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CHOOSING THE RIGHT FOOD

Gelson's Markets has a great selection of healthier choice dog and cat foods including labels from Party Animal,DogswellNutrisource and Freshpet. When shopping for pet food, I always look for foods made with the highest quality ingredients and avoid foods that contain unnecessary additives and fillers. I like to read the ingredient list first, just like I do with "people food." These are the particular elements that I look for in a pet food:

  • The first ingredient should be meat from a specifically named animal, not “poultry” but “chicken” or “turkey,” for example. Dogs and cats need a high-quality protein source that animal by-products and “meat meals” don’t always provide. Muscle and organs from beef, lamb, chicken, turkey and fish will help provide the protein they need.
  • The next four ingredients should also be of high quality: meat from other specifically named animals, egg, vegetables, fruit and, of course, water or broth are all acceptable.
  • Try to stay away from added salt, sugar, colors and synthetic preservatives.
  • Cats do not need any grains in their diet, though dogs can tolerate some. Try to avoid ingredients such as corn, soy and wheat.
  • Look for the words “complete and balanced” or a statement on the label that mentions that the food meets AAFCO standards.
  • I prefer wet food over dry, especially for cats, since it will help ensure that pets are adequately hydrated.

This article was created by Gelson’s registered dietitian, Jessica Siegel. Jessica has a Masters in Public Health. However, she is not a doctor and her nutritional recommendations are not tailored to specific health problems. Consult your physician before beginning any nutritional program. To contact Jessica, please call her at 1-800-GELSONS (435-7667). When in doubt, ask your vet as he or she is always the best choice in recommending what is best for your dog or cat.