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Good Nutritional choices for your pet
by Tania Archbold,Veterinary Nurse
Choose quality foods - just like you would for yourself!
It is best to feed your pet the best nutrition you can for your pet. Premium quality pet food can help to visibly improve a pet's appearance and well-being in just 30 days and may even extend their lives.
Packaging labels and ingredient lists are a great source of information about the pet food in question. By knowing what to look for you can choose a better quality of nutrition for your pet, benefiting from a longer, healthier life together. It is not just about the ingredients; it's about the right balance of nutrients. Excess can be just as concerning as deficiency within ingredients.
A little knowledge will help you choose the right food for your cat or dog, so here are some tips to guide you in making your selection.
Dogs and cats have very different nutritional requirements so make sure you feed your cat and dog food that is manufactured for their species. The levels of ingredients differ from species to species so what may be good for your dog, may harm your cat.
Make sure the food you choose states it is "complete and balanced". This means it contains all the nutrients your pet needs and in the correct amounts. The claim "complementary" or "treat only" means it is not to be used as the main food for your pet and should not be used in excessive amounts.
Premium foods are made of higher quality ingredients, higher levels of essential nutrients and some nutrients known to have benefits for their pets' health and well-being.
Premium quality cat food should contain a high proportion of protein from animal sources, which are more suited to a cat's specific metabolism than plant or cereal proteins as they are carnivores. Look for real meat as the first ingredient.
Dogs are omnivores so they can eat meat as well as vegetables and protein from cereals. The best quality nutrition will have meat as the primary protein source, so look to see that meat is the first ingredient on the label.
When you choose a premium pet food you may notice the amount you need to feed your pet is reduced. This is because high quality pet food is energy dense and more digestible so more is used by your pet and less goes to waste. It can make cleaning up after your pet a lot easier as premium pet foods should produce smaller, less odourous stools.
Changes in requirements with life stage
Your pet's nutrition needs change as it matures from a kitten or puppy, through adulthood and into the senior years. High quality pet food usually includes a range of different formulas specially designed to suit the specific needs of each life-stage. Your pet is in adulthood from the age of one and should go onto an adult formula at this age.
Premium quality pet foods may also contain special functional ingredients for extra health benefits or to help address particular health issues like weight control and sensitivities. Some of these foods are prescription only, which means you need to see a vet before you can put your pet on some diets. If you swap veterinary clinics, they will need to contact your previous veterinarian to make sure you are purchasing the correct diet for your pet. Buying the wrong food can be harmful if you are on a prescription diet.
Meal feed your pet by measuring the appropriate daily feeding amount of food and placing it in your pet's bowl. If you are feeding your pet more than one meal during the day (re recommend feeding twice daily for adult dogs and more for young puppies), divide the amount into the number of feedings for the day.
We strongly believe that feeding pets table scraps or "people" food can lead to excesses or deficiencies of nutrients in your pet's diet which over time may lead to health problems for your pet including obesity.
Some things to think about when reading the ingredient labels:
Corn is also highly digestible, higher than several other grains such as rice, wheat, barley and sorghum. Corn is an excellent ingredient because of the benefits it brings to the product. Corn is a highly nutritious ingredient chosen as a source of protein (for muscle and tissue growth), carbohydrates (for energy), fiber, antioxidants (Beta-carotene, Vitamin E, Lutein) and linoleic acid - an essential fatty acid that promotes healthy skin and a luxurious coat.
For adult cats and dogs: