Homemade vs. Store-Bought Food for Your Pet

There's a lot of debate over buying pet food from the store versus making your own pet food to give your pet the best possible nutrition. Buying commercially made food has a lot of advantages in terms of time saved, nutrition that you don't have to think about, and the knowledge that your pet is most likely going to eat what you give them. However, commercially produced food tends to be a "get what you pay for" product, and many pet owners turn to making food for their pets as it can be less expensive while delivering the same nutrition. Not sure if you should feed your pet store-bought food or go homemade? Talk to an expert in veterinary internal medicine in Bend for advice. Meanwhile, here's a look at the differences between homemade and store-bought pet food:

Store-Bought Pet Food: Is it Up to Dietary Standards for Pets?

Commercially produced pet food must be manufactured according to regulations enforced by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and some states. The State of Oregon requires pet food makers who use meat in their products to obtain a license for manufacture, adding another layer of quality control to your pet's food. Yet another measure of commercial pet food quality is the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) which has established the nutritional standards that need to go into the manufacture of pet food to create a balanced and complete food. Pet foods that meet the AAFCO standards will have the acronym of the association on their label.

Dogs are like humans in their nutritional needs in that they need fats, carbs, proteins, vitamins and minerals, and can derive them from the same sources as people. Cats have these nutritional needs along with the addition of arginine and taurine, two amino acids they can't generate on their own. Store-bought foods that are made to the FDA and AAFCO standards provide cats and dogs with these nutrients.

Are all commercially manufactured pet foods created equal? No, but you do have a lot of options for quality food to choose from as a pet-owning consumer. You can learn more about what ingredients are good for your pet the next time you bring them to your cat and dog vet in Bend. Our Bend veterinarians at Blue Sky can give you advice on what ingredients to look for and which ones to stay away from.

Homemade Pet Food May be More Work Than You Expect

Both cats and dogs have different nutritional needs which means extra work if you want to prepare them food at home. One of the more popular homemade pet food diets is known as BARF, or bones and raw food. The major issue with BARF for dogs is the fact that it's not easy to get a good nutrient balance from raw foods. The same goes for cats due to their biological need for arginine and taurine, something that's lacking in a raw or homemade pet food diet.

You can add supplements to the ingredients when you're putting together your pet's meals, but you can't be sure that your pet is consuming enough of the necessary nutrients. If a pet doesn't get enough of their vital nutrients, they don't function well and start to decline. It's something that requires a visit to the dog and cat vet in Bend to resolve and get them healthy again.

Not sure which way to go with your pet's food and nutrition? Call our vet clinic in Bend for an appointment with your vet and pet. Our Bend veterinarians give your pet an evaluation for overall health and condition and can advise you on the best way to feed your pet and help them live a healthy, happy life.

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