- About Us
- Complete Care Pets
- Online Store
- Contact Us
- New Client
- Hospital Reviews
- Appointment Request
January is Nutrition Month!
The holidays are over and it is not just our diets that have taken a vacation! It is time to take a look at our pets’ diets and get them back on track as well. Good nutrition is fundamental to good health for any animal and your veterinarian is there to help. So let us start with the basics, food is made up of three macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates, fats), a variety of micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) and water. How do you know what is in your pet’s food? Read the list of ingredients! Sometimes we look at the guaranteed analysis (GA) but it should be used with caution. It only provides the quantity of the nutrients, but says nothing about the quality. Theoretically you can get the ideal GA by mixing the right amounts of leather (protein), motor oil (fat) and sawdust (carbohydrate). Okay, it’s an extreme example, but it serves to highlight the limitations of the GA. The list of ingredients gives you a better indication of the quality of the ingredients, but due to limitations on the package most manufactures provide additional detail on their websites and provide “Contact Us” options.
There are a variety of formats for pet food, whether it is dry, canned, raw/frozen or homemade. All have their pros and cons, but here are some principles common to them all. Water. Clean water must always be available to complement any diet. Pets on dry food will need more water than those on wet foods. Portions. How much do I feed my pet? Just enough to maintain a healthy weight. But, this changes! Many pets need less food in the winter as they are less active and mostly indoors (Huskies excepted!) Remember dry food is concentrated food, often two to three times more concentrated than wet or fresh food. Your pets’ weight is primarily the result of calories in and calories out (unless they have a diagnosed medical condition). Treats. Yes treats have calories! Make sure that treats are part of the overall diet and are used in moderation. And check their ingredients as well! No Scraps! And I don’t mean leftovers; I mean stuff that should be in the green bin. Common scraps include chicken skins and fat. High fat products can cause pancreatitis and will likely put your pet in hospital. A little bit of lean cooked leftover chicken is usually fine, or may cause a little diarrhea if your pet is not used to it.
WARNING: If you are feeding raw diets, ensure you clean up well around the eating area as well as the dishes. There is a real risk of bacterial contamination especially if children interact with the pet. I prefer commercial or cooked food for safety.
There are few definite answers in pet nutrition, but the best advice is research your choices, question the products, and get the best you can afford. Still not sure, speak to your veterinarian about your options.
For more information on pet foods please visit these sites: