When it comes to their pet’s food, money is no object for many pet owners.

Americans continued their spending spree on their four-legged friends, with pet expenditures hitting another all-time high in 2018. Spending on pet food alone accounted for over $30 billion last year, driven by increased sales of natural and premium pet foods.

(To put that number into perspective, a New York Timesfeature article in 1974 reported the pet food manufacturers were furiously innovating to take advantage of a burgeoning $2 billion market.)

So, it seems that pet owners spare no expense when it comes to the quality, nutrition, and perceived taste of their pets’ foods. So what are some of the latest lavish trends in gourmet pet foods? Below are just a few.

 GMO, Gluten, Grain-Free 

We’ve mentioned in previous posts that pet owners tend to anthropomorphize their pets, or in other words, apply human characteristics to them. So, it only stands to reason that if a person feels better because of their gluten-free or reduced grain diet, then surely their dog or cat will benefit, too. Although conditions like Celiac Disease and grain allergies are less common in dogs & cats than in humans, some pet owners find that their pets have more energy and fewer skin conditions with a GMO, gluten, and grain-free diet.


These pet diets and foods boast ingredients that more closely resemble what our pets consumed before they were widely domesticated and fed processed kibbles and pates. It’s not too hard to imagine what ingredients go into a primitive pet food; just think about what a wild dog or cat would kill or forage. These recipes consist of mainly raw foods including muscle meats, organs, meaty bones, vegetables, and raw fruits: a paleo diet for our furry friends.

Low Carb, Low Glycemic

This trend is not at all surprising when one considers that56% of dogs and 60% of cats in the United States are overweight or obese. Pet owners—many of whom also battle to control their weight—understand the importance of low carb, high protein diets. Many of these foods will derive all protein from animal sources.

 Whole, Humanly-Sourced Food

Cat food made with only wild-caught fish. Dog food comprised of whole chicken and meat that was humanely raised in natural pastures instead of factory farms. There are now even vegan foods for dogs, made from chickpeas, non-GMO vegetables and fruits. (Sorry, kitties—sadly you couldn’t survive on a vegan diet.) If you’re of this ilk, aligning your pet’s diet with your social mores can be an expensive proposition. For example, feeding a large dog whole food can cost as much as $4.00 per day.

The jury is still out, however, on whether these extravagant gourmet pet food choices are any better for our pets (not to mention tastier) than the less expensive bill of fare. Some studies even show that dogs and cats may be more prone to disease on these diets. That’s why millions of pet owners find that the best approach is to feed their dogs and cats high-quality prepared foods that are specifically balanced for their dietary needs, yet don’t contain the preservatives and fillers of low-price pet foods.

NaturPak Pet manufactures complete and balanced wet pet food products that satisfy the demands of this type of caring pet owner. Using fresh and whole ingredients, NuturPak Pet’s wet foods for dogs and cats are naturally fortified with probiotics, omega fatty acids, and protein. For more information on the benefits of NaturPak Pet food, contact a representative today.


Reading And Understanding Pet Food Labels Can Help You Make Better Dietary Decisions For Your Dog

Americans are more preoccupied than ever about what they are putting into their bodies. And the Federal Government has taken notice.

In 2016, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) published new rules for food package Nutrition Labels. Beginning in 2020, food manufactures will be required to use the new labels which “take into account to reflect new scientific information, including the link between diet and chronic diseases such as obesity and heart disease.” The FDA states that “The new label will make it easier for consumers to make better informed food choices.”

Unfortunately, your dog can’t read (in spite of what you may think). So, even though the FDA has different nutrition label standards for pet food to ensure they are safe and offer nutritional value, it’s still on you— the pet owner—to carefully read the ingredients and understand the nutritional value of the foods you give your canine.
Nearly all pet foods contain a combination of the following ingredients: carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, and minerals. Let’s break down the function and source of each to better understand their nutritional roles and values.


