Saturday, February 25, 2012

Lists of Top Pet Foods: Who Creates Them and How?

Selecting a pet food for your dog or cat can be complicated. There are so many to choose from and without specific pet nutrition knowledge, how can pet parents possibly know what’s best? There are many sources of information: Pet stores, websites, vets, pet forums, blogs and the media. Lists of Top Pet Foods often pop up in those places to help pet parents make decisions. However, it isn’t always clear how reliable the sources are or what criteria is used when recommending one food over another.  Here are some questions you can ask yourself when you see a list of top pet foods, before letting it influence your choice of food for your dog or cat.    

Is the Source of the Top Pet Food List Informed and Objective?  

First, take a look at the source of the information. General lifestyle websites, magazines, and other forms of media sometimes write about pet-related topics, since so many of us love our animals like children. Then in the next issue, the same reporter may write about the price of gasoline. A source that is specific to pets, dogs, or cats is much more likely to have authors who are educated on pet topics. That said it is not enough to blindly accept recommendations on your pet’s health just because the source is pet-related. An expert on squeaky toys may know very little about your dog’s nutrition.  

Further, the pet foods appearing on any given “Best of” list can vary greatly, depending upon the author creating the guide. Look to see if the website, blog, or radio show is sponsored by a pet food company.  Does the pet health professional endorse a particular food whose advertising you see in the banner of the blog? Do they disclose any such arrangement? Looking for what might have motivated the author to suggest certain pet foods over others can help you weed out any bias.  

Also, is the writer making recommendations based upon proven, animal nutrition science? Be careful to recognize when you are reading an editorial instead of a well-researched article. Editorials are opinions. Sometimes they are not even accurate or based on facts. Their authors can contradict themselves, such as the natural dog publication editor who does not include any food with animal plasma on the magazine’s best pet foods list, justified only by “gut instinct.” This same publication advocates feeding raw food, which is rich in plasma.  Further, science supports the nutritional benefits of adding plasma back into processed dry kibble, making it more carnivore-appropriate and providing many of the essential nutrients required by pets (1, 2).  Using nutritional facts to select your pet’s food is more likely to result in the best choice.  

What Criteria Were Used to Select the Top Pet Foods?  

As mentioned earlier, the pet health credentials of the source should be considered when evaluating any pet food recommendation. Another important piece of information is the criteria used to select the pet foods appearing on any top pet foods list. The most reliable sources will tell pet parents how they are making their selections, instead of assuming the reader will just accept their suggestions, no questions asked. Below are three examples of Top Pet Food lists Nature’s Logic has appeared on recently  ̶  and why!  

#1 - TruthAboutPetFood.com – List of Top 10 Foods  

Susan Thixton is the publisher of PetsumerReport.com. Since 2006, she has been reporting on the pet food industry in an effort to reveal good players and irresponsible ones. She also advocates on behalf of pet parents for more strict regulations in pet food production. Her mission is to help pet owners find a pet food free of dangerous chemicals, risky imports, and inferior ingredients. When compiling her List of Top 10 Pet Foods, Susan cited the following criteria she used: a) quality of ingredients, b) transparency & customer service, c) her knowledge of pet food industry, d) integrity of the company (3).  

#2 - DogFoodAdvisor.com - Top Dog Foods  

The author of this list, Dr. Mike Sagman, is a physician. To create his list, he researched public sources, medical libraries, and pet food company information, basing his recommendations largely on the food’s ingredients. Dr. Sagman feels that “no dog food can ever be magically better than the ingredients that were used to make it.” (4)  

#3 - English Bulldog News Forum - Top 5 Foods  

This online group of English Bulldog breeders and owners created their list to specifically address one breed. English Bulldogs are more likely to suffer from allergies and to be more sensitive to certain ingredients than other dogs. The group’s food selections were based upon research that included ingredients, additives, vitamin content, and cooking times. They used pet food labels, online articles, Wikipedia, and “most of all, member testimonials” (5).   

If the sources are unknown, lack credibility due to bias or failure to disclose criteria and scientifically-supported animal nutrition facts for their recommendation, the list may not prove that useful in your hunt for the best food for your pet. Instead, use a list that tells you these important details. In addition, do your own research. Learn about pet food ingredients, read the labels, then make your own decision.  

About Nature’s Logic 

Nature’s Logic has appeared on many other lists of top pet foods, even receiving 5 Stars and #2 rankings on a couple. However we did not list them here because we were unable to verify the credentials of the author. In addition, several did not publish the criteria used for selecting the foods on the list and did not respond to requests for that information.  

Nature’s Logic is the pioneer in truly natural pet foods. The company makes the first and only full line of dry kibble, canned, and raw frozen diets with NO chemically-synthesized vitamins or minerals. Rich in natural nutrients, Nature’s Logic foods contain complete and essential nutrition for dogs and cats, without the addition of any man-made substances. For more information, go to www.natureslogic.com 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Sardine Oil Can Help Your Pet’s Dry Winter Skin

Winter weather in many parts of the world can lead to dry, itchy skin for pets. Excessive shedding, scratching and dander production might mean your dog or cat could benefit from supplement containing omega-3’s. These essential fatty acids are well-known for their ability to help pets with dry, itchy skin and to promote a healthy coat. In fact, clinical studies in dogs determined that those given a diet with higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids had healthier skin and coat than those dogs fed a more standard diet. Sardine oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and a good addition to your pet’s diet.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Three Ways to Support Your Dog’s Heart Health

February is American Heart Month, and a good time to review heart health for everyone in your family, including your four-legged friends. Surprisingly, researchers estimate that approximately 10% of all dogs have heart disease1 and that the incidence of increases to over 60% in older dogs.2  Integrative wellness veterinarian, Dr. Karen Becker,  has this suggestion for protecting your dog's heart health: “Feed a high quality, species-appropriate diet, which meets your pet's nutritional requirements for optimal protein and amino acid levels, healthy fat and coenzyme Q10.”3 This broad recommendation can be broken down into specific things to look for in your pet’s food to support his heart health.