There are many ways to choose your pet’s food. Some people just buy what is on sale at the grocery store or their local pet store, or they buy the food that has a picture of a cute dog or cat on the label; in both cases without thinking about the ingredients. That may not be the best way to ensure your pet is getting the healthiest food available. Recently, human nutrition advocates have taught us to examine food labels to identify what is in our food and to look for healthy ingredients and avoid unhealthy ingredients ones.
You can do the same with your pet’s food, read the label and see exactly what is really in that food you are about to feed your best friend. Does it contain ingredients you recognize or does it contain a lot of it chemical sounding additives?
As pet lovers and a pet industry brand, Petnet, has conducted considerable research in this area, examining and evaluating pet food ingredients. Our research led us to create the Petnet Food Score to help our customers easily make smart food choices. This system scores most popular brands, based on the ingredients found in the food and the overall quality.
However, there is another approach you could take when it comes to choosing a specific food for a pet that we call “endemic matching”, that takes pet food recommendations to a whole new level.
Endemic matching takes a breed’s geographic origin into account and matches that breed to foods that contain ingredients available in that geographic region. This approach is similar to the “paleo” diet approach. The aim of the human paleo diet is to return to a way of eating that's more like what early humans ate, including lean meats, fish, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds — foods that in the past could be obtained by hunting and gathering. The diet's reasoning is that the human body is genetically mismatched to the modern diet that emerged with farming practices, including dairy products, legumes and grains, but is matched perfectly to the foods that were available when humans first roamed the earth..
The underlying philosophy behind our breed specific, endemic matching is quite simple. Not only does it make sense for your pet to eat less refined or processed foods, but the geographic region where a breed originated, by definition, will determine the types of foods that were available to that breed. This local availability ensures the breed’s body is well suited to digest these foods as they are the foods their ancestors ate to survive and thrive.
For example, a dog that originated near the ocean (Labrador Retriever) would likely thrive on saltwater fish (among other things). In some ways, their body was ‘meant’ to eat these fish. Or a cat that originated in the deserts of Africa (Abyssinian) would thrive on a meatier diet reflecting the goats, wild boar or gazelle they fed on. We may want to give our pets the opportunity to thrive on these types of foods in their day-to-day diet.
If you want to see our recommendations for your pet’s breed, go to https://petnet.io/smartshop and try it out. We currently have the full AKC list of dog breeds (and are adding more from other organizations) as well as the full list of cat breeds from the Cat Fancier's Association.