There are animal, pet owner, and product factors to consider when selecting a diet:
- Animal factors:
- Species—cats have more stringent nutrient requirements than dogs.
- Life stage—puppies and kittens have more stringent nutrient requirements than adults.
- Spay/neuter status—intact animals typically require more calories and may need a more energy dense diet.
- Activity level—a sedentary animal may need a less energy dense diet.
- Health status—certain disease conditions may warrant special dietary intervention.
- Client factors:
- Cost—can the owner afford the diet?
- Convenience—is the food readily available?
- Personal preference—does the owner prefer to feed only dry food?
- Personal values/beliefs—is the owner looking specifically for a natural diet or a vegetarian diet due to personal lifestyle?
- Product (diet) factors:
- Is the diet complete (contains all required nutrients1,2) and balanced (all nutrients in proportions1,2) for the species and life stage?
- Is the diet palatable? Will it be eaten willingly and in sufficient amounts to keep the pet in ideal body condition?1,2
- Is the diet formulated so nutrients can be absorbed and utilized by the body?1,2
- Is the diet free of toxins, contaminants, and unsafe ingredients?1,2