A nutrient rich, well balanced diet is the foundation for a healthy pet. A healthy diet will improve a pet’s coat, strengthen an immune system, help the digestive system and lead to a healthier pet. At times it can seem as if the labels are written in a foreign language. Here are a few things to look for on each bag:

The food should meet the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) standards.

While words such as gourmet, premium, and natural sound fancy, but in reality they most likely do not have an official definition nor are they required to have any higher nutritional standard.

When reading the ingredients, note the order in which they are listed. The first ingredients on the package are the most abundant by weight. Keep in mind that the moist ingredients are often listed at the top because of the high moisture content.

The animal by-products in pet food are comprised of highly digestible and nutritious organs, like the liver and lungs. Unlike many advertisements, the by-products are fit for human consumption, but as popular as the skeletal meat we traditionally consume.

Select a food that is designed especially for your pet’s weight, lifestyle and reproductive needs. There are formulas designed for each life stage and will help achieve a healthy diet.

It is never a bad idea to do a little research on the brand. Check to see what other pet owners are saying and do your homework to find information on any potential recalls they may have had.

When in doubt, check with you veterinarian to see what they recommend. Your pet’s diet is a key component in leading a healthy and active life.