Pet Food Trends for 2020
by Jackie Brown
The new decade is all about sustainability, alternative solutions and better food choices.
Our pets are not excluded, as more and more dog owners incline towards smarter and more creative options for their animal’s health and wellbeing. Here are the newest pet food trends that will make you rethink what you know about animal nutritional needs and hopefully incorporate something fresh into your own pet’s diet.
Fruit finally enters the picture
It was only recently that fruit has gained such importance in the dog and cat food industry. Although it can’t fully supplement all the necessary nutrients in an omnivorous diet, it definitely contributes to a well-balanced and high-quality food options.
Fruit like bananas, apples, strawberries, and blueberries are rich in vitamin C and A, antioxidants, potassium, fibre and minerals very beneficial for gut health in our four-legged companions. The best way to incorporate them into your pet’s feeding regimen is by making delicious snacks with mashed fruit and other ingredients like nuts and grains. Sour fruit is not really a go-to option for pets, so you’ll have to somehow mask the flavour and make them appealing. The more variety, the better, in order to achieve optimal results.
That said, not all fruit is safe for animals. Check with your vet if your dog or cat could benefit from a fruity diet and which plants are actually safe. Avocados, cherries and grapes, for example, are not safe for dogs as they contain toxins like cyanide which can be harmful and cause diarrhoea and nausea to your beloved pooch.
As this is developing into a strong trend, there’s an abundance of information on safe fruits for pets and how to properly mix them with other pet food.
Food for puppies or kittens is very specific and needs to be rich in vitamins, minerals and calories to adhere to all their specific growth, development and reproduction needs.
Cannabinoids and their use for dogs
As the alternative medicinal solutions gain more popularity and value, CBD slowly becomes a useful choice for relieving pain, controlling anxiety and even helping with insomnia.
When it comes to pets, cannabinoids can be very helpful and many veterinarians using the holistic approach actually recommend it for different types of inflammation, dog anxiety, seizures and more.
Be careful, though, not to give your pet THC, the psychoactive substance in marijuana, as it is highly toxic for animals. Nevertheless, mainstream medicine finds more and more uses of CBD oil for treating dogs suffering from arthritis, and even cancer.
CBD faces many problems, specifically with legalization and it depends on the country you live in. However, due to many potential health benefits, it’s being excessively researched, so be ready to come across it even more.
Everything has its purpose – sustainability
An ongoing trend in human diets, as well as pet food, has definitely become using meat by-products. The industry has found a way to utilize everything humans consider garbage and turn it into a great nutritional source. Things like rendered poultry fat, internal organs, even feathers are being added to dog food for flavour and calorie boost.
The key is to make a quality combination of ingredients that puts in use all the meat by-products which would normally be wasted, without compromising the needed nutritional value.
Alternative proteins and pets
Although mostly based on meat products, pet food (especially for dogs and cats) does not have to contain meat-based protein. The technology has developed means of fermentation that can produce protein without having an impact on the environment and animal welfare.
Another alternative protein that pet food processors have been experimenting with is insect protein. Yes, it sounds gross, but insects are a great source of good protein and have actually been used in the human diet for centuries, just not something we’re normally used to. Pet food industries use larvae of insects to create protein-rich flour which is then included as an ingredient when making kibble, for example.
Canned food for animals can contain eggs as a great source of protein and other minerals and nutrients. It’s not so revolutionary, but it can definitely serve as a replacement for all the produced meat.
As long as you have spoken with your vet first and understand your animal’s nutritional needs, there’s no harm in trying out these new diet trends. As our perception of the world changes, the rules change, making the choice span much greater. Choose what’s best for your pet’s needs and it won’t matter what’s in or trendy, as long as your animal is healthy and happy.
About the author: Pet expert Jackie Brown has spent 13 years following her passion for animals as a writer and editor in the pet publishing industry. She is contributing writer for National Geographic’s Complete Guide to Pet Health, Behavior, and Happiness: The Veterinarian’s Approach to At-Home Animal Care (April 2019) and author of the book It’s Raining Cats and Dogs.