One of the most important aspects of pet ownership is making sure that your pet eats a nutritious diet. Nutrition is crucial for your pet to grow and develop properly. It is also essential if they are to maintain a healthy, happy and active life. Nutrition also plays an active role in your pet’s preventative care, as eating the right food can help to protect your pet against a variety of health conditions, such as diabetes and food intolerances.
A complete and balanced diet usually comprises of protein, fats, carbohydrates, minerals and vitamins and water and most pet foods contain these elements. However, this doesn’t mean that any food product is right for your pet. An animal’s nutritional requirements change as they get older, meaning that you will need to ensure that your pet’s food reflects the diet that they need at each life stage.
A pet nutrition counselor can provide guidance on a range of different elements of your animal’s health and wellbeing including:
- An everyday diet based on your pet’s species, breed and age
- A custom-designed diet based on improving any health problems that your pet may be suffering from
- Dietary advice for animals that may be pregnant or nursing
- Guidance on the types and quantities of food your pet should be eating
- A schedule of mealtimes
- Advice on pet obesity and how to prevent it
- Advice on which brands of pet food are best suited for your animal
- Guidance on how to switch your pet to a new food
- Dietary supplement information
If your pet is already suffering from health problems, tailoring their diet may help to provide relief from some of their symptoms. In many cases, custom-designed diets have been shown to be beneficial for animals who have been diagnosed with:
- Arthritis (joint pain)
- Food intolerances
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease
- Kidney disease
- Liver disease
- Lower urinary tract disease
- Thyroid disorder
In the case of food intolerances, it may be necessary to try your pet on a range of elimination diets in order to successfully identify exactly what she is intolerant to.
In addition to knowing what your pet should be eating, it is also imperative to know how much they should be eating. Pet obesity is a serious problem, and the number of overweight pets in the U.S. is growing year on year. Just like humans, pets who are overweight are at substantially greater risk of developing chronic and serious health problems, including:
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Skin problems
By seeking nutritional counseling, you will be able to receive further information about the eating habits of healthy pets, including portion control. Your counselor will also be able to talk to you about the dangers of free-feeding, sharing human food with your pet and the suitability and frequency of treats.
If you are concerned about your pet’s eating, or if you would just like to see if you could be feeing him a more nutritious diet, contