Food for Thought

There are so many pet foods out on the market that it can be mind boggling and hard for pet owners to know which is the right kind for their pet’s needs.  Every pet is unique and not all are alike in their requirements.  The choice of diet can change with the size of pet, activity level, breed, or a medical condition.  This article will very briefly discuss nutrition and what is good for your pet.  However, the best and most important thing you can take away from this is to talk with your veterinarian about your pet’s needs and diet recommendations.  An expert is always best.

The correct diet should be balanced and provide more than just calories for your pet.  We want to use food for body development and maintenance, energy, prevention of disease, and even as medicine for an illness.  Ingredients in the diet should be selected for nutrients, quality, and taste.  No single ingredient makes for a better food.  An excellent food consists of high quality ingredients to deliver the proper balance of protein, fat, carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins, and minerals to your pet.  The lower quality foods tend to provide either an excess or lack of ingredients.  Excess ingredients with improper balance are the most common.  These types of imbalances can lead to kidney, skin, and bone diseases.  

The following items mentioned are some examples of high quality ingredients.  Corn, rice, barley, and sorghum provide carbohydrates for energy and healthy skin.  Animal fat, vegetable oil, and fish oil are fats and essential fatty acids for energy, healthy skin, and improved taste.  Soybean meal, egg, poultry by-product meal, meat by-products, chicken, and fresh meat are proteins for muscle tone and development.  Fiber sources to promote intestinal tract health and can be helpful in weight control are cellulose, soybean mill run, and beet pulp.

An example of brands that we recommend, which are very high quality and provide the right balance for your pet are:  Science Diet, Eukanuba, Royal Canin, and Purina One.  These take the guess work out of a food that in general is best for your dog.  Often times, people buy a food based on its label and what they think the label means.  Do not judge a diet solely by its label!  It is different than with people and many times you will think that one brand of food is the same as another based on label and ingredients, but this is wrong.  Also, if you have a pet with a medical condition or one predisposed to certain types of diseases, this pet may require a specific diet, including prescription diets.  Only your veterinarian can help you with this. 

As veterinarians, our goal as a profession is to provide the best care we can to our patients, while also providing support and knowledge to our clients.  We do not get a profit from foods we recommend or sell.  We recommend specific diets for your pet because we care about your pet and want to help enhance their life.  Diet is so important!  The wrong type of diet can cause illnesses, while the correct can prevent and even treat them.  With good nutrition, an average pet’s life expectancy increases by years.  

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