Choosing A Dog and Cat Food

With so many pet food brands and slick advertising campaigns, it can be overwhelming to choose wholesome pet food for our dogs and cats. Certain brands mislead us with “All Natural!” “Real Chicken!” “Quality Ingredients!” buzz words on their packaging…but the truth can be found in the small print ingredient listing on the back of the bag. 

Earlier this year, pentobarbital (the drug used in euthanasia) was found in Kibbles ‘n Bits, Ol’ Roy, and Gravy Train. The manufacturer, J.M. Smucker, also makes dog treats and cat food. In addition to pentobarbital-related recalls, salmonella, listeria, and thyroid hormones have been found in pet food. Dogs and cats have died, or became extremely ill, at the hands of irresponsible manufacturers with one objective: profit.

Let’s Get Started: 
As pet parents, it is our responsibility and obligation to do the research. You’ll find there are many reputable, high-quality, USA-made pet food brands that won’t break the bank. 

Brands to Avoid:
Keeping your four-legged friend healthy and happy starts with a good diet. When reviewing an ingredient list, keep in mind that ingredients are listed in descending order of predominance. The first 3-4 ingredients are the ones that matter most.

Below are a few dog food brands to avoid, as the first 3-4 ingredients list grains, by-product meal, and fat as the dominate ingredients. When reviewing cat food, the same logic applies. 

Questions to Ask:
When reviewing an ingredient list, ask yourself these questions:

1. Is the first ingredient a meat product? If the first ingredient is a grain (typically corn) or by-product meal, it isn’t the best choice. If your dog or cat has allergy issues, consider a grain-free option all together.

2. Are the ingredients sourced in the USA? As you may have read in the news, food and treats sourced from China are recalled on a regular basis.

3. Is the food GMO-free? If the ingredients list chemicals and/or artificial flavors, it’s best to avoid this pet food option.

Pet Food Review Website:
Dog Food Advisor is an excellent online resource to research dog food prior to making a purchase:
Pet Food Recalls:SELRES_ef83b72b-c262-41a1-a641-5c2b9e20f0d5SELRES_bbb20325-7d8a-44f1-931b-24d835347ea7SELRES_0d481bad-1245-4692-a321-a9b65a3c2bc7SELRES_d9b886ae-05ac-4d77-92bb-05c87c294bdfSELRES_614a8f61-3047-4ee5-a500-1efa283f43c1
Stay up-to-date on all pet food and treat recalls. You can also opt-in to receive email notifications. 

Shop Local: 
A great place to shop for food and treats is at a local pet food/supply store with a focus on pet health and wellness. These types of stores employ a knowledgeable, animal lovin’ staff and sell USA-made, all-natural, and organic pet foods. In the Kansas City area, Four Leg Stretch frequents Brookside Barkery and Bath for Wiley’s food and treats.