As an owner, we are able to dictate the majority of our pet’s diet. The only exception to this is when they follow their nose and think with their stomach when out and about. Providing your pet with a healthy, well-rounded diet can give them the best chance of living a long, happy and healthy life. It is important to be knowledgeable and responsible with your decision when considering a diet for your pet. The pet food industry is huge, with countless products on shelves of many different stores. Below are some handy hints to consider when thinking about the diet of your pet.
Animals require a diet that mimics what they would have eaten in their natural environment. Normally they would have spent a large portion of the day grazing and when they had a meal, eaten entire carcasses. Because of this their bodies are used to getting certain levels of vitamins, minerals… that are not found in the correct proportions in meat and two veg.
Diets made in the home are made with love and are often a tasty alternative compared with some of the off the shelf options. However, as mentioned above it is difficult to re-create a diet at home that provides the right micronutrients, required by animals. Millions of dollars are invested by large food companies to ensure that food safety procedures and food formulas are the best for your loved pet. This level of consistency and formulation is unattainable in the kitchen so the current recommendation is to ensure that the major portion of their dietary intake is coming from a premium commercial feed.
Home-made diets can be useful with short-term use for animals who have gastrointestinal issues. Vets can prescribe specific home cooked diets with novel proteins and carbohydrates to rule out food allergies. Please consult your veterinarian if you are considering using a home cooked diet.
Throughout life our dietary requirements change, this is the same with your pets. As a puppy, they require a high protein, caloric rich diet with the right mix of minerals for growing bones. Older animals require a lower protein diet and a careful balance of salts to reduce stress on their kidneys. This is why there is different diets for dogs of different ages. If you are unsure of what diet would best suit your pet, please contact the surgery and we will be able to point you in the right direction.
When pet food shopping, it is easy to choose the cheaper option to save a few extra dollars but your decision shouldn’t only come down to the bottom line. The price difference comes down to:
It depends on what you’re feeding. Each packet should have a feeding guideline on the side. Feeding in line with these guidelines is a great starting point when it comes to calculating how much food you should be using. Each pet does have a different metabolism rate and this does change over their lifetime. Each visit to the vet we will re-weigh your pet and re-evaluate their Body Condition Score, ensuring that weight is stable and advising you if the amount of feed needs to be changed accordingly.
Treats. Everyone one loves to give them and your pets certainly like to receive them. Please take into consideration that treats are kilojoules. For each treat you feed, you should be reducing the amount of normal food you are feeding. The feeding guidelines are if the food is the sole source of kilojoules. So please take this into consideration next time your pet gets their favourite treats, otherwise, you can find that your beloved pet who has been getting a bit too much loving is now overweight.
Allowing free access to clean water at all times of the day is very important in keeping your pet healthy. Regularly cleaning water bowls will reduce the likely contamination of their water.