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Complete or complementary? What is the difference?

Customers wanting to understand the difference between complete and complementary dog and cat foods is one of the most frequently asked questions we receive, so we’d like to explain in a simple and clear way.

Complete products are supplemented with vitamins and minerals, this enables the recipe to meet all of the cat’s or dog’s needs within each and every meal. From a nutritional point of view, a complete food could hypothetically be given every day, forever. However, this would not be advisable because feeding the same food every day would fail to provide the variety necessary to contribute to the nutritional well-being and the individual needs of the animal. It is easy enough to observe our pets’ behaviour to realise how their nutritional requirements change: for example, in winter they live a more sedentary life, while in summer their activity levels increase. As you can see, the different needs of our pets need to be matched to the their particular, nutritional requirements that a single food, even if declared as complete, cannot meet.

Complementary products are foods which, individually, are not sufficient to meet all the nutritional requirements of a dog or cat in a single meal because they have no supplements added. But this is exactly what happens in nature and in our (human) diet too: we do not ask if our lunch is complete, because we know that our diet provides us with balanced nutrition, with no deficiencies or excesses, if we alternate between different food sources.

So how to choose?

The ideal solution is to propose a diet that closely reproduces the same variety of food sources as found in nature, replicating the natural balance of meats, vegetables and carbohydrates.

It is from here, that the nutritional advice of Almo Nature for cats and dogs originates and is based on the practice of alternating between dry and wet food for cats, and on feeding a primarily dry food diet for dogs, varying between protein sources and types of ingredients used in the recipes.

Complete + Complementary = Unbalanced?

It is a pretty frequent question: does combining a complete food (for example, kibble) with a complementary food (such as a wet Classic recipe) mean the meal’s nutrition is unbalanced? Absolutely not: from a nutritional point of view, just as in human nutrition as already mentioned, the cats or dogs’ requirements will be wholly satisfied over a number of meals but not every day in every single meal.

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