Pet nutrition - the basics
Pet health care is a big part of owning a pet, and diet can play an important part in that. Just like people, our furry friends need a balanced diet to keep them happy and healthy. Walking down the pet food aisle can be a bit intimidating with so many choices available. We’ll let you know all the basics you should consider when food shopping for your pets.
Nutrition - the basics
Carbs like starch, sugar, and fibre provide your pet with energy and help the digestive system function properly. Carbs are normally found in animal food containing wheat, rice, or vegetables.
Fats are a massively important part of your pet’s diet. Fats are their main source of energy, keep fur and skin healthy, help absorb vitamins, and protect organs. For cats and dogs, their main source of fats will be animal fats.
While also providing energy, proteins help with cell growth, muscle repair, and regular body maintenance. They’re also the source of essential amino acids that must be provided through your pet’s diet. Protein comes from meat, and some veggies can be high in protein too.
Vitamins and minerals
If your pet has a balanced diet, they should be getting all the vitamins and minerals they need, so you won’t need to supplement them unless it is recommended by your vet.
Every pet is different.
So, now you know what pets generally need, but what about your pet specifically? The thing is, all pets are different, and what may be the perfect diet for one pet may not work well for another. Size, age, weight, breed, and overall health can all be deciding factors in what your pet should be eating.
How old is your pet?
Your pet’s diet will change as they grow. Kittens and puppies need a lot of protein to make sure they are growing healthily, while too much protein in older animals can cause health problems.
Know your pet food labels.
It can be hard to get quality pet food from the supermarket. Always check the label for the contents. Cats in particular need the amino acid taurine as their body can’t produce it naturally. Taurine is found in meat and fish products and so cats as carnivores require a high protein diet to get adequate levels of this amino acid. They need this for normal vision, digestion, and heart muscle function. Most supermarket labels will have taurine added in as a separate product, which means the meat content is not actually high enough without it.
As a general rule, adult cats require a crude protein level of 26% in their diet. Adult dogs require 18-22%, so check your labels to make sure this is a feature.
Beware buzz words and fad diets.
Just like in the human world, the pet world can also be swept up by fancy fad diets and buzzwords to make pet food seem better or healthier for your pet. Things like “grain free” and “raw” diets for pets have been popping up everywhere. The reality is they are not necessarily beneficial for your cat or dog. Dogs have adapted to be able to process cooked food more efficiently, so if feeding a raw diet, it needs to be fresh as raw meat can cause health issues due to salmonella poisoning and more. Stick to what you know works for your pet or use a provider that is nutritionally balanced.
If in doubt, talk to your vet.
If you are struggling to find the right balance for your pet, or if you just want some advice on what they need, talk to our team. They should be able to help you find exactly what works best for your pet and keep them happy and healthy.