MANHATTAN, Kan., Sept. 20 (UPI) -- A U.S. veterinarian warns so-called natural pet food may not always be best for pets.
Susan Nelson of Kansas State University says pet owners should not assume that what is good for humans -- like lots of fruits and vegetables -- is also healthy for their pets.
"Natural and veggie-based pet foods are based more on market demand from owners, not because they are necessarily better for the pet," Nelson says in a statement.
Cats and dogs have specific nutritional needs that some of these foods may not provide, Nelson says. She advises looking for labels from the Association of American Feed Control Officials, which sets minimum standards for the nutritional adequacy of diets.
Consumers should be wary of any pet food company that claims to have organic or holistic food because they don't exist by the association's definition, Nelson says.
Consumers should also pay attention to food ingredients, she says. For instance, cats and dogs should not eat onions or garlic. While flaxseed oil can provide fatty acids for dogs, cats can't use it for this purpose and any manufacturer that uses these ingredients should be avoided.