What should I be feeding my pet?
Along with regular exercise and veterinary care, careful nutrition is the best way you can contribute to your pet’s prolonged good health.
These are the basic nutrients every pet needs:
- Water is the most essential nutrient in any diet. Your pet’s body is made up of approximately 70% water and will quickly perish without it. Ensure your pet can access fresh, clean water at all times. Water loss through acute vomiting and diarrhoea should be addressed asap.
- Carbohydrates supply energy and come from sugars, starch, and fibre from plant sources. Carbohydrates help energize the brain and muscles, making your pet bright and active.
- Fats also supply energy and in the right amounts help build strong cells and promote nutrient absorption. Too much fat, however, can lead to such obesity-related health problems such as diabetes, heart disease and osteoarthritis.
- Proteins are required for a healthy coat, skin, and nails. Your pet’s body uses the amino acids in proteins to make enzymes and hormones in the bloodstream and to maintain a healthy immune system. Proteins can come from plant and meat sources, but cats and dogs need a high-quality animal protein.
- Vitamins and minerals help regulate many body systems. For example, your pet needs the minerals calcium and phosphorous for strong bones. Antioxidant vitamins like vitamin E and C help boost your pet’s immune system during times of stress.
How do I make sure my pet’s diet is healthy?
We strongly recommend that you:
- Feed premium pet foods. Premium foods offer high-quality ingredients, are made by companies specialising in nutritional research, and show a solid track record of quality and palatability. Feeding premium foods will decrease the incidence of skin issues, the amount of faeces due to less fillers and higher digestibility. Feeding generic pet foods may lead to obesity, irregular bowel movements, or excess intestinal gas. Eg of premium foods are Iams, Eukanuba, Hills Science Diet and Royal Canin.
- Make sure the food is fresh. When you purchase pet food, check for freshness and purchase only the amount necessary for your pet. Store pet food in a cool, dry place and keep it tightly closed. Discard uneaten food and always place fresh food in a clean bowl. In general, hard food (or “kibble”) is preferred for maintaining dental health and minimizing tartar build-up, it is also usually more cost effective. Soft, canned food tends to be more palatable and can be stored for longer.
- Feed the right amount. Ask us or check the label for how much to feed according to your pet’s ideal weight (not necessarily the same as their current weight). Avoid feeding pets as much as they want or feeding a large amount at one time. Doing so can lead to obesity, gastrointestinal upset, or even bloat, a life threatening condition.
- Maintain a daily routine. A regular schedule will help your pet keep normal bowel movements and avoid indoor accidents. Younger pets need to be fed more frequently, as they are usually more energetic and burn more calories.
- Avoid “people” food. Your pet’s digestive system is simpler than yours and can be easily upset by changes. Feeding table scraps will result in an unbalanced diet, can cause stomach upsets or even life-threatening inflammation of the pancreas.
Life Cycle Feeding
Your pet’s nutritional requirements will change as they age. Puppies need puppy food because it is higher in energy, calcium and protein, but feeding it to an adult dog can lead to obesity. Likewise, older pets need diets restricted in fat and supplemented with fibre for their optimum health. Many premium senior diets also contain additives to assist in the management of arthritis and can make your pet more comfortable. Pregnant animals need diets that are high in energy, calcium and protein so is best to feed Puppy/Kitten food throughout gestation and lactation to be able to provide for the needs of both mother and young.
Please give us a call to discuss your pet’s nutritional needs. We will tailor a diet specifically for your pet that will give them the optimum quality and length of life.
My pet could be a contestant on The Biggest Loser!
If you think your pet’s a bit big around the middle, our trained staff can help get you and your pet back on the right track. It is a free service to get your furry companion back into shape as an unhealthy weight can cause many health problems such as early onset of arthritis, diabetes, pancreatitis, respiratory disease and early death. If you are at all unsure of how heavy your pet should be come in for a weigh-in and speak to our friendly staff about any diet issues you may be having. The program basically involves a phone call to organise a time every 3-4 weeks to come in and have your pet be weighed and touch base on how you are going with the diet and exercise plans.
Remember, you are what you eat, and so is your pet!