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Natural Awakenings South Jersey

Ten Healthy Pet Foods For Fido

Oct 29, 2021 10:58AM ● By Nancy Seigle

by Sheila Julson 

Many pet parents switched to grain-free pet foods after a 2007 recall of pet food made with contaminated grains from China. The popularity of wheat- and grain-free human diets also fueled interest in grain-free pet foods. 

In 2018, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration began investigating reports of canine dilated cardiomyopathy in dogs eating certain pet foods labeled as grain-free. Most such dog foods contain potatoes or legumes as fillers in lieu of wheat, corn or soy. (This research is ongoing, and a relationship between grain-free diets and the development of DCM hasn’t been fully proven.)  

To help in determining whether or not to go grain-free, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the American Kennel Club and the Pet Nutrition Alliance note that all grains aren’t necessarily bad for dogs. Some dogs have trouble digesting heavy grains like wheat, corn, oatmeal or soy—grains that also tend to be the most genetically modified. However, flax seed, quinoa and brown rice, along with antioxidants like blueberries and kale, can be beneficial to our four-legged friends. Meat should be the number one ingredient. 

The World Small Animal Veterinary Association suggests that consumers also consider if the pet food company employs doctorate-level nutritionist; the quality control process for ingredients and finished products; and company transparency. Most importantly, talk to your veterinarian when choosing pet food.

Here are 10 pet food brands that put meat first and carefully source the ingredients.

Freeze-fried Raw and Fresh Foods

Stella & Chewy’s responsibly sources grass-fed, free-range, wild and farm-raised proteins. They do not use preservatives or ingredients sourced from China. They make dog and cat food.

Vital Essentials mini-nibs are available in chicken, rabbit or beef flavors. This brand of freeze-dried raw food has no added hormones, antibiotics, colors, fillers or flavorings. 

Dr. Marty’s Premium Freeze-Dried Raw foods was developed by integrative veterinarian Dr. Martin Goldstein, with a goal of preventative nutrition. He has offered pet nutrition advice on The Oprah Winfrey Show and Good Morning America. 

The Farmer’s Dog brand of fresh food incorporates human-grade, high-quality digestible proteins.

Kibble and Canned Foods

American Journey varieties list meat as the first ingredient, along with healthy grains such as flaxseed, and carrots and blueberries. 

Merrick Classic Healthy Grains use digestible recipes that balance protein, fruits, vegetables and ancient grains, along with omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. 

Nature’s Logic is a high-protein-formulated food with chicken meal as the first ingredient, along with chicken fat and healthy grains like millet. It comes in venison, beef and pork varieties. 

Canidae All Life Stages canned dog food lists the first five ingredients as chicken, chicken broth, chicken liver, egg product and brown rice. It’s free from wheat, corn and soy. 

Rawz has real meat as the first ingredient in their dry and wet food for dogs and cats, along with chicken and turkey liver. The company donates to animal-related causes. 

Taste of the Wild dog and cat food boasts that its protein sources are based off a dog’s or cat’s natural diet. Every formula has a first ingredient of real meat, fish or fowl. 

Sources: Pet Nutrition Alliance, World Small Animal Veterinary Association, American Kennel Club, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and U.S. Food and Drug Administration. 




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