Nutritional Advice

Nutrition:

Along with regular exercise and veterinary care, careful nutrition is the best way you can contribute to your pet's prolonged good health.

These are the basic nutrients every pet needs:

  • Water is most essential.  Your pet's body is made up of approximately 70% water, therefore requires ready access to water at all times. 
  • Carbohydrates supply energy and come from sugars, starch, and fibre from plant sources. Carbohydrates help energize the brain and muscles, making your pet bright and active.
  • Fats also supply energy and in the right amounts help build strong cells and promote nutrient absorption.  Fats are also required for a healthy coat.
  • Proteins are required for a healthy coat, skin, and nails. Your pet's body uses the amino acids in proteins to make enzymes and hormones in the blood stream and to maintain a healthy immune system. Proteins can come from plant and meat sources, but cats and dogs need a high-quality animal protein.
  • Vitamins and minerals help regulate many body systems. For example, your pet needs the minerals calcium and phosphorous for strong bones. Antioxidant vitamins like vitamin E and C help boost your pet's immune system during times of stress.

How do you make sure your pet's diet is healthy?

We strongly recommend that you:

  • Feed premium pet foods. Premium foods offer high-quality ingredients, are made by companies specialising in nutritional research, and show a solid track record of quality and palatability
  • Make sure the food is fresh. When you purchase pet food, check for freshness and purchase only the amount necessary for your pet. Store pet food in a cool, dry place and keep it tightly closed. Discard uneaten food and always place fresh food in a clean bowl. In general, hard food (or "kibble") is preferred for maintaining dental health and minimizing tartar build-up. Soft, canned food tends to be more palatable and can be stored for longer.  Dog roll is also another suitable form of food. 
  • Keeping the diet varied by mixing biscuits with canned food and dog roll is a good way to not only prevent nutritional boredom but keeps the bacteria in the gut active and diverse, leading to a healthier gut and an animals ability to digest a wide range of different food types..
  • Feed the right amount. Ask us or check the label for how much to feed according to your pet's ideal weight (not necessarily the same as their current weight). Avoid feeding pets as much as they want or feeding a large amount at one time. Doing so can lead to obesity, gastrointestinal upset, or even bloat, a life threatening condition.
  • The best way to feed pets is two feeds per day, morning and night – this prevents the stomach from being empty for long periods helping reduce gastric erosions and ulcers. 
  • Allowing animals to graze continuously is also a good idea as they learn not to eat fast as there is always food available.  However, this does not work for certain breeds ie/Labradors, so common sense applies here.
  • Regular weighing of your pet and monitoring weight changes is a good thing to practice to ensure under or over feeding doesn’t occur.
  • Maintain a daily routine. A regular schedule will help your pet keep normal bowel movements and avoid indoor accidents. Younger pets need to be fed more frequently, as they are usually more energetic and burn more calories so 3-4 smaller feeds per day.
  • Avoid over treating your pet – treats can become a means to becoming overweight.  Owners need to learn to ignore those begging eyes.
  • Human food is not always the best thing to feed.  Especially pork or fatty foods as these can lead to intestinal upsets.
  • NEVER feed your dog a bone or any bone products, including the large shank bones sold at per shops or the butchers shop.  Bones are the cause of many obstructed dogs that we see every year .  This is a life threatening problem and causes a lot of financial pain for the owners to try and resolve.  Please don’t feed your dog bones....of any kind.

Life Cycle Feeding

Your pet's nutritional requirements will change as they age. Puppies need puppy food because it is higher in energy, calcium and protein, but feeding it to an adult dog can lead to obesity. Likewise, older pets need diets restricted in fat and supplemented with fibre for their optimum health. Many premium senior diets also contain additives to assist in the management of arthritis and can make your pet more comfortable.

Cat Diets:

Older cats often have kidney issues.  There are specific diets available to help prolong the life of your cat as these diets are lower in protein and phosphorus.  Changing to this prescription diet later in life may benefit your pet.

Likewise, male cats often suffer from an obstructed bladder due to the diet they are being fed.  There are cat specific diets that are designed to prevent this from occurring.

Please give us a call to discuss your pet’s nutritional needs. We will tailor a diet specifically for your pet that will give them the optimum quality and length of life.

Remember, you are what you eat, and so is your pet!