Feeding your pets the proper food is essential for their growth and development. Purchasing foods can be confusing. There is a lot of advice on the internet on picking the perfect food and although most of it is offered with the best of intents, it is not always based on solid scientific evidence.
Reading food labels can be confusing. Labels include such claims as holistic, human-grade and organic but what do these things mean when it comes to food. There are very few regulations regarding food and therefore, some of these labels are no more than marketing strategies. Anyone can create pet food and sell it. Mostly all packages of food will contain a guaranteed analysis but what does that mean? The Guaranteed analysis provides either the maximum or minimum levels of various ingredients on the food. Only 4 are required but often others are listed as well. The four required nutrients are Protein (listed as a minimum %), Fat (listed as a minimum %), Fibre (listed as a Maximum %), and Moisture (Measured as a maximum). As consumers, we concentrate on the ingredient list but it is actually the amount of nutrients and how readily they are available that is most important.
Food that targets each individual life state is preferred as it targets specific nutritional needs of your pet throughout its life rather than an all stages food. Puppies and kittens require higher protein content, fat content, higher calorie count …. whereas adults require lower calorie count, lower fat content…
Some puppies are picky and need to be encouraged to eat. If this is the case, it is best to discuss it with your veterinarian to determine the best course of action.
You may have heard about food allergies in dogs and these are real concerns. However, it is best to discuss any issues that you may have with your veterinarian before changing foods as too many changes could be detrimental.
It is NOT recommended that you feed your dog bones. Bones can result in many things that can send your dog to the emergency room. These include oral lesions such as cuts and scrapes and even fractured teeth as well as many gastrointestinal problems such as obstructions and perforations.
Feeding food with the correct nutrient balance that promotes a healthy urine pH and SO index is important to protect your cat’s health and prevent diseases such as urinary stones which can result in obstruction.
Any time that you change your pets’ food you should do it gradually over 3-7 days to avoid an intestinal upset. If you do see any loose stool please contact your veterinarian.