Everybody knows that an all-natural diet is a healthy diet. It's no coincidence that what's good for you is also good for your dog and cat. It's also no secret that – aside from the buzzwords – most people don't know enough about what “all-natural” means.

We are surrounded by eco-friendly, holistic catch-phrases: all-natural, free-range, green, organic. However, most of us don't look beyond the words on the label to understand exactly what they are paying for when opting for these newer, healthier alternatives. Natural foods – simply stated – are those that contain no artificial additives or preservatives. When you and I are shopping at the grocery, this is what we are finding in our natural foods aisle. Are the rules the same when it comes to our pets?

In a sense, yes. Our dogs and cats are just as vulnerable to the negative affects of artificial food supplements as you and I are. These can lead to a number of negative health issues that will affect your pet's quality of life. However, when it comes to a pet's diet, “natural” usually also means “species specific.”

Although many pet food manufacturers probably have good intentions and stand behind their products, the ingredients in mainstream dog foods seem to indicate that quality can suffer in the name of profits. A quick look at what goes into most commercial dog and cat foods, reveals a make-it-cheap mentality that can cause negative effects on your pet's health. Many manufacturers use “4D” meat in their pet foods. “4D” is a category that includes meat that comes from diseased, down, dying and dead animals. These ingredients are then combined with grain fillers to create the cheapest products possible.

“4D” meat may seem utterly unpalatable to you and I, but your dog has a digestive system that can handle less than optimum meats. However, like most pet owners, you probably want more nutritious ingredients going into your dog's meal. As far as grain fillers go, your dog and cat have no need for these things in their diet and are not benefiting from them in any way. Add a nasty mix of sugar, salt, cancer-causing chemicals and preservatives; cook any remaining nutrients out, and you've got yourself a standard can of dog or cat food. Is there a better way?

There are a number of alternatives for your pet that are healthy and species specific. A species specific pet diet is one that is geared to match your pet's nutritional needs, without negative or superfluous ingredients. For instance, your cat is a carnivore. Your cat needs meat and meat only. There is no need for you to pad your cat's diet with grain and vegetable fillers. For dogs, an omnivorous diet is more appropriate, but most commercial foods are high on filler and low on important meat proteins and fats. Some pet owners are choosing to feed their pets an all natural, species specific diet, by cooking for their pets: creating homemade meals just like the ones they are cooking for themselves and their family members. For some owners, this might be a great alternative, but many find that this path is time consuming and difficult. Luckily, there are now a variety of all-natural pet foods available from suppliers who are dedicated to providing pets with species specific diets.

The Trippet company sells a variety of great dog foods that make species specific considerations a high priority. Trippet Duck and Salmon Tripe Dog Food gives your dog a great combination of meaty protein and lots of Omega 3 fatty oils. Their Trippet Green Beef Tripe Dog Food formula incorporates plant nutrients in combination with the digestive enzymes that allow dogs to metabolize them. Tiki Cat has a number of great all-natural cat food solutions such as Tiki Cat- Hawiian Grill -Ahi Tuna, and Tiki Cat - Molokai Lanai - Tuna in Crab Consommé. Both are full of the protein your little tiger needs, without excess fillers and flavors.

Always ask your vet when you are considering changes to your pet's diet. Chances are you'll find that fresh, natural, healthy food is as important to your pet as it is to you.

Author's Bio: 

Eric West is the proud parent of 2 giant maine coon cats and the VP of www.pawschoice.com, , the webs #1 destination for health conscious pet owners for all natural and organic pet food, treats and toys.