While it’s true that dogs really don’t need carbohydrates to live, since being domesticated the species has adapted pretty well to carbs in their diets. Less expensive food is typically packed with carbs from grain sources like corn, rice, barley, and oats. Pricier foods may include potatoes, peas, sweet potatoes, or tapioca as carb sources. Is that good or bad? Your dogs stool is probably the best indicator. If he or she is having tummy troubles, then it may not be a good idea to consider whole grain or no-grain foods.


Fat isn’t necessary bad, but dogs don’t require a lot of it be healthy. Dogs need about 10-20% fat in their diet, mostly for healthy skin and coats. It’s more important to understand where the fat comes from. You can see fat from a variety of sources for including chicken fat, vegetable oils, or pork fat.


As with fats, the key is to understand the source of the protein. Less expensive foods derive protein from animal byproducts: parts of pigs, chickens, turkeys, and cows. These parts are rendered into “meat meal” to pull out the fat and protein, which is infused into kibble food. Grains like soy also provide protein, but in most cases not the same level of amino acids as meat.

Vitamins & Minerals

Just like us humans, dogs need vitamins and minerals to maintain digestive, muscle and bone, immune, and nervous system health. The vitamins and minerals they require are: Vitamins A, D, K, E, and C; minerals sodium, calcium, zinc, and phosphorus. Many pet food labels will identify the sources of these vitamins and minerals. Depending on the breed of your dog, you may need to perform more research to understand the value of these sources.

When examining a label, take note of the Guaranteed Analysis. This reports the minimum percentages of protein and fat in the food, as well as the maximum percentages of fiber and moisture. Two points of consideration. First, these shouldn’t be confused with daily allowance (as in people food). Second, when comparing the nutrient levels of dry versus canned, make sure to consider the moisture basis. Since wet foods have much higher levels of moisture, their percentages will be look lower.

If you’re really concerned about added ingredients, it makes sense to consider simpler, more natural pet food options. NuturPak Pet’s wet foods come packed with probiotics, omega fatty acids, and protein. NaturPak Pet is focused on the development and manufacture of complete and balanced wet pet food products, using fresh and whole food ingredients for dogs. For more information on the benefits of NaturPak Pet food, contact a representative today.


With some foods like soy and bean-based kibbles, the more they eat the more they toot.

I shouldn’t have eaten that burrito. Or chili with beans. Corned beef with cabbage? What was I thinking?  Even the most iron-stomached person will have this lament from time to time, and experience the discomfort and potential social stigma of intestinal gas.

Most dog and cat owners have probably noticed that their four-legged friends will “pass gas” as well. Unfortunately, dogs don’t exercise the same decision making when it comes to what they eat or how fast they eat it.  Poor dietary choices—mostly eating spoiled or rotten food—are the primary cause of canine flatulence. Cats will get “gassy” as well, but not as often as dogs.

Chronic flatulence in our pets, however, has more varied causes and should be taken seriously. If your pet routinely passes gas, consider the following potential root causes.

Slow down there, Fido! 

Dogs and cats that “wolf” down their food—taking large gulps of air in the process—will often experience flatulence. Although it’s difficult to force a pet slow their roll at the bowl, there are a few tricks to make them take their time. Placing their hard food on a cookie sheet is one old fashioned remedy. There are also a number of slow feeder bowls that reportedly work well. A pet that eats slower will typically be less gassy.

(Full disclosure: this author cares for a dog who eats much too fast. I recently adopted a Black Lab/Saint Bernard/Newfoundland shelter dog named Buddy, who typically consumes his 3 ounces of kibbles in less than 45 seconds. Flatulence is the inevitable result, which has me earnestly looking at slow feeder bowls.)

Lactose intolerance. It’s hard to resist giving our dogs a bite of an ice cream sandwich or our cats a little milk. The truth is that dogs and cats don’t tolerate dairy very well, which upsets their digestive system and causes gas.

Beans and peas. 

Plant-based protein like peas and soybeans provide pet owners with an inexpensive way to provide carbohydrates and fiber to their dogs and cats. Although these foods work well for many animals, they can produce indigestion in others. If your pet isn’t gulping down a lot of air when eating or consuming dairy but still has flatulence, then this may be the next most likely cause to consider.


