheat, soy or rice-based diet.  I am not saying that grains are bad for dogs and cats; they surely can contribute certain limited nutrients to a good diet (mainly calories in the form of carbohydrates).  I feel strongly, though, that grains should not be the foundation of a diet intended for a dog or cat. 

All meat diets are Harmful

It has been shown that all-meat diets are harmful over a period of time because of mineral and other imbalances.  Properly formulated meat-based diets have ingredients added  in specific amounts to insure a nutritionally beneficial diet.  DO NOT  feed your dog or cat a home-made ALL MEAT diet! 


Are they getting a bad rap?  As you read various pet food producers’ advertising material you will often find such statements as “No By-Products Added!” or “Our food contains no animal by-products so you know it’s top quality”.  I will let you decide if By-Products aren’t good for dogs and cats after you learn what they are.  To most people the term “by-products” congers up images of whatever is left over after the animal is processed, or maybe whatever can’t be used for human food, or maybe even what’s cleaned up off the processing floor at the end of the day. (I hear this misconception all the time!) It’s time you learn what by-products are; so here is the legal definition as described by the official agency in charge of directing animal feeding practices in the U.S….AAFCO:  Association of American Feed Control Officials.

By-Product… Secondary products produced in addition to the principal products

Well, there is nothing here to indicate good or bad quality of product.  Maybe we should look at what the principal product is to find out what the secondary products are; then we can decide if the secondary products would make good food for meat-eating dogs and cats.

If Meat is the primary product (meat refers to the skeletal muscles of the slaughtered mammal) then …
Meat By-Products – the non rendered (uncooked), clean parts, other than meat, derived from slaughtered mammals. It includes, but is not limited to, lungs, spleen, kidneys, brain, livers, blood, bone, partially defatted low-temperature fatty tissue and stomachs and intestines freed of their contents. It does not include hair, horns, teeth and hooves.

Think about this for a moment… in a free roaming and natural state, wouldn’t dogs and cats feed on exactly these parts of a killed prey animal?   Wouldn’t a meat-eating animal consume the liver, stomach, lung tissue, and intestines of the prey?  These tissues are what we call by-products! They happen to be very nourishing for meat-eating animals like the canine and feline!   My conclusion is that Meat By-Products are a good source of nutrition for dogs and cats; what’s yours?

(For hundreds of pages of definitions, rules for processing, amounts of preservatives and additives allowed, feeding trial protocols and much more, you should consider purchasing an Official Publication of AAFCO Phone:1-404-656-3637. Ask for the AAFCO Official Publication of the Association of American Feed Control Officials)

If you are interested in learning more about sensible nutritional practices, I would recommend these two books, The AAFCO Publication and Canine and Feline Nutrition by Case, Carey and Hirakawa; C.V. Mosby, for your library.  You could spend lots of interesting hours discovering what  many veterinarians and other animal caretakers have not… that sensible nutritional practices are based on proven scientific research.

Pet nutrition is a topic that is always on the minds of pet owners, but it can be confusing to figure out just what to feed our furry friends. In this blog post, we will be discussing five tips on how to choose the best dog food for your pet, based on their specific needs. By following these tips, you will be able to select the perfect food for your dog or cat and ensure their overall health and well-being. Let us know in the comments if you have any questions or concerns about pet nutrition!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the most important nutrient for cats and dogs?

Along with carbohydrates and lipids, protein is an important macro-nutrient in a pet’s diet. Protein is essential for healthy growth, healing, and pregnancy in cats and dogs.

Can I feed my dog real food instead of dog food?

Dr. Leigh of Your Vet Online recommends that you make sure your dog’s food is full and balanced for its age and any medical conditions it may have. A pure kibble diet is perfectly suitable for your dog. Alternatively, you can supplement their diet with cooked or raw meat, fish, veggies, and grains.

What kind of nutrition do dogs need?

Water, proteins, lipids, carbs, minerals, and vitamins are the six fundamental nutrients. These important nutrients must be included in the dog’s daily diet and are involved in all of the body’s basic activities.

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