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What Makes Pet Food Healthy Anyway?
What Makes Pet Food Healthy Anyway?
April 21, 2020 / Sarah Pritzker
What Makes Pet Food Healthy Anyway?
April 21, 2020 / Sarah Pritzker

What Makes Pet Food Healthy/Natural

Natural or raw pet food is a growing trend among pet parents. The benefits are numerous, and it’s pretty impressive how quickly you can see a difference. Dogs and cats will show shinier, softer coats, better digestion, and more energy levels within the first week. As the weeks go by, you can notice a qualitative difference to your pet’s daily routine, and the switch will even improve their weight (whether they need to lose or gain weight).

But what exactly is natural pet food? Whether you’ve been serving this type of diet for years or you’re just getting turned onto the phenomenon now, here’s everything you need to know about feeding your furry four-legged friends a natural pet food diet.

What Goes into Natural Pet Food

Exactly what goes into natural pet food really depends on which brand you choose from the mix. But there are several standard rules that most of the top names stick to in order to deliver the kind of premium quality your pets deserve. In addition to some good hearty staples like rice and sweet potatoes, here's what goes into the average top quality natural pet food:

Real food

Natural dog foods use the best quality ingredients. In fact, they make their recipes using human-grade food. After all, if it’s good enough for you, it’s good enough for your best friend. Compare that to the junk that goes into processed foods that includes byproducts, fillers, and chemicals you can’t even pronounce. Yikes!

Plenty o’ protein

Getting down to the nitty-gritty, natural pet food brands ensure that your furry friend is getting only the best in every dish. All recipes are packed with premium proteins to promote the healthiest lifestyle for your pet. Read the labels to see the quantities of protein in a meal before you buy it. The good brands will include plenty of proteins, including turkey breasts, chicken, beef, lamb, pork, chicken, turkey, lamb, and beef liver, salmon, tilapia, and eggs.

While it's not essential, many healthy pet food producers also go the extra mile when it comes to quality proteins. They'll use only free-range and responsibly-sourced proteins like hormone-free chickens, high-quality beef and turkey, and pasture-raised lamb.

Fruits and vegetables

In addition to all that protein, natural pet food has generous helpings of fruits and vegetables. You’ll see a hearty helping of veggies like kale, potatoes, carrots, yellow squash, spinach, broccoli, and pumpkin. There’s also a dash of something sweet with heart-healthy fruits that are great antioxidants like blueberries.

Vitamins and minerals

Pack in plenty of vitamins and minerals in every meal. You'll find a heap of the following in your pet's dish at the beginning of mealtime:

  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin B6
  • Vitamin B2
  • Vitamin B1
  • Cholecalciferol
  • Potassium
  • Zinc
  • Manganese sulfate
  • Iron
  • Copper
  • Selenium
  • Choline
  • Taurine

And a lot more. So, your pet is getting a great dose of all of the important vitamins and minerals they need for a healthy, happy life that they can thrive with!

Extras for extra nutrition

Top-quality pet food brands will even go one step further by adding in some extras for an extra boost of health and nutrition. Stirring in things like cod liver oil, chia seeds, coconut oil, and chickpeas gives your natural pet food the boost to superfoods that are loaded with essential vitamins and minerals to make your pet smile.

Again, these ingredients are essential, and you can find plenty of good quality natural pet foods that don’t contain these ingredients. But if you find a brand that you and your pet like with these added details, you know you’ve struck gold.

What’s not included

In addition to pumping their foods with all-natural, healthy, digestion-promoting ingredients, raw and natural pet foods have specific ingredients that they DO NOT include to promote the same healthy standards in every dish. Things like corn, wheat, and soy are the usual fillers used in processed foods. But these ingredients mess with your dog and cat’s stomach, making it harder to digest their food and producing unproductive digestive and urinary tracts.

Natural foods include no artificial flavors, preservatives, or coloring agents.

Our Top 3 Pet Food Services

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  • Vet-formulated, personalized meals for your dog
  • Human-grade ingredients, freshly cooked recipes
  • Free two-day shipping
  • No a la carte ordering
  • Only available for dogs
Ollie is a pet food delivery service with healthier alternatives to the mass-produced, byproduct filled dog food you're used to. Meals offer nutrition on a whole new level, including human-grade ingredients only, nutritionally-balanced meals, and whole foods with every bite. Ollie creates visible differences quickly, like a shinier coat, more energy, and fewer food sensitivities. With free shipping and 60% off your first order, Ollie is a bargain.
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  • Only real foods, human-grade
  • USDA-kitchens for safety and quality
  • Meals are all AAFCO, vet-approved
  • Limited selection of recipes
  • Packages can’t be resealed
Founded by two dog-lovers, The Farmer's Dog was launched to give pet parents a better alternative to the highly-processed, unappetizing, and wholly unnatural dog food options that were on the market at the time. Today, The Farmer's Dog offers human-grade meals that are nutritionally balanced for dogs. So, they're delicious and nutritious, giving your dogs the best of all worlds. The Farmer's Dog meals are made fresh and delivered to your door.
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  • All products are AAFCO-compliant and USDA-certified
  • Customizable meal plans based on age, gender, weight, and breed
  • Recipes formulated by PhD animal nutritionist
  • Food stays good for up to 6 months in the freezer
  • Lots of positive customer reviews
  • All food needs to be frozen or refrigerated
  • Pricier than average pet food brand
  • Meal plans for cats still in development
For those looking to switch their pet to a raw food diet or incorporate more raw food into their regular meals, We Feed Raw is a great option. With customizable meal plans and a range of bulk products, there is something for every dog or cat. The subscription process makes it easy for you to change or cancel your order at any time, and while We Feed Raw is more expensive than regular pet food brands, you get what you pay for in terms of high-quality, USDA-certified meats.

What it Takes to Make Natural Pet Food

In addition to having human-grade, healthy, and nutritious ingredients, natural pet food is made in the most optimal ways to keep your dogs and cats healthy and happy all the livelong day. As The Farmer's Dog puts it, there's a difference between surviving and thriving. To get the most out of life, pet parents feed their pet friends natural meals that are made with the utmost care. For example, quality pet food is:

Made with strict safety and hygiene standards

All of these meals are prepared in optimal health conditions that are careful to comply with health regulations. From USDA kitchens that ensure safety and quality standards to fresh ingredients and production processes, natural health food meals for your pets uphold the kind of quality you'd expect for your four-legged friend. In fact, many meals are delivered fresh. Otherwise, they're flash-frozen (not deep-frozen) to seal in the flavor and preserve freshness.

Meeting nutrition standards

All animals are not the same. A Bernese mountain dog is going to require very different daily nutritional needs than a three-month-old tabby kitten. In order to give your pets the best type of nutritional value for them, meals need to be prepared according to their specific nutritional requirements. But that can be tough as a pet parent. Fortunately, quality natural pet food products are on the ball for this one. Nutritious meals are developed by veterinary nutritionists to ensure that they are nutritionally-balanced and include the right combination of proteins, carbs, fats, vitamins, and minerals.

Additionally, most top name brand pet foods will meet or exceed the standards set by the AAFCO (the Association of American Feed Control Officials). This means that the meals supply the proper amount of nutrients required for dogs’ and cats’ daily nutritional needs. For example, the AAFCO requires that adult dog food contains at least 18% protein.

Personalized meal plans

In addition to the proper nutrition balance, natural pet food brands will let you personalize your meal plans to suit your pet’s needs best. From the age, weight, and breed of your pet to specific allergies and activity levels, your pet profile will help you get the exact meal plan your pet needs.

Choosing the Best Natural Pet Food for Your Pet

It used to be that kibble was the only choice if you wanted to keep a pet well-fed. But in our health-centric society, pet parents are switching to a healthier and more nutritious diet for their pets. And in today’s day and age, options abound. From The Farmer’s Dog to Ollie and Nom Nom Now, there are plenty of delicious options that are both good and good for your pets.

To find a brand that delivers on the kind of quality your pet deserves, do a little research. Read online reviews, compare the various features, and see what kind of food they have to offer. It is also important to make sure your pet food delivery service of choice delivers to your neighborhood.

Go Natural - Your Pets Will Love You For It

It’s 2020, and the time has come for you to go natural...with your pet food at any rate. Help your dogs and cats live happier, healthier, more qualitative lives. With better stool, shinier coats, healthier digestion, and more energy, everyone will be happier with the change. Oh, and before you make the switch to your natural pet food diet, be sure to read these tips on healthier and more successful transitions.

By Sarah Pritzker
Sarah Pritzker is a professional writer who loves scouring the web looking for the coolest products and services at the best prices. Sarah writes for Sarah has lived and traveled all over the world, but has finally settled down with her family in the Middle East - and yes, she misses winter!
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