There are many medical conditions that causes flatulence in dogs and cats, including intestinal parasites, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, and enteritis. More seriously, flatulence could be a sign that your pet has tumors, irritable bowel syndrome, and exocrine pancreatic insufficiency. If changes in diet and eating habits aren’t producing results, a visit to your veterinarian is definitely in order.

If you have a dog or cat who is healthy otherwise yet still prone to indigestion and gas, you may be surprised by the difference diet makes. Simpler, more natural pet food options like NuturPak Pet’s wet foods come packed with protein but not with pea and soy based-protein that can cause flatulence. NaturPak Pet is focused on the development and manufacture of complete and balanced wet pet food products, using fresh and whole food ingredients. 

For more information on the benefits of NaturPak Pet food, contact a representative today.


Supplements show increasing prevalence across pet food markets

The percentage of people who take dietary supplements has reached an all-time high: 77% of adults take some form of vitamins or minerals to augment their diets. This trend extends to our pets as well, with more pet owners than ever adding supplements to their dog and/or cat’s regular diets.

Many pet owners supplement their pet’s diet to increase palatability, improve health or increase the nutritional quality. When our pets aren’t feeling their best, inadequate nutrition may be a root cause. All of which has led to an increasing demand for pet food supplements.

Fish Oil is a very popular pet food supplement, for many of the same reasons it appeals to humans. Studies show that it can support proper lipid balance in the skin1, reduce inflammation, and help boost the body’s ability to identify and destroy cancerous cells2. This is thanks to the abundant supply of Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil.

Turmeric is a spice that humans have benefited from for years. It’s long been known for its anti-inflammatory properties; popular for people suffering from conditions like arthritis. The same holds true for cats and dogs, too. Many pet owners feel that turmeric may reduce the risk of cancer in their animals by reducing or preventing cell damage from various kinds of oxidative stress3 and reducing the inflammatory response4.

Blueberries are an easy, convenient treat for dogs and cats5. They’re packed with vitamin C and K, fiber, and certain antioxidants which bolster the immune system. In fact, blueberry powder is already an ingredient in some pet foods and pet food supplements.

Seaweed is a common supplement in diets looking to introduce some “greens”. Seaweed is rich in vitamins, amino acids, and minerals which helps maintain healthy skin and coats6. It is also easily digestible and, depending on the species, has been indicated in improving gut motility and reducing carbohydrate absorption.

While supplementing can improve the quality of pet diets or add functional benefits, feeding a high-quality diet will provide all of the vitamins, minerals, and amino acids that your pet needs.

NaturPak Pet’s wet foods come packed with protein and all of the nutrients a pet needs. Many wet pet food products on the market in Recart already contain these supplements to provide added benefits. Besides providing nutritive benefits, adding supplements to recipes increases marketplace variety and consumer appeal. With a dedicated Research & Development lab, NaturPak Pet is focused on the development and manufacture of complete and balanced wet pet food products, using fresh and whole food ingredients. For more information on the benefits of NaturPak Pet food, contact a representative today.

Scientific References:

  1. Xue, Bingzhong, et al. “Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids antagonize macrophage inflammation via activation of AMPK/SIRT1 pathway.” PloS one 7.10 (2012).
  2. Siddiqui, Rafat A., et al. “Omega 3-fatty acids: health benefits and cellular mechanisms of action.” Mini reviews in medicinal chemistry 4.8 (2004): 859-871.
  3. Hutchins-Wolfbrandt, Amanda, and Anahita M. Mistry. “Dietary turmeric potentially reduces the risk of cancer.” Asian Pac J Cancer Prev 12.12 (2011): 3169-3173.
  4. Bachmeier B, Mohrenz IV, Mirisola V, et al (2008). Curcumin downregulates the inflammatory cytokines CXCL1 and -2 in breast cancer cells via NFκB. Carcinogenesis, 29, 779-89.
  5. Howell, A. B. “Update on health benefits of cranberry and blueberry.” IX International Vaccinium Symposium 810. 2008.
  6. BROWNLEE, Iain, FAIRCLOUGH, Andrew, HALL, Anna and PAXMAN, Jenny (2012). The potential health benefits of seaweed and seaweed extract. In: POMIN, Vitor H., (ed.) Seaweed : ecology, nutrient composition and medicinal uses. Marine Biology : Earth Sciences in the 21st Century . Hauppauge, New York, Nova Science Publishers, 119-136.


