Whether you feed your pet a commercial dry or canned diet, a dehydrated premixed diet, commercially-prepared fresh or frozen food, a home-prepared diet, a raw meat-based diet, or something else (it seems like new options are available every day), you probably have concerns about whether you’ve made the right choice for your pet.
There is much conflicting information available to pet owners about the best way to feed a pet, and it’s hard to know which advice to take. Veterinary Nutrition Care can help you to sort through pet food marketing and misinformation to create an objective picture of your pet’s diet and what it does (or doesn’t) provide and compare that to your pet’s own unique needs.
Dogs and cats have absolute requirements for about 40 different essential nutrients. For healthy adult animals, not meeting all of these requirements probably won’t cause a serious problem right away, but if they’re not getting everything they need, they may not be feeling great or doing everything we ask of them as well as they could otherwise. In puppies and kittens, especially those less than six months old, it's different. The demands of their growth mean that a diet that doesn’t provide everything they need can cause serious problems, even if fed for only a short period of time. Pets with medical conditions also have special dietary needs, so it’s important to make sure their diet gives them everything they need to heal, recover, fight disease, and still be themselves.
There are many ways to meet these needs, and there is not one right answer for everyone. Commercial pet diets can do a good job of this, but not all are a good fit for every pet and every pet owner. It’s not so obvious from labeling, but there can be big differences in the amounts of different nutrients provided by similar-looking pet diets. Pet food labeling isn’t really very helpful, because it’s done in such a way that makes it difficult to compare one diet to another directly. Veterinary Nutrition Care can help you to use the information available to your benefit, and learn how to select a diet that really suits your pet’s needs, as well as yours.
While home-prepared (cooked or raw) diets can certainly meet pets’ needs, research has shown that 95% of home-prepared diet recipes available to pet owners online and in pet care books, including those written by veterinarians, have significant nutrient deficiencies- meaning that there isn’t enough of some of those 40 essential nutrients. Pet owners who have made up their own recipes or simply feed pets what they prepare for themselves generally don’t do any better when it comes to meeting dogs’ and cats’ essential nutrient requirements. Unfortunately, rotational feeding of different diet ingredients doesn’t solve this problem, because most of the food items that we typically prepare for ourselves and our pets share the same set nutrient deficiencies (at least compared to the requirements of dogs and cats). In the study mentioned above, the only home-prepared diet recipes that did provide all of the essential nutrients in appropriate amounts were those formulated by a veterinary nutritionist. If you feed your pet a home-prepared diet (and it was not created by a veterinary nutritionist), Veterinary Nutrition Care can help you to check for, and correct, any nutrient deficiencies so that you can be sure you’re providing your pet with everything they need, to do everything they need to do.
Knowing that you're giving your pet exactly what they need is great for peace of mind. Veterinary Nutrition Care can help you get there.