You are what you eat, and we all want to be the best version of ourselves. The same goes for our pets. The quality of your pet’s food can directly impact their quality of life. Weight, coat condition, and even joint health are affected by the type of food your pet eats.
So what should you feed your pet? There are so many choices that it can be hard to decide. Which diets are truly good for your pet? And what’s just a trend?
Fresh food diets are becoming more popular, with some retailers even devoting refrigerated cases to fresh pet foods. Today we’re going to get fresh with you! We’ll give you all the tools you need to decide if a fresh food diet is the right choice for your pet. Let’s get started and take a fresh look at the way we feed our pets!
What Is A Fresh Food Diet?
We’re all familiar with kibble. A traditional kibble diet is made with ingredients that have been cooked down at very high heat, often using pressure to form the individual pieces. To stay shelf-stable, kibble diets use preservatives to maintain freshness.
If you’re not so keen on preservatives in your pet’s food, we don’t blame you! That’s why we’ve been researching fresh food diets. A fresh food diet is exactly what it sounds like. Whole foods with few or no preservatives are lightly cooked but remain totally recognizable. Oftentimes, you can see the carrots, peas, and meat pieces in the food.
It’s important to note that a fresh food diet shouldn’t be confused with a raw food diet. Raw diets include raw meats, including organ meat, bones, and sometimes dairy. There are many pet nutrition experts who highly recommend feeding a raw diet. We recommend doing your own research to select the best option for your pet.
If you’re leaning toward fresh food, you’re in luck! You can have a fresh food diet custom-made and delivered to your door, you can purchase from a pet retailer, or you can even make it yourself!
Benefits Of A Fresh Food Diet For Your Pet
In addition to containing ingredients you can recognize, a fresh food diet has other benefits for your pet.
It’s Easy To Avoid Allergens
Since fresh food diets can be customized and have a short ingredients list, you can easily avoid accidental exposure to allergens. Most allergies in pets are to the proteins in their food. A fresh food diet is a great way to work in novel proteins (proteins with lower allergy risk due to low exposure) and avoid cross-contamination.
They Make Calorie Counting Easier
The truth is, there is an obesity epidemic with our pets. Highly processed ingredients and vague nutritional information certainly aren’t helping. Obesity leads to other health problems like muscular and skeletal dysfunction, diabetes, heart disease, and even bladder stones.
Fresh food diets are developed by veterinary nutritionists. The age, size, and activity level of your pet are a major part of how a custom meal plan will be developed. This means your pet will get the right balance of nutrients and calories to stay fit and healthy as they age.
Easy To Digest
The ingredients in a fresh food diet are prepared in a way that makes them easy to digest. This means the nutrients in the food have better bioavailability and your pet is getting the maximal nutritional benefit. Fresh food diets are full of healthy fiber which has the added benefit of keeping your pet’s bowel movements regular.
Healthy Skin and Shiny Coat
A fresh food diet is rich in amino acids and healthy fats. These are the building blocks of supple, smooth skin and a silky, beautiful coat.
Choosing A Fresh Food Diet For Your Pet
When choosing a fresh food diet for your pet, make a list of the most important dietary concerns you have for your pet. A few things to look for based on your list:
Do they offer a variety of recipes? This is especially important if you have a pet with allergies. Opt for a product that offers a range of recipe options.
Where do they source their ingredients? This answer should be easy to find on a company website. If it isn’t, don’t be afraid to inquire. Fresh food companies should be transparent about how and where they source their ingredients.
How customizable is it? Questionnaires can be a pain to fill out, but the more details the food service asks about your pet, the better a plan will be customized for them.
Do they make fresh meals for your variety of pets? Many fresh pet food services only provide services for dogs. If you’re a cat person, don’t give up hope, there are fresh food options for cats!
Are their recipes developed with a veterinary nutritionist? Meals developed with a veterinary nutritionist will have the correct balance of nutrients for your pet and will be the best at meeting your pet’s unique nutritional needs.
If you’re thinking of making your pet’s meals yourself, make sure you work with a veterinary nutritionist. Without recipes provided by an expert, you may accidentally leave gaps in your pets nutrition. These gaps can, over time, be detrimental to your pet’s health.
Where To Start
We know that the internet can be totally overwhelming when you decide to sit down to find a fresh pet food company. To save you some time, we’ve listed a few popular and well-reviewed services to give you some ideas. But please note that Pet Waggin’ does not directly endorse any of these companies! As always, you’ll want to do your own research.
Benefiting From Fresh Food On A Kibble Diet
Due to time or expense, you may have to stick with a high quality kibble diet. But this doesn’t mean your pet can’t still enjoy and reap the benefits of fresh foods.
Many fresh fruits and vegetables make great healthy snacks for your pet.
Blueberries are full of antioxidants and make a great low calorie treat. They’re also low in sugar and are often recommended as an alternative treat for diabetic pets.
Green beans are a good source of fiber, and added to kibble, they can make smaller portions more filling for pets on a reduced calorie diet.
Carrots are a great crunchy snack full of vitamin A and Beta Carotene.
Additionally, you can share some yummy proteins with your dog too. Lightly cooked, unseasoned chicken, turkey, or beef makes for a great, fresh addition to your pet’s bowl.
Whatever you choose, we know that you’re doing the best you can for your pet. Have any questions about fresh feeding? We’re here to help!