At Little Bit we get asked a lot of good questions about Pet Food and what the difference is:
Below we answer some of your questions:Feel free to ask your own in our contact page and
we’ll answer them as best as possible.
1. Whats the difference between box store pet food and specialty food?
This is a very good question and every pet owner should know about this.
All pet foods must list the ingredients present in the food. The ingredients must be listed in order of weight. This is one of the best ways to determine the quality of the food. With a little knowledge of the ingredients, you can choose a food that is highly digestible and free of unwanted products. Be careful of one tactic used by manufacturers to disguise less desirable ingredients. Breaking an ingredient into several different smaller ingredients and listing them individually is used to lower these undesirable ingredients farther down the ingredient list. For example, a product list could contain chicken, ground corn, corn gluten, ground wheat, corn bran, wheat flour, wheat middling, etc. If we were to group all of the corn ingredients as one, they would probably far out-weigh the amount of chicken, and wheat. As a consumer, you must read all of the ingredients carefully including the ingredients at the end, to know the type of preservatives and colorings that are used.
2. Why shop at Little Bit when pet food is cheaper someplace else?
Answer: At Little Bit we are very price competitive with all our products! Plus pound for pound the nutritional value of Little Bits chosen brands exceed that of almost any boxstore brands. All money aside think of the difference like this, Would you eat every day at McDonalds? If your pet is fed good quality food it wont need as much …..and will live a longer, happier life!
Nutritional Pet Food Questions and Answers
The following questions and answers apply to dog and cat food only:
(if you have any other questions on this topic please email firstname.lastname@example.org and put “nutrition question” in the subject line. We will do our best to answer your questions.)
Q: What should the first ingredient be in dog & cat foods?
A: The first ingredient should be a meat. The meat should be specific as to what type of meat and listed as Chicken or Chicken meal for example. It should not read “animal, poultry, or by product”.
Q: What are the main ingredients pets are allergic to?
A: Corn, wheat and soy. Pets can be allergic to other grains as well and sometimes even some meats. But the three biggest problems lie with corn, wheat and soy.
Q: If my pet is scratching does that mean he or she has a food allergy?
A: Not necessarily. This could be the case, but if the scratching is only during certain seasons it may be something that is in the air such as pollen or other airborne allergens. It could also be fleas. Some will scratch incessantly due to fleas and some will hardly be affected at all. If seasonal and flea allergies are ruled out, then it is probably a food allergy.
Q: Is it true that soy causes pets to have gas?
A: Yes! If your pet has excessive amounts of gas check the ingredients on the bag of what you are feeding to see if there is any soy on the list. Eating really fast/gulping can also cause gas in dogs and cats. To slow them down, place a large ball or rock in their bowl so they have to eat around it and they will automatically have to slow down to navigate around the object.
Q: How many times a day should I feed my pet?
A: Cats can generally “free feed”/have food left down. Ocassionally, you will come across a cat that is a “glutton” and will eat all of the food put down in one sitting. These cats should be fed a limited amount of food once or twice a day. Dogs should never have food left out for them to pick at. They should be fed once or twice a day (twice a day until at least 4 months of age for puppies). Dogs that “free feed” usually become picky eaters. It is also hard to housebreak and develop a potty schedule if you don’t know when they have eaten last.
Q: How can you tell if a dog or cat is digesting his/her food well?
A: Both dogs and cats will have small, firm stools if their food is a well made, highly digestible diet. There will also be a lot less stool to pick up than with a less inferior, less digestible product.
Q: Does high protein in a diet cause kidney failure?
A: No, this is a myth. While a pet with kidney failure may need to go on a lower protein diet to protect the kidneys, high protein does not actually cause kidney failure.
Q: Why does my cat get so many hairballs and what can I do about it?
