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Our Blog: Pet Nutrition Guidelines

Proper nutrition for pets is one of the most imperative, yet easiest, methods of ensuring superior health. As in people, the appropriate diet helps pets to live longer, healthier lives. Overweight cats and dogs are at higher risk for many illnesses. It is all too easy to spoil our pets with fatty, high calorie people food. Our pets look at us with "those eyes" and we give them a nibble or two and thus the cycle continues. Fresh veggies are always better options for giving snacks to our pets. In addition, a high-quality diet can help prevent or manage certain disease processes.

In general dogs benefit most from a dry kibble diet. It is easier to control calories and makes a huge difference in their dental health. Cats are better served by eating canned food. The extra moisture and combination of nutrients helps with weight control and urinary tract health.

Diets for Young Dogs and Cats (< 12months)

These youngsters need a nutritional program formulated for growing bodies. These diets help puppies and kittens develop strong muscles, bones and teeth. It is very important that these little ones eat their own food rather than munch on the food of any other household pets. The nutritional needs of puppies can vary by breed. For example, a large breed dog, such as a Great Dane, will require a diet formulated for such.

Adult Diets (1-6 years)

A healthy pet in the middle years of its life won’t require as much protein as a growing puppy or kitten. However it is important that their diet address all of their needs based on the breed and activity level.

Dogs are omnivores, or eat meat, vegetables and grains - Although, they can require a large amount of protein in their diets.

Cats, on the other hand, are true carnivores, meaning that they require even more protein than their canine counterparts. In addition, cats are unable to produce taurine, an essential amino acid crucial to a healthy heart, and require this supplement in their diet.

Senior Diets (> 7years)

Pets age differently, so before deciding to put a pet on a senior diet, consult with your veterinarian. As a rule of thumb, most veterinarians will refer to any animal 7 years and over as a senior patient. Senior diets will include antioxidant blends to help keep the immune system strong, joint supplements to help with any arthritic changes and special formulations to make digestion easier. Body weight can often become an issue in senior pets which is why there are senior diets to help manage both underweight and overweight pets.

Before making a decision regarding your pet’s diet, consult with your pet's veterinarian at Gentle Care Animal Hospital. This is also true when switching a pet from one diet to another; if not done correctly, it can result in gastrointestinal issues. As always, an owner should stay alert regarding their pet’s health and let us know immediately of any changes taking place. Gentle Care Animal Hospital carries Hill's, Royal Canin and Purina foods and we can also help you choose from a variety of other manufacturers. We often have samples of diets on hand to see if your pet likes the food before making a purchase.

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