Your Kirkland Vet Talks Pet Nutrition and Health
Just like people, pets rely on a proper diet to keep them healthy. Also like people, they suffer from the abundance of junk food that is sold for them. Unfortunately, many dog and cat foods on the market are not good for your furry friend. Today, your Kirkland vet at Finn Hill Animal Hospital covers the basics of pet nutrition and how it can affect health.
Basic Dog and Cat Nutrition
Dogs and cats are both mainly carnivorous. This means that they are built to eat a lot of protein and fat, and not so many carbohydrates. However, high-quality carbohydrates can be a good source of energy and a valuable part of their diet. It is much more important to choose a food with high-quality ingredients than it is to look for or avoid certain ones.
Choosing the Right Pet Food
A good quality pet food ingredient list should start with a high-quality protein, either animal or vegetable. Meat may come in meal form in dry food, which is fine. Meats are made into meal to reduce the water content, which means that they are concentrated sources of animal protein that are good for your pet.
All dog and cat food should come with an AAFCO label that says it is approved for "maintenance" or "all life stages." This means that the manufacturer made sure the food met certain nutrient, vitamin, and mineral content requirements. This is the minimum standard, however, not a guarantee of a high-quality food.
Just like human food, pet food now comes with an amazing array of chemicals in it. They are used as coloring, flavoring, and preservatives. As much as possible, chemicals should be avoided in your pet's food. Many of these chemicals are known to be toxic at higher levels, and eating them their whole lives probably isn't good for your pet.
Preventing Pet Obesity
The first step to preventing pet obesity is to choose a high-quality food. When your pet's nutrition needs are being met, their body is healthier and obesity is less likely to occur. However, overeating on high-quality food can still cause weight gain, particularly in susceptible breeds.
That is why the second step is to feed measured, regular meals and take into account any treats your pet may have gotten. Some pets can be successfully free-fed without becoming overweight, but even in those cases, it is not recommended. If you free-feed your pet, you may not notice a decreased appetite, which can be an important sign of illness.
If your pet is prone to gaining weight, there are a number of diet foods on the market. Just like regular foods, they come in varying qualities, but most have reduced fat and increased fiber content. Unless your pet has a medical necessity, diet food should not contain less protein than normal food. In some cases, wet food might help your pet feel fuller because the moisture content means that there are fewer calories than in the same volume of dry food.
How Your Kirkland Vet Can Help You with Pet Nutrition
There are some good basic rules to narrow your choices when it comes to pet food, but after you've narrowed the options, you still have to find the right food for your pet. Pets have medical conditions, allergies, and likes and dislikes. Lifestyle factors such as age and activity levels play a part in the choice. Even things like choosing the right size kibble for a very small or very large dog are important. This is why nutritional counseling is one of the most valuable services that Finn Hill Animal Hospital offers.
Call Us Today!
To take advantage of our veterinary expertise on a subject that is the cornerstone of good health for your pet, call us today at 425-814-2220. If you and your pet are new to our practice, their first exam is free!