Live Better

How to choose the right cat or dog food

Veterinarian Amanda Chin explains the common terms used on pet food labels, so you can make the best choice for your furry friend.

Mature Dog Eating Rawhide Treat

Choosing the right food for our pets can be confusing. There are diets for puppies and kittens, adults and mature pets, small and large breeds and for active pets. There are also diets for pets with sensitive skin, upset tummies and aching joints.

And as with the growing human dietary trends, there are now even grain-free, organic and natural feeds to add to the mix.

The right diet for your pet

When choosing your pet’s diet, whether it is a home cooked, dry, canned, semi-moist or raw diet, it’s important to ensure that it is of a high quality, complete and balanced and appropriate to the pet’s life stage and health status. This will help your pet live a long, happy and healthy life.

Home cooked diets offer high quality ingredients but require a lot of effort to ensure that it satisfies all the pet’s nutritional requirements. Good quality commercial foods are developed by nutritionists and veterinarians and will have ‘complete and balanced’ on the package.

When choosing a raw meat diet, you should always feed using human-grade food, as it will contain fewer preservatives such as sulphites that are harmful to our pets.

Natural, organic, balanced – what does it all mean?

Let’s break down some of the common terms you’ll see on pet food packaging.

  • Complete and balanced – The diet meets strict requirements as a nutritionally balanced diet that can be fed as a pet’s sole diet.
  • Grain-free – A diet that substitutes grains with other carbohydrates such as potatoes, peas, apples.
  • Holistic – A marketing term with no legal definition and can be applied to any food.
  • Natural – A diet that only contains natural ingredients without chemical modification except for vitamins and minerals.
  • Organic – A diet that must follow the same rules as organic human foods.
  • Prescription – Clinical nutrition that is recommended by your veterinarian to address a pet’s health condition and improve its quality of life.

If your pet has specific dietary requirements, is allergic to certain foods or has a health condition, always seek advice from your veterinarian with regard to the right diet for your pet.

Your pet gives you so much. Give them the best care with Medibank pet insurance. Get a quick, free online quote now and see how you could get up to 80% back on eligible vet bills.  

Latest Articles


Thrush: signs to look out for

75% of women will experience thrush at least once in their.

Read more

How to stay smoke-free in summer

Dr Sarah White shares some tips for summer parties.

Read more

Do you know these beach safety essentials?

Bondi Rescue's Trent Maxwell shares his top tips.

Read more

Succeeding at work as an introvert

You don’t need to ‘fake it ‘til you make it’.

Read more

Answers to the questions you can’t ask your boss

An HR expert takes on all your office faux-pas.

Read more
youtubeui-checkbox-tickui-checkbox-emptyui-checkbox-crosstwitterui-checkbox-tickWellbeing and mindfulness 1Physical Health 1Positive psychology 101 1Wellbeing and mindfulness 4All about gut health 1Understanding Genetics 4Planning for Pregnancy 2During Pregnancy 3The mind-gut connection 4The mind-gut connection 1New Parents 3Page 1Group 10During Pregnancy 2Page 1Physical Health 2Planning for Pregnancy 1Positive psychology 101 1Positive psychology 101 4Planning for Pregnancy 4Understanding Genetics 1Physical Health 4Planning for Pregnancy 3Nutrition 4New Parents 1New Parents 3 CopyMovement for your mind 4Wellbeing and mindfulness 2Nutrition 2sob-icon__mind-bodysob-icon__man-with-laptopAll about gut health 2Positive psychology 101 3Positive psychology 101 2Physical Health 3Wellbeing and mindfulness 3All about gut health 3genetics-changing-what-your-givenUnderstanding Genetics 2During Pregnancy 1Movement for your mind 2Movement for your mind 1Movement for your mind 3During Pregnancy 4