With the nationwide recall of 60 million cans and pouches of some of the most popular and trusted brands of pet food, pet owners are paying increased attention to what is in the food they feed man's best friends.
Nancy Giles, who operates Pet Chef Express in Gardnerville, said she has had several calls about her products since the recall was announced.
Giles said the important thing to consider when choosing an animal's food is to look at the ingredients. For dry food, steer away from brands that list corn or fillers as the first ingredient.
"A lot of them have a lot of corn and there's nothing wrong with that, but if pets are allergic to something, the corn is probably it," Giles said. "Look for a good protein source, a good meat base like eggs, meat or fish. Steer away from fillers because they are not bio-available, meaning they don't get used by your pets."
Also be aware of high amounts of peanut hulls, rice bran, soy hulls or wheat bran, which can damage the digestive tracts of some animals.
With wet foods, pet owners are advised to watch for wheat gluten, used as a thickening agent in many pet food brands, and be cognizant of the type of wet food being used.
"Check to see if you are using a type that says 'balanced diet' or 'just' something like 'just beef' or 'just chicken.' If it's the second one, the food should be used as a supplemental food, but won't provide pets everything they need," Giles said.
Pet owners are also encouraged to talk with their veterinarian about the specific nutritional needs of their pets.
She said her company uses stringent quality controls to ensure their seven varieties of dry dog food, three kinds of dry cat food and two types of wet dog food are safe and nutritional. The ingredients and home delivery do mean a higher price tag, with a 20 pound bag ranging between $18-$27.
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