Monday, January 30, 2012

What is the best food for my pet?

By Lori Blauert 
Owner IB Pet

What is the best food for my pet?
Being an owner of a pet store I get this question a lot from my customers and there isn't a simple answer to this question.  What is best for your dog might not be best for mine.  Should you really feed your pet the same thing everyday?  I know I wouldn't want to eat the same thing everyday so why would I do that to my pet?  I find that variety is key in feeding your pet the BEST diet. There are some things you need to know when selecting a new food for your pet.

1) Read the Ingredients
Ingredients from Nature's Variety Instinct Raw Chicken
The first piece of advice I always offer my customers is to read the label.  The ingredients will be listed in order of greatest to least of quantity in the food.  If corn is the first thing listed then that bag of food contains more corn then anything else and your going to want to throw that bag down and run out the store screaming!  Ok, maybe not, but you don't want to buy that food for your pet.  Find a food that's first ingredients are meats such as chicken, lamb or fish.

Stay away from meat by-products!  These are animals products that are NOT fit for human other words waste (necks, heads, feet, undeveloped babies, and intestines) that would otherwise be trashed by the slaughterhouse but instead these by-products are sold to pet food companies to make pet food.  Yuck!

Avoid food with excessive fillers such as corn, wheat soy, and even rice.  Dogs and cats are carnivores and they thrive on a diet rich in meats not grains and starches.

2) Choose Natural and Organic
Just like most of us do when selecting food for ourselves to eat, I always recommend selecting a food for your pet that is as natural as possible.  Look for meats that are hormone and anti-biotic free and if you can afford it obviously organic is best.  Feeding your pet natural and/or organic foods can help limit skin allergies, improve energy and help your pet maintain a healthier weight.  

3) Moisture is Important
If you're feeding a dry kibble add water to it or incorporate canned and/or raw into your pets diet. Dogs and cats are not designed to eat dry food on a regular basis.  If you think about what they would be eating in the wild, it's far from what most of us feed our dogs and cat everyday.  In the wild your cat would be eating birds and mice and your dog would be scavenging and hunting small animals.  It's natural for them to have a moist diet and moisture aids in proper digestion.  Kidney and bladder stones have also been linked to a lack of moisture in the diet. Cats specifically thrive on a wet food diet with very little or no grains or vegetables.

Tip: My cats are pretty picky eaters and turn their nose up to many of the raw diets I have offered them but they LOVE Rad Cat.  So if you have a picky kitty and want to get them on raw I highly recommend it!

4) Feed a Variety
THK Verve Mixed with Taste Of the Wild Grain Free Kibble
I like to feed a variety of foods to my pets.  I switch up the proteins daily instead of only feeding chicken or beef.  I find that mixing it up keeps my allergy prone pup's symptoms under control because he is not being overly exposed to one specific type of meat.

I prefer to feed raw frozen to my dogs and cats. When I feed dry kibble it is grain free and I mixed with raw, canned or a rehydrated food such as The Honest Kitchen, Sojo's or Artisan by Grandma Lucy's.

I will also feed my dogs raw frozen bones a few times a week.  I feed it as a meal replacement and they LOVE it! It's also excellent for their teeth!

5) Transition Slowly
If you are thinking about changing your pets food, do it slowly.  Switching your pets diet too quickly can result in an upset tummy or ever lose stool.  If you are thinking about introducing raw in your pets diet start with just adding 1 or 2 ounces of meat (depending on the size of your pet) to their regular food.  You might always want to think about adding a probiotics to your pets food to help with digestion.  Probiotics are "good" bacteria or enzymes that naturally exist in your pets intestinal tract.  Years of feeding the same commercial dog food or if your pet has received antibiotics can deplete these good bacteria which can lead to digestive problems.

Feeding your pet a well balanced diet can lead to many long happy years with your pet.  :)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

IB Pet is playing a good game of catch with human health trends

Article originally published in San Diego Pets Magazine.

Russ Blauert has two golden retrievers, two cats and a bunch of chickens and fish. And since he’s the co-owner of IB Pet, it’s a cinch those animals are in the best of hands. IB Pet, after all, brands itself a full-service store—the Imperial Beach facility stocks foods from a variety of companies and places emphasis on healthful, raw-diet components. It offers free-range and organic treats as well as obedience classes; now, it even has a pet food delivery service that covers San Diego County.

Blauert, a New Mexico native who runs the store with his wife Lori, is following a pet-wellness trend that he said has been growing for many years—the perception of the benefits from healthful living. “California’s at the forefront of it,” Blauert explained. “As people focus more on their health, the pet is going to get their health focused on more as well.”

While that philosophy is true, it’s also lagged behind its human counterpart for close to a generation. Human health practitioners have embraced holistic medicine for 30 years and more, making an enormous dent in mainstream traditions—yet only now does the pet industry seem to be catching on. There’s a reason for that, Blauert explained. 

“In the past,” Blauert said, “the food companies didn’t think the consumer would spend as much money on their pet’s health as they’re willing to do. The consumers are showing a willingness to take care of their animals, and in turn, the companies are bringing out more and more good products.”

The American Pet Products Association estimates that owners will spend nearly $51 billion on pet food and services in 2011, a 5 percent increase over the $48.3 billon from the previous year. Blauert cites a similar statistic that stems from personal experience.

“My parents,” he said, “had a pet 20 years ago, when the premium dog food trade was 5 percent of what it is now.” 

IB Pet is doing its part to include the area’s animals in the health-intensive uptick. Blauert said the philosophy behind the trend is simple: If your pet is truly one of the family, it oughta be fed accordingly.

Read more: San Diego Pets Magazine - IB Pet is playing a good game of catch with human health trends