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Author Topic: Whats the most important thing to you when choosing a pet food?  (Read 3757 times)
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Jr. Member
Posts: 24

« on: September 15, 2007, 02:22:38 PM »

I'm not sure if this is the right category but what do you look for when deciding what to feed?  To me its all about the ingredients and how they are labeled.  I am also open to referrals. About half of the brands I've fed have come as recommendations from friends.

Its also important to me that I feed a food that is highly regarded and reads like something I'd eat (almost).  Price "is" also a variable but its really low. I figure, I don't skimp on myself why should I for my babies.

How do you decide what brand to feed?  How involved is your process?
« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2007, 04:49:01 PM »

Before the petfood recall, I only looked at the label and read the ingredient list and check the protein percentage level.  But after the petfood recall, I read Itchmo community reviews on particular brands that I am considering.  I also check the PetFood List to find out who makes the food.  If it is made by Menu, Diamonds or American Nutrition then I have to balance it out to the actual reputation of the brand.  I narrow them down to a few.  Then I look up ingredients on the website.  When there is an ingredient that I am not familiar with, I look it up on the internet to find out what it is and what it does.  In general, this is what's on my checklist:
1.  If possible, not made by Menu, Diamonds or American Nutrition
2.  All meat ingredients should be named sources: chicken, lamb, venison, beef, rabbit, salmon, etc.  I stay away from generic descriptions like "meat"
3. Absolutely No glutens
4. No by-products
5. No corn, soy, wheat, oats (a little rice, millet, barley is OK for my cats)
6. No articficial flavoring
7. No artificial preservatives
8. No food coloring
9. No menadione (synthetic vit. K)
Orange Fuzzball
Hero Member
Posts: 1022

We miss you KD

« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2007, 06:23:23 PM »

I'm no longer in the position to be able to choose the ideal pet food for KD because of her kidneys - I basically have to make do with the least obnoxious of the prescription foods. (Yes, I know that many people don't believe in prescription foods. I'm not happy about it either, and I'd never feed a prescription food to a healthy pet. But she's been diagnosed less than two weeks, and I almost lost her, so I'm sure as hell not taking any chances.) Despite all this, I can still talk about what's important to me in a general sense, and that's ingredients.

Before the recalls, I looked for foods with no corn or wheat, no byproduct meals, no unidentified meat sources, and no artificial preservatives. After the recalls, I added no vegetable protein sources (glutens). When I found a food with acceptable ingredients, I'd check the nutritional breakdown to see if it met her specific needs, which at the time were low calories due to excess weight and low phosphorus due to (at the time mild) renal insufficiency. The recalls prompted me to educate myself, so I got a lot better at reading nutritional analyses (for example, learning how to figure out carbs). These criteria constituted my "needs" list.

If I was ever lucky enough to find a food that met my "needs" criteria, I moved on to the best available food by my "wants" list. This included:

- not from a brand or plant that had recalls (to avoid cross-contamination - this was a "need" at first but had to be demoted to a very strong "want" as I ran out of options)
- knowing where the food is made (none of this proprietary secret crap)
- natural vitamins and supplements rather than artificial
- no grain fragments or "filler" grains without nutritional value (e.g., rice hulls, cellulose)
- least number of unnecessary ingredients (e.g., salt, garlic, brewers yeast, herbs and fruits in tiny quantities that do no good)
- least amount of carbs possible while still meeting her other nutritional needs
- company with a demonstrated good attitude towards its customers, responsible handling of the recall, and commitment to quality safe food
- overall good reputation for quality (Itchmo helped here!)

Price was only a factor in terms of avoiding things that were overpriced. So if two foods were very good, one was only slightly better than the other but cost twice as much, I'd go with the less expensive one.
Hero Member
Posts: 508

« Reply #3 on: September 15, 2007, 08:03:24 PM »

Mine is similar to those lists above:
1.  Protein/Carb/Fat ratio with protein goal of 45 % or greater 
2.  Named protein sources (i.e. chicken, turkey, etc) and 'whole' meats (i.e. no by products)
3. Openly shares information regarding nutrient levels (i.e. phosphorous, calcium, etc)
4. Calories allow two large cats to loose weight (one has reached his goal, the other is close) and small cat to maintain or gain weight.
5. No corn, soy, wheat, (a little rice or oats would be ok)
6. No articficial color, flavor or preservatives
7. No menadione (synthetic vit. K)
8. No recalls if possible for the brand
« Reply #4 on: September 16, 2007, 04:36:20 AM »

I, too, have chosen to feed a prescription food after almost losing CJ twice.  It's certainly not at all what I would pick, given the freedom of having a healthy cat, but she is doing fine on it and I don't want to mess with what's working for her.
IF I could, I would choose grain free, no by-products (high quality protein), only the necessary supplements, simple, fewer ingredients of high quality, and IF AT ALL POSSIBLE, not involved with any recalls (silent or stated). As far as cost, well there's no food that could cost as much as what I've paid (and continue to pay) in vet bills so I'd be willing to pay for a food that met my standards.
« Reply #5 on: September 16, 2007, 07:01:47 AM »

I am not loyal to any one brand as I mix my own from several premium kibbles & really don't feed much of it now.    Ingredients are important & recalls too.   I use some canned & add my own fresh ingredients to each meal as I have always done.   Since the recalls, I no longer buy any commercial treats at all.   I use fresh treats for my dogs/cats.
« Reply #6 on: September 19, 2007, 08:55:18 AM »

1. Named protein sources as primary ingredients, no grains or minimal grains (one of my cats is not able to eat any dry food that is entirely grain-free so far, due to the size and hardness of the kibble)
2. No recalls, silent or announced
3. No artificial colors or flavors
4. Truthful information on how ingredients, including added vitamins, are sourced--no China
5. Real quality control procedures in production (not just fake quality control)
6. That my cats will actually eat it!  (I have very picky cats.)

I would love to see some foods that meet the above criteria and can truthfully document that the meat is produced by sustainable and humane farming methods using no antibiotics, hormones, etc.  I'd also like to see more foods compliant with EU standards, which are far better than those in the US.
Hero Member
Posts: 8531

« Reply #7 on: September 19, 2007, 06:40:40 PM »

kaffee, OF and jenny my list would be the same as yours but I will add one thing - no fish of any kind.

May your troubles be less,
Your blessings be more,
And nothing but happiness
Come through your door
Full Member
Posts: 90

« Reply #8 on: September 20, 2007, 12:04:29 PM »

-no recalls
-no glutens
-no by-products
-lower phosphorus
-lower magnesium
-preferably low carb (I'd prefer grain free, but that's hard to find with low phosphorus)

Unfortunately when you are dealing with kidney disease sometimes you have to compromise and not feed the ideal food, but we try to get as close as possible.
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