Choosing food for your pet can be overwhelming. Pet food stores are lined with both name-brand foods and diets from smaller, boutique brands. Although artisanal, exotic and grain-free diets may seem healthier, these producers often lack the funding to do quality control testing and research nutritional benefits. Sandra Sawchuk, former clinical instructor at the UW-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine discussed the complication of alternative diets on Wisconsin Public Radio’s The Larry Meiller Show.
These diets can then lead to nutrient deficiencies, particularly in the essential amino acid taurine.
To ensure you know exactly what nutrients your pet is getting, “pick a diet that is made by the manufacturers who can do this important research,” Sawchuk says. If you want your animal to stay on these diets, talk to your veterinarian to ensure your pet is getting the nutrition they need.
Alongside unique food, specialty treats — like pig ears and other body part treats — can also pose a risk to the health of you and your pet. These treats can often be hard and break into small pieces. To prevent choking and chipped teeth, only give these to your pets under supervision. Contamination and diseases also pose a risk with these treats, both for pets and their owners. Ensure treats are made in the United States and wash your hands after handling them to avoid possible contact with bacteria.