Mason, Oh – A study commissioned by Iams® has revealed that only one in 10 Americans consider the age of their pet when selecting pet food for them.
Most pet owners are not sure which stage of life into which their cat or dog falls, resulting in their pet not receiving the nutrients or nutrients at the right levels critical for optimal health for their age. While life stage can vary between species and breeds, general guidelines include:
- One to 12 months: Kitten and Puppy formula includes DHA for brain and vision development;
- One to seven years: Adult formula includes HMP to keep teeth clean during and after meals, as well as balanced omega 6:3 ratio for healthy skin and coat;
- Seven years and older: Senior formula with L-carnitine helps burn fat and keep muscles lean.
“When choosing a food for your cat or dog it is important to select a diet that has the right ingredients for that stage of your pet’s life,” said Dr. Katy Nelson, DVM, emergency veterinarian, in Alexandria, VA and a member of the Iams Pet Wellness Council. “Diet requirements – including protein levels, calories and vitamins and minerals – vary over the life of a pet and, in turn, an animal’s needs change as he grows from a puppy or kitten, to an adult into a senior,” she added.
Other factors the survey revealed that pet parents consider when purchasing food for their cat or dog include:
- Read Labels – Only one of out of three respondents (30 percent) rank ingredients as the most important criteria for which food to feed their cat or dog. Reading pet food labels is essential to ensure cats and dogs receive optimal nutrition.
- Listen to the Experts – Nearly four out of ten (36 percent) pet owners cite personal recommendations from trusted resources such as veterinarians, as the most important factor of diet selection. Pet parents should consider looking to their veterinarian for nutrition recommendations.
- Invest in Your Pet – Nearly one in four surveyed rank price as a deciding factor when choosing their pet’s food. Feeding pets a proper diet based on age is a lifelong investment in a cat and dog’s health.
It’s always a good idea to discuss your pet’s diet with your vet to make sure that they contain the ingredients they need. Also, research brands to make sure they measure up to their health claims before making a purchase. Ask your vet for several brands that meet your pet’s needs.
The survey was conducted between October 22 – 25, 2010 via an online interview by Ipsos with a sample of 1,006 randomly-selected adults over the age of 18.