Popular fad diets are becoming trendy for pets, too, but that may not necessarily be for the best.

According to the International Food Information Council Foundation’s 13th Annual Food and Health Survey, approximately 36% of Americans reported that they were attempting some type of diet in 2019.

The specific diets, however, change rapidly from year to year or even month to month (hence the term “fad diets”). According to Google Search trends, the most popular diets of 2019 include Intermittent Fasting, the Mediterranean Diet, Keto, Flexitarian, Nordic, Veganism, Raw Food, Whole Food, Noom, Paleo, Pagan, Low Carb, and Carnivore.

As many pet owners are taking a closer look at their own health, so too are they looking at their pets’. Many of our pets need to lose weight and improve their cardiovascular health. Nearly 8 million dogs (about 10% of the canine population in the United States) have heart disease. According to the American Pet Products Association, 60 percent of cats and 56% of dogs are overweight.

As mentioned in our previous “Battle of the Bulge” blog, it’s as hard for us to help our pets lose weight as it is for us to lose weight ourselves. That’s why many pet owners are moving towards having their pets follow some of the same dietary principles they are trying to live by. Most veterinarians advise against this type of thinking in general, but that isn’t stopping many from looking for some type of shared diet experience with their pets.

Here are three diets that are on-trend with pet owners, and also how they may or may not align with a dog or cat’s nutritional needs.

The Keto Diet involves eating foods low to no carbohydrates with moderate proteins and fats. This entails consumption of low carbohydrate vegetables, meats, fatty fish, avocados, eggs, cheese, nuts, and seeds. While this may seem very compatible to dog or cat’s diet, there are important considerations. Foremost, our four-legged friends have specific requirements for proteins that exceed the recommendations of the Keto Diet. Additionally, some of the aforementioned foods like dairy and avocados are unhealthy for dogs or cats.

Similarly, the core of the Paleo Diet offers many foods that can be a part of a healthy diet for a pet. These include game meats, poultry, and vegetables. Similar to the Keto Diet, however, there are many foods on a Paleo Diet list that should not be fed to a dog or cat: onions, fatty meats, and butter are just a few. Remember that excessive fatty foods can lead to pancreatitis in dogs.

Finally, the flexitarian diet also promotes healthy levels of complex carbohydrates, plenty of vegetables and lean meats. However, the motivation for a pet owner to adopt a Flexitarian Diet extends well beyond better health. These individuals are typically driven just as much by environmental concerns and want to reduce their environmental footprint and their pet’s as well. Unfortunately for our pets, a Flexitarian Diet contains significantly reduced meat consumption. This desire to reduce meats and decrease our environmental impact has inspired some new pet foods on the market that are made with plant and insect protein instead of from meat. Understandably, there is much debate as to whether or not these alternative sources of protein are as nutritious as meat protein.

For individuals focused on becoming healthier or more environmentally conscious, it’s natural to want to include their pets as well. While well intentioned, it’s important for pet owners to keep in mind that a diet that helps them feel better may not necessarily align with the dietary needs of their canine or feline friends.

NaturPak Pet is focused on manufacturing complete and balanced wet pet food products that provide for the dietary needs of dogs and cats. Using fresh and whole ingredients, NaturPak Pet’s wet foods are fortified with the vitamins, minerals, omega fatty acids, and proteins that dogs and cats need to maintain optimum health. For more information on NaturPak Pet food, contact a representative today.