NUTRITION AND YOUR PET

We could write volumes on this subject. This is one of the most important choices you will make for your pet and it can be one of the most complicated decisions as there are so many food brands from which to choose. As far as meeting the nutritional needs and increase the effectiveness of companion animal care and more importantly, your companion animal, you must take into consideration age, breed, weight and any underlying conditions.

Dog and cat food is big, big business. As the nutritional needs of companion animals have been studied and requirements become more and more streamlined, almost every major label of dog and cat food has undergone huge changes. The industry has seen tremendous growth as dozens of new brands are out there. Moreover, owners are aware of how important nutrition is when it comes to a pet’s health needs and the competition is fierce when it comes to getting your business.

Let’s break it down in categories and let’s keep it within some simple guidelines. Beyond the information below, we are always available at the clinic or through our website email system to visit with you and help you choose a good food for your companion animal! If you are going to email, include all pertinent information about your pet.

 

PUPPIES JUST WEANED:

  • Consider adding nutrical if you have a small breed dog. For some reason, these pups are overrepresented in hypoglycemia.
  • These babies may eat puppy food softened with warm water or a special weaning diet. Some breeds have no problem going straight after the hard stuff and that’s great! Make sure you aren’t seeing any vomiting of whole kibble.
  • Feed and water them in a shallow dish. They can better see as well as smell the food.
  • Adding water to puppy food is a good idea. Sometimes, they just forget to drink!
  • If you can, choose a breed specific food from a pet store and if you shop at the grocery store, choose a puppy food that is size specific.

 

KITTENS:

  • Feed and water them in a shallow dish.
  • Choose a food that offers a very small kibble.
  • Do not feed cow’s milk. If you would like to supplement, use goat’s milk (not concentrated) or mother’s milk replacer.

 

ORPHANS:

  • Bottle feed them a reconstituted or canned mother’s milk replacer. Goat’s milk (not from the canned concentrate) diluted by one third with water the amount you are mixing is also a sound choice. Yes, you are diluting the fresh goat’s of refrigerated goat’s milk.
  • Orphans are fed every 2 hours for the first two weeks and every 3-4 hours for two weeks after that. At 4 weeks, you may continue the bottle or move them to a puppy food mash (warm water, milk replacer or goat’s milk) or commercial weaning diet which is available at the clinic and most pet stores and is easy as well as nutritionally balanced. It also comes in an impressive volume for the money.

 

ADULT DOGS:

1.   Calculate the resting energy requirements:

[KG X 30] + 70              Kg are found: lbs divided by 2.2

2.    Choose a quality dog food. Take into consideration your dog’s lifestyle and breed and ask for help at the clinic or the pet store. Calculate the caloric needs and call if you have questions.

Intense activity dogs, such as competition dogs or service dogs, might need an additional 1/3 calories.

An underweight dog’s caloric needs (along with a supplement provided by your doctor) will be met by adding another 1/3 of the calories calculated until they have reached a suitable weight. We like to add these extra calories through a third meal.

An overweight dog can successfully be put on a diet and we are proud of our commitment to clients who are serious about dieting their dog. A general exam and a thyroid panel ($40) will be required before prescribing a diet food. Most diets last 90-120 days. It would be considered extreme if the dog lost more than one-third of the body weight during a diet. We like for our dieters to come to the clinic for a weight check with the purchase of each bag of dog food.

Always provide fresh water every day. Protozoas love stale water and these are not good for your dog. Dog’s like cold water. You may want to add some ice cubes in the summer.

Avoid store bought treats that are packaged to look like human foods. I guess you could say they are our pet peeve (excuse the pun). We will be happy to provide you with what we call “the acceptable snack list” which is a combination of good things available in most kitchens. A small dog can have a teaspoon of anything on the list twice a day and a large dog a tablespoon of anything on the list twice a day.

We also have a list of good carbs and fats which are essential to the nutrition of underweight or rehabilitating pets.

We can help with choosing a sound vitamin or super food to add to your pet’s diet. These are always a good idea.

We can guide you toward lists of foods that are poisonous but I will say you can look these up on the web. A list of poisonous plants is available as well. A consensus is out there as to what is truly harmful and these lists don’t vary too much from one another. Check it out.

CATS:

Most cats are grazers or social eaters. Have you noticed when you get home you may have a cat that runs to the food bowl and begins to eat? Kind of a funny thing but very common. We call this social eating. It’s the grazers that tend to become overweight. Sometimes it is a good idea to put the food up at night or allow three hours in the morning and three hours in the evening for the cat to eat.

Cats are hard to diet. It is by far the best option to keep these pets from becoming overweight. Let us help you choose a food to control weight or go to your pet store as soon as you notice weight gain. Many diseases, such as hepatic lipidemia and diabetes, occur often in overweight cats.

Making the cat exercise can be tricky but more and more interactive toys and exercise stations are being made available at the pet shops. If you are going to exercise the cat outside of your home, start early with harness training.

Cats have to receive their protein through their food so it is not a good idea for the cat to eat dog food.

We do not recommend cow’s milk to the feline.

Some cats like very specific things to snack on that you are using in the kitchen. Call us if your cat has developed an obsession with a particular food item. We can help in providing information if it is safe for kitty to eat a specific thing.

We hope the above information provides some guidelines and pearls of information about your pet’s nutrition. We are always available to try and answer questions you have about how to feed your pet.

The one important thing you should take from this page is that you must be careful how and what to feed your wonderful friend.