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Comparing Pet Foods

"Why do you make so many pet foods?" is a question we are frequently asked at the Purina Pet Care Center. We are providing this information to answer that question and to help pet owners decide which kind of diet is appropriate for their pets.

How Pet Foods Began
Commercial dry dog foods were introduced in the United States during the late 1890’s in the form of baked biscuits made from blended grains, vegetables and meat. The first canned cat foods began as an offshoot of the fishing industry and were manufactured on the east and west coasts where fish were readily available. Many of the early pet foods were collectively labeled "dog and cat food diets," and little was known about the individual nutrient requirements of each species.

Pet Food Research Results In Various Diets
As animal nutritionists began to study the nutritional needs of dogs and cats, certain unique nutrient requirements were established for each species. Cats, for example, require a higher protein level in their diet than dogs.

Advances in pet food research led to the development of various types of diets for dogs and cats. The main categories are dry, semi-moist, soft-dry and canned.

These categories vary in a number of characteristics including cost, palatability and the amount of nutrition delivered per pound of food. Evaluating a pet food diet should include consideration of all these factors.

With today’s advanced technology, all types of dog and cat foods can be formulated to provide complete and balanced nutrition for different life stages. Look for this information on the package label.

Pet Foods To Meet Special Needs
Many pet foods are formulated to meet certain specific nutritional needs of dogs and cats. For example, diets designed specifically for puppies and kittens usually contain higher levels of nutrients they require during their period of rapid growth and development.

Some dog foods are formulated to have higher levels of protein and calories to provide the extra energy dogs need when they are hunting or working. Other dog foods are formulated to be lower in calories and fat to help less active and older dogs maintain normal body weight.

Flavor Preferences
Like people, dogs and cats have flavor preferences. This is why so many flavor varieties are available for pet owner selection. The texture of the food also helps determine an individual pet’s preference. For this reason, a variety of textures as well as flavors is offered.

Information On The Package Label
The feeding instructions, ingredient statement and guaranteed analysis on pet food labels provide basic information about individual pet foods.

The guaranteed analysis and the ingredient statement are not intended to serve as specific measures of the nutritional content of a pet food. However, they may serve as indicators of the overall value of the diet. To get additional information to help you evaluate a pet food, contact the manufacturer.
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