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Which is the best meat for my pet?

09/10/2019

A good quality pet food for both cats or dogs is one that contains high levels of good quality protein from named meat and/or fish sources. On the label this will be evident with these being among the FIRST ingredients listed.


But with a plethora of pet food recipes on the market, which meat is best for your pet? Let’s look at some of the options available.


Chicken

Chicken has one of the highest biological values of all the meats, making it an excellent protein source for cats and dogs. It is a good source of tryptophan, calcium, potassium and vitamin B6. Chicken is so widely used in pet foods that allergies can appear to be more prevalent. However, less digestible proteins are a more frequent cause of adverse food reactions, and for dogs and cats that are allergic to chicken protein, there are plenty of other options available.


Lamb

Lamb is another high-quality source of meat protein, and a very tasty one. Lamb is traditionally a popular alternative to chicken for dogs who suffer from allergy or intolerance to poultry meat. Fresh grass reared lamb is a very good natural source of zinc, iron, the B vitamins and the amino acid carnitine.


Pork

Pork is an excellent alternative and novel protein source for dogs who suffer from allergies to the more common meats used in pet foods. It is rich in vitamin B12, niacin (B3), vitamin C, selenium, zinc, iron and phosphorous. A common misconception is that a diet containing pork with be higher in fat. Even though pork is a naturally ‘fattier’ meat, this will be accounted for in the overall recipe, so the total fat level will remain within the optimum range for the pet’s life stage and lifestyle.


Fish

Fish is highly digestible protein source making it a good option for more 'sensitive' pets. For pets with problem skin, fish is a great natural source of essential fatty acids. White fish (such as haddock and whiting) and oily fish (such as salmon and herring) are easy to digest, great tasting, and packed with a variety of vitamins and minerals. Fish has a low antigenicity, meaning that it is less likely to provoke an allergic reaction. The higher levels of the beneficial omega 3 fatty acids EPA and DHA have anti-inflammatory properties and may therefore help in cases where the skin or digestive tract has become irritated. With long-term use, omega 3s may also improve allergy thresholds, and be helpful in cases of both dietary and environmental allergies.


Meat and fish ‘meal’

People sometimes wrongly assume that "meal" is a poor-quality ingredient, and to be avoided. In fact, good quality ‘named’ meals (meaning meal made solely from one species) can serve as extremely nutrient-rich ingredients. A premium meal comprises the clean parts of the animal carcass (including bone and suitable offal) ground up into a fine flour. Only the nutritionally valuable parts of the animal are used (and not indigestible proteins such as feathers, hooves or wool).


A dry pet food that contains some ‘fresh’ meat or fish and some meat or fish meal has the benefit of diversity. Fresh meat and meat meal have different amino acid profiles. Fresh chicken for example supplies more lysine, valine and methionine than chicken meal.


Whichever variety you choose, if your pet’s diet is of a high quality, is nutritionally complete and balanced for their life stage, size and activity level, what’s most important is that your pet is thriving and happily tucking in at mealtimes.


Where is beef on this list?

A diet using high quality beef may be the perfect fit for certain pets. However, it is a meat source which has been commonly associated with adverse food reactions in cats and dogs.


A note on meat and fish sources

A good pet food company will always be forthcoming with current sources of ALL their ingredients including meats. Fish, meats and meal should be selected for quality, consistency and nutrient value. They should be sourced from reputable suppliers adhering to strict criteria and standards stipulated by regulatory bodies.


You can find out about the meat and fish sources used in all the Arden Grange, naturally hypoallergenic pet foods here or contact us.

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