The Importance of Nutrition

Posted on Tue, May 05 2015

Choosing a pet food is very important when becoming a pet owner.  Proper nutrition creates the building blocks for our pets to live healthy and long lives.  Nutritional requirements change as a pet grows, matures, and ages.  Life-stage nutrition is the act of feeding pets a diet appropriate to the nutritional needs at that age or physiological state.  Examples are puppy, adult, or senior formula foods.  The amount of food a pet needs is determined by energy requirements to fulfill all daily activities.  Feeding appropriate amounts to maintain your pet's ideal weight can extend their life up to 2 years.

Owners considering homemade diets should consider factors such as having knowledge of nutritional needs, the time and effort to prepare meals, and the possible deterioration of nutrients during cooking and storage.  It is difficult to determine nutrient values in homemade diets.  Only receipies that are veterinary approved should be considered and then used with careful monitoring of the pet.  A high quality commerical diet labeled "100% Balanced" provides all the required components of nutrition.  Supplementing with vitamins and minerals is not necessary unless directed by your veterinarian.  Commericial diets are inexpensive, easy to use, and conveninet.  Safe foods to supplement commercial diets include:  rice, pasta, steamed or baked potatoes, raw or steamed vegetables, and some fruit.  AVOID raisins, grapes, avocados, onions, garlic, macadamia nuts, and highly acidic fruits (oranges, lemons, tomatoes) which can cause medical problems. 

Nutrition can also give a helping hand with some medical conditions.  Prescription diets have been formulated to use with medical therapy to treat and/or slow the progression of some disease processes.  Your veterinarian will be able to advise if and what diet would be most appropriate for your pet.  Any questions regarding your pet's nutrition can be answered by your veterinary health care team.