Why you should pay attention to high-quality ingredients when buying feed
"You are what you eat". This saying applies not only to us two-legged friends, but also to our pets. You can find out why this is the case and how you can recognize high-quality food for pets in our blog.
How does food affect my pets' health?
High-quality feed is crucial for a balanced diet and therefore for health. On the other hand, cheap food of poor quality reduces the quality of life and well-being of your furry companion. Bad ingredients can even trigger diseases such as allergies or diabetes. Many carbohydrates and added sugars promote obesity. But too few nutrients also lead to deficiency symptoms such as a dull coat.
If food is difficult to digest, i.e. the organism cannot utilize the nutrients well, this can result in diarrhoea, large amounts of faeces or emaciation despite sufficient food intake. But feed intolerances are also reflected in skin problems such as itching, rashes, scaly and dull fur, as well as ear infections and digestive problems.
What ingredients should I look out for when buying feed?
Basically, the more natural, the better. When it comes to high-quality animal feed, mostly natural ingredients are used, which have a natural origin and have been processed gently. Unlike with artificial or heavily processed ingredients, fewer important nutrients are lost here, which subsequently have to be replaced with synthetic additives.
- meat and animal products
Dogs and cats are carnivores, so their diet should consist largely of meat. A high proportion of meat in the feed, at least 50%, is ideal. However, there are different types of meat that differ in quality. The highest quality is muscle meat, which consists exclusively of muscles. In contrast, less nutritious meat comes from organs such as the heart, lungs, liver or stomach. This is by no means bad for our carnivores, who in nature would eventually eat up the entire body of their prey, including the innards.
In the case of high-quality feed, the type of meat, the type of animal and the percentage of the feed are precisely noted in the composition. This so-called "open declaration" (e.g. with Loisachtaler dog natural food ) is a sign of transparency and quality.
In the case of inexpensive feed, there is usually a closed declaration in which these points are not broken down.
Here you will often find the term "animal by-products", which does not mean meat, but inferior slaughterhouse waste such as claws, feathers or blood. While these are not harmful, they have little nutritional value.
- vegetables, fruits and herbs
These are comparatively more expensive ingredients, which are therefore rarely found in cheap feed. They not only contain numerous vitamins, but also valuable roughage such as plant fibers. The latter have a positive effect on the digestion of dogs and cats, as they stimulate the gastrointestinal motility and serve as food for the intestinal flora. Our food recommendation for dogs is HerzensDund .
But if our fur noses eat too much of it, they can get diarrhea and flatulence. The proportion of these ingredients in the food should be rather low, especially for cats, for example as in Katzenliebe . In addition, vegetable proteins are contained in this food, but they are less digestible than animal proteins by carnivorous animals.
As with meat, the declaration of plant-based ingredients is also an indication of the quality of the feed. A precise listing of the vegetables, fruit or herbs is therefore more transparent and trustworthy than the designation "vegetable by-products".
- Vegetable carbohydrate sources
In addition to vegetables and fruit, most feedstuffs also contain other carbohydrate sources such as potatoes, rice or cereals. While these are not a problem for dogs, they should be kept to a minimum for cats. We can recommend the lining from Herrmann's Manufaktur in this regard. However, grain is often used as a cheap ingredient in low-quality feed. Although it is not harmful, it has a high allergenic potential, which can often lead to gluten allergy in pets. It is therefore better to opt for a food with the addition "grain-free", such as Cat's Love , to avoid intolerance.
A number of fatty acids such as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are essential for a healthy diet. Since dogs and cats cannot produce them themselves, they have to be ingested through food. Vegetable or animal oils such as linseed, safflower or fish oil, which are added to the feed, are therefore optimal. An indication of high-quality ingredients is the property "cold-pressed". Because this gentle production means that more important nutrients are retained.
- Other additions
Artificial additives such as preservatives, flavorings, fragrances or attractants have long been the subject of criticism. Not only because some of them have been shown to cause cancer in humans, but also because they play no part in the healthy diets of dogs and cats. Preservatives are mainly used in dry food; rarely in wet food, since no additional preservation is required here.
In the food of cats and dogs there are often flavorings that should make our fur noses prefer to eat it. Sugar, but also yeast, caramel or molasses are often used for this. On the one hand, these have no use and no positive effect on our darlings, but on the other hand, they can lead to obesity or diabetes.
In the case of a high-quality feed, such additives are therefore usually dispensed with.
Good feed is easy to spot
Now you know how to recognize good, high-quality food based on the ingredients used. But that is not the only criterion. Because pet food can also be evaluated based on smell and appearance. A first-class food, whether for a dog or cat, smells good for you and also looks more appetizing. And at the latest the taste test by your fur nose will show you whether you have decided on the right food.