Animals

Pets and their diet

Diet and the right nutrition has come a long way in the pet industry over the last few years and getting it right can often be mind boggling, particularly when you’re a first time pet-owner.

Firstly, you need to establish your pet’s ‘life stage’.  In other words do you have a puppy or kitten, an adult dog or cat, or a more senior furry friend?

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What we call ‘life stage’ diets are tailored to your pet’s needs and will provide more of what is needed nutritionally during each stage of their life.  For instance, feeding your new pup on specific puppy food will give them a diet specially formulated to meet the nutritional needs for their normal development. Puppies need to eat more in the way of protein (including higher concentrations of specific amino acids), fat, and certain minerals than adult dogs.  Growth and development take a lot of energy, so puppies need to take in more calories than adult dogs, even for those of a similar size

Secondly, look at the ingredients.  If you’re a bit confused, take a look at another food.  The ingredients’ list shouldn’t be too confusing and you should be able to work out exactly what’s in the food.  Food ingredients will be listed in quantity, so the first ingredient on the list, say it says chicken, will be what it contains the most of. 

Feeding guidelines for all stages of your pet’s life can be a bit confusing and we always recommend having a conversation with the veterinary nurse at your registered vets.  They will be able to help and guide you throughout your pet’s life in the diet changes that need to be made.  Most vet nurses also run what we call ‘weight clinics’ and can help if you think your dog or cat has perhaps put on little bit of excess that needs to be got under control. 

It’s important to establish your pet’s ‘body condition score’.   Body condition scoring is a management tool designed to assess body reserves or fat accumulation of an animal.  Your vet nurse will use this as a method of examining the nutritional status of your pet and guide you appropriately. 

As we said, it can be a bit overwhelming, but discussing your pet’s diet and any specific needs is always recommended.

Guest post by: www.vetsmiths.co.uk

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