Pet insurance company Petplan's online blog offers consumer guidelines on selecting a petfood, as cases of petfood contamination and recalls have become more frequent.
A report from Packaged Facts predicted the sales of natural and organic petfoods to grow three times faster than regular petfoods through 2015, though the pet insurance company warns consumers that the two terms are not the same. Petplan says that when a petfood is labeled as "organic," it means the food's ingredients are produced in accordance with National Organics Standard Board guidelines, whereas "natural" petfood does not have this regulation.
“I’ve definitely seen an increase in the ‘What should I be feeding my pet?’ questions during regular veterinary appointments,” says Dr. Jules Benson, vice president of veterinary services at Petplan. “With a topic as important as nutrition, it’s great to see pet parents becoming more educated. Recent studies have shown that pets fed a correctly balanced diet enjoyed an average of an additional three healthy years of life. With so many choices of petfood out there, it’s increasingly important to work closely with your veterinarian and their team to establish what (and how much) your pet should be eating to live life to the fullest.”
Petplan also urges consumers to sign up for petfood safety alerts on the US Food and Drug Administration's recall website. The company says that if consumers are preparing a home-cooked or raw diet for their pet, proper food handling guidelines are available from the US Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service to help avoid foodborne illnesses.