A: Longhaired cats get more hairballs than shorter haired cats, but shorthair cats can get them too. Hairballs accumulate because cats groom themselves more thoroughly, unlike dogs. Cats take in more fur because of their rough tongues. Originally, outdoor cats would eat grass on occasion, to help move the fur along and pass it out with their feces. Today, more and more cats are kept indoors and do not have access to the fiber in grass to aid in the digestion and removal of hairballs. That is why it is important to use a “hairball formula” food for longhaired cats or any indoor cat that has a problem digesting and passing hairballs.
Q: My dog is hyper, are there any adjustments I can make to her diet to calm her down?
A: Possibly. Some dogs will naturally be more energetic than others. Sometimes puppies just need to outgrow the high activity stage and some remain more energetic than others throughout their entire life. Some breeds are more energetic than others as well. (ie: Siberian Husky vs. English Bulldog) However, if your dog does not currently require a puppy diet and does not lose weight easily, try a lower protein/lower fat diet to see if it helps with excessive energy and anxiety.
Q: Why should I choose a grain free diet over a diet with grains?
A: If your dog has allergy to one grain, he or she will probably have allergies to others. A grain free kibble will eliminate all of the grains and still provide your dog with optimal nutrition. If your dog does not have any grain allergies it is ok to feed a food with grains as long as the grains are of high quality and processed into a form that is most bioavailable (easily digestible) for your dog. Same goes for cats. Dogs can not digest corn in any form.
Q: Why are some foods so inexpensive and others so much more expensive?
A: The saying, “You get what you pay for” applies to pet foods too. If you pay $8 for a 20lb. bag of food, expect lesser quality ingredients and resulting medical issues because of the malnutrition due to not enough nutrients being absorbed from the food. Generally, the more expensive the food, the higher the quality and digestibility. Expect to pay more for grain free diets because grains are less expensive than the fruits and vegetables used to replace them. The average price for kibble with highly digestible ingredients is $1.20 – $1.60 per pound. So, with the scenario above, a decent 20lb. bag of kibble should be at least $24.00.
Q: How should dry dog food be preserved?
A: Dry dog and cat foods should be preserved with Vitamin E, also known as “Mixed Tocopherols”. Vitamin E is a natural preservative whereas BHA, BHT & Exthoquin and others, are all chemicals.
Q: How much food should I feed my dog? Cat?
A: There are recommended feeding guidelines on every bag of dry and canned food. These are estimates only and the amount you feed will vary on the pet’s individual activity levels, whether or not he or she is spayed or neutered, age and current health status. Adjust the amount of food fed until you can feel his/her ribs easily without poking or prodding to search for them. If the ribs are easy to see from across the room, then the pet is probably too thin. (exceptions are greyhounds and other sight hounds, and canine athletes like long distance sled racing dogs, where the conformation and coats of these breeds allows for seeing the ribs easily)
Q: How long should my cat be fed kitten food?
A: Until one year of age.
Q: How did my dog (or cat) get diabetes? I don’t feed him/her any sugar.
A: Cats and dogs get diabetes from too much fat in their diets and becoming overweight. That is why it is important to feed pets a low fat diet if they are inactive/less active. Feeding table scraps or anything with sugar, on a regular basis, will add to the pets weight issues as well. For dogs and cats, fat is the source of energy that, when given too much of, affects the pancreas’ ability to produce insulin or produce enough insulin, and diabetes occurs. Keeping both cats & dogs lean will almost always prevent diabetes unless there is a hereditary predisposition towards it, which has been known to happen in some families.
Q: I just switched foods and my dog/cat has diarrhea. What could the problem be?
A: The food could have been switched too fast. Sometimes when switching brands or formulas too fast the pet will develop diarrhea because his/her stomach needs time to adjust. It is recommended to slowly blend the new food with the old food over a period of 5-7 days. Start with a small amount of the new food and gradually increase it while decreasing the old food over this period of time. If you have already ran out of the old food it is best to fast the dog/cat for one day (24 hours) before going “cold turkey” to the new food. (24 hour fast not recommended for toy breeds, kittens, or little pups since they are prone to blood sugar drops)