A Beginner’s Guide to Pet Nutrition
Let’s begin by congratulating you on your new pet! Becoming a pet owner for the first time can be both thrilling and overwhelming. For the most part, feelings of love and joy prevail as you and your new pet get to know each other. But don’t forget, their health and happiness ultimately depends on you!
Pet nutrition is an area that tends to be particularly confusing for new pet owners, but it doesn’t have to be this way. Like humans, pets have specific nutritional requirements that must be met in order to thrive. Fortunately, the team at Conrad Weiser Animal Hospital is here to help you make the best choices for your new addition!
Finding the Right Food
At first glance, feeding your pet seems like an easy part of pet ownership. You buy the food, pour it into their bowl, and you’re done, right?
Not quite. You cannot tell the nutritional quality of a food by the list of ingredients on the food bag or can. Don’t be fooled by marketing statements and claims. Only a small number of food companies do any food research or test their products with feeding studies. Please ask the doctors at Conrad Weiser Animal Hospital for their advice and opinions about your pet’s nutrition.
Finding a food that matches your pet’s life stage is another important component of pet nutrition. For example, senior dogs shouldn’t eat puppy food, as it will be too high in fat and calories for an older pet.
Portion Control and Treats
As more and more pets suffer the effects of obesity, portion control becomes increasingly important. Learn how many calories is in a single serving of your pet’s food, and ask your veterinarian to help you determine the right portion size for your pet.
Similarly, treats have a tendency to add unnecessary calories to a pet’s diet. On average, treats should make up no more than 5% of their daily caloric intake (less for overweight pets). For a fun, nutritious, and low-calorie option, washed, raw vegetables, like babby carrots and green beans make good treats as a snack for your hungry pet (ooked veggies and raw fruits have calories).
The pet care industry isn’t immune to the fad diets of humans, and grain-free, organic, raw, and vegetarian diets for pets are growing in popularity. It’s important to keep the following in mind:
- Dogs are omnivores, meaning they can and should eat a variety of nutrients. There’s no evidence that grain-free diets are healthy for dogs, and in some cases, this can lead to health problems. Very high animal meat diets; vegetarian, raw and grain-free diets have all been implicated in causing problems with many pets.
- Cats are obligate carnivores who require large amounts of animal products to produce the amino acids their body needs. In some cases, feeding your cat a fad diet can have dire consequences.
Pet Nutrition for Health Issues
If your pet is grappling with a health issue, your veterinarian may prescribe a specific diet. These foods are specially formulated to support various conditions, such as kidney disease, arthritis, weight loss, or skin sensitivities. There’s no need to worry if you don’t see an AAFCO statement on your pet’s prescription food. All prescription foods have been heavily researched, studied, and tested, and all meet AAFCO requirements.
As you can see, pet nutrition is a multifaceted concept. Please feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns. We’re always here to help!
Conrad Weiser Animal Hospital:
Where big city medicine and surgery meet small town customer service and value.
At any given moment, creepy-crawly, blood-sucking, ittty-bitty parasites can be all over your pet. In order to tackle them, you must learn what they are, what they look like, and where to find them on your pet’s skin. Conrad Weiser Animal Hospital wants to help you learn more about pet parasites so you can keep […]Learn More...
Living with a dog that experiences allergic reactions can be hard for everyone involved. Not only is it agonizing to see them suffer, but it’s maddening for them to feel like they can’t stop scratching at their skin. In contrast to most human symptoms of allergies (such as coughing, sneezing, wheezing, and watery eyes), dog […]Learn More...
Seasonal allergies affect many of us and while we enjoy the blooms and beauty of springtime, these plants greatly contribute to allergy attacks in people and dogs. While dogs can also have an array of allergies, their symptoms manifest differently than they do in humans. If you suspect your dog has pollen allergies, the team […]Learn More...