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Nutrition Terms

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Terms that have no defined meaning on pet food labels:

3.1.1.Holistic
3.1.2.Human grade
3.1.3.Human quality
3.1.4.Premium
3.1.5.Super Premium
3.1.6.Gourmet

As pets have become more important to their owners, what the pets are fed has become more important as well.  Most pet owners are concerned about the quality and nutrition level of the food they are feeding their furry family members.  There are now hundreds of pet foods available to the consumer.  How do you know what to believe regarding pet food claims?

Many pet foods line the shelves of groceries and pet food stores, each with their own marketing claims.  Some of the terms used have a definite meaning to nutritionists, some are just marketing.

Terms that have a legal meaning are natural, organic, and by-products.   The  AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) defines these terms and publishes recommendations for pet foods.

Natural refers to a "feed or ingredient derived solely from plant, animal, or mined sources, either in its unprocessed state or having been subject to physical processing, heat processing, rendering, purification, extraction, hydrolysis, enzymolysis, or fermentation, but not having been produced by or subject to a chemically synthetic process."

Organic has been defined as " a formula feed or a specific ingredient within a formula feed that has been produced or handled in compliance with the requirements of the USDA National Organic Program."  Under this category are three levels:

  1. 100% organic - must have 100% organic ingredients and additives, including processing aids
  2. Organic - at least 95% of the content is organic by weight
  3. Made with Organic - at least 70% of the content is organic

By-products are defined as " non- rendered clean parts of carcasses such as heads and viscera ( organs), free from fecal content and foreign material except in such trace amounts as might occur unavoidably in good factory practice."

The important thing to know is that any food labeled Natural or Organic is not necessarily a good food, and that a food with by-products can be an excellent food.  Natural substances can still be very dangerous; cocaine, heroin, arsenic, and cyanide are all natural but, of course, they are not good for you.  Organic foods may contain ingredients that are free of pesticides, but the food may not be balanced or nutritious. 

Some pet food companies suggest that foods that contain by-products are of a lower quality, but the term doesn't deserve this reputation.  In actuality, by-products are often a good source of vitamins and minerals. 

In summary, some claims by pet food companies are just marketing, without real science to back up their advertisements.  How do you know which food to use?  The best general advise is to choose a food that has been formulated with AAFCO standards and had feeding trials.  Your veterinarian can help you in this choice.

AAFCO.org


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Office Hours

DayOpenClosed
Monday7:30 AM6:00 PM
Tuesday7:30 AM6:00 PM
Wednesday7:30 AM6:00 PM
Thursday7:30 AM6:00 PM
Friday7:30 AM6:00 PM
Saturday7:30 AM5:00 PM
SundayClosedClosed
Day Open Closed
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
7:30 AM 7:30 AM 7:30 AM 7:30 AM 7:30 AM 7:30 AM Closed
6:00 PM 6:00 PM 6:00 PM 6:00 PM 6:00 PM 5:00 PM Closed

Testimonials

  •           8/29/2017

    I love Balboa Pet Hospital! Balboa Pet Hospital's staff is amazing! The staff is knowledgeable, caring and above all honest! I feel confident that my pets are getting the best possible care there. The staff has always taken time to answer all of my questions and if I think of something after my appointment, I can just email! I know I won’t have to wait too long for response.

    Unfortunately, this year I’ve had to make some really difficult decisions. The compassion the staff showed to both my pet and I made these unbearable times tolerable. I am indebted to both Dr. Del Rosso and (the wonderful) Dr. Ravn for their kindness, compassion and dedication.

    If you are new to the area or just looking for a new vet, please give Balboa pet Hospital a call!

  •           6/5/2017

    LOVE everything about this place!!! The people are all super nice & caring. I never feel like they’re trying to sell me stuff I don’t need. The vets (especially Dr. Alice Chan) are wonderful, I always fee; comfortable coming here whenever Walle has an issue. They even help me file the insurance claims after each visit! Would highly recommended any pet owners to see them for their fur-baby needs.

  •           6/5/2017

    My dog has been a regular patient since 7 years ago. Once in a while we visit other hospitals due to time conflicts. However, we always go back to Balboa Pet Hospital. My dog has bad allergy and the doctors and assistants always follow up with us after the treatments or visits, help us submit the insurance claims. It’s not a cheapest place to go but their patience and caring are irreplaceable.

  •           4/28/2017

    I’m glad to have found Balboa Pet Hospital near my home. It’s definitely a hidden gem! Dr. Chan saw my dog, Oreo, for her skin problem last week, and my three cats, Pepper, Tofu and Cola, today for annual check-up. She’s very patient (especially with Oreo who’s shy to strangers), knowledgeable and approachable. The front staffs are also very friendly and helpful. They are so prompt to reply my email (within a few hours when I checked back my mailbox). All my pets are about 1-year-old and I’ll definitely bring them here for their health issues/checkup in many years followed.

  •           5/4/2017

    Brought my dog here for a checkup and some minor concerns. Dr. Chan was very professional. She got my dog the treatment he needed and answered all my questions regarding my concerns. The rest of the staff were very friendly and gentle with my dog. You could tell that the staff are genuine animal lovers; definitely something you want when you entrust the health of your pet to someone.

  •           5 of 5

    Been bringing our animals to Balboa for over 25 years and will continue because they provide great advice and care. We love Dr. D and staff are really helpful and friendly. Now if I can find medical care for myself like my animals get at Balboa...

  •           5 of 5

    I have been a patron of Balboa Pet Hospital for almost 500 years now (wink). I love Everybody there and feel they are have always been a great resource and the BEST support system for everything pertaining to my pets.

  •          

    The staff is very kind and gentle, the doctors are very caring and patient when dealing with my scared cat Lulu. I appreciate the time they took to put her at ease and making this procedure as painless as possible for the both of us. Will definitely be spreading the word. Thank you Balboa Pet Hospital.

    Linda P.

    San Francisco, CA

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