Step 1

Choose a lifestage for your pet

a)      Puppy/Kitten

b)      Adult

c)       Senior

Lifestage diets are specifically formulated for the changing needs of animals as they go through life.


Step 2

Choose a diet appropriate for the lifestyle of your pet.  Most foods are for the average pet but if your pet fits into a particular category (examples below) then you should really aim to target the diet to be more specific to your pets lifestyle.  Feeding the wrong lifestyle diet can lead to clinical problems from inappropriate weight loss/gain to vomiting, diarrhoea and skin disease.

a)      Light diets – for animals that are prone to weight gain

b)      Working/performance diets – for animals that receive greater levels of exercise than the average pet

c)       Sensitive/hypoallergenic diets – for dogs with skin/gut problems


Step 3

Choose the type of food you feel is appropriate.   There are advantages and disadvantages of every diet type but generally you need to ensure that somewhere on the label is the word “complete”.  This ensures everything in the bag/tin/pouch is balanced with all the nutrients necessary.

a)      Wet food – tins, pouches, trays of food.  These have a higher water content than dry foods and are best for animals with kidney or bladder problems.  In cats there is an argument for using these routinely to ensure adequate water intake to prevent kidney/bladder problems

b)      Dry food – This is a concentrated food that requires less to be fed and also has the advantage of helping to prevent dental disease.  It is also generally cheaper on an ‘amount per day’ basis

Step 4

Check the ingredients list.  The ingredient present in the highest concentration is legally put first on the ingredients label.  The sign of a good quality food is one that lists a particular meat such as ‘chicken’, ‘turkey’, ‘duck’, ‘lamb’, etc.  The term ‘meat and animal derivatives’ which is on most supermarket foods.  This is defined as “any meat or animal by-product” There is no requirement to specify what it is – or even what species it comes from. This term can be used to hide unhealthy or undesirable ingredients, and to enable the manufacturer to change the protein source with every batch without changing the label.


For more information about choosing an appropriate diet for your pet contact the surgery and speak to our vet or nursing team