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IMPORTANCE OF PET NUTRITION
Nutrition is important to your pets’ health. It is important to learn what your pet needs to stay healthy, happy and active. Making sure your pet eats what he should and not what he wants is the best way to ensure these needs.
What’s the importance of good nutrition?
A complete and balanced diet is essential to maintain your pet in good health. He needs fresh water, protein, fats, minerals, vitamins and carbohydrates.
Water is by far the most important nutrition your pet requires. An adult dogs’ body is 60% water and even higher in puppies (84%), it is understandable then that as little as 10% loss of body water can cause serious problems. Make sure that your pet receives 2.5 times the amount of food as water, but often it is just easier to offer the water free choice.
Protein is a very important part of your pets’ diet, as it is the building blocks for life. Proteins come in different qualities, animal proteins have the highest quality and vegetables have the lower qualities. Considering that dogs are mostly carnivorous, they require a much higher level of protein than we do for example. Cats are completely carnivorous and require even higher amounts compared to dogs. It is said that dogs can eat cat food but that cats cannot eat dog food. This is because the amino acid taurine is not synthesized by cats, whereas it is in dogs. A rule of thumb: Always make sure to feed your pet food that is made for his species, age and energy requirements.
Fats are an essential part of your pets diet, they are extremely high in energy as compared to carbohydrates. Fats are readily available from both plant and animal products. Some fats can be synthesized by the body, and some cannot. Despite their importance in food, there are many problems associated with over consumption of fats. The proper balance must be attained for your pet to be as healthy as possible.
Minerals and Vitamins Minerals are important for nerve conduction, proteins, fats and carbohydrates are necessary for energy. Vitamins are important to help your pet process bio-chemicals.
Carbohydrates are part of the nutritional requirements for your pet, however these are much easier to give in excess than any other form of nutrition. Normal dry pet food contains between 30-70% carbohydrates, as they are a cheaper form of nutrition. In some pets, the surplus energy will be stored as fat, and obesity can occur. Take care to provide what is needed to your pet, preferably before weight gain occurs, as weight loss is much more difficult to achieve.
Why shouldn’t I give my pet table scraps?
Table scraps do not offer the nutrition that they need. The more you give them human food the less likely he/she is to eat their own. Your pet will get less of the vitamins and minerals he needs and probably more of those he does not need. Table scraps are also the quickest route to weight problems, even worse it can lead to your pet becoming a picky eater. Breaking your pet of the habit is difficult. Table scraps should never account for more than 10% of your mature pets’ diet.
Treats are better than table scraps because they have the nutrition your pet needs to maintain his health. They also encourage good behavior, as treats are usually given as a reward. Many have ingredients not found in regular dog food, and so can provide additional nutrition.
Foods to avoid: Chocolate, coffee, tea, citrus extracts, dairy products, onions, garlic, sugar, especially no bones that splinter easily, and keep your pet away from high-fat, greasy foods.
We offer a top of the line prescription diet products including Hills Pet Nutrition, Royal Canin, & Purina Diets. Our doctors and staff can assist in selecting a food product for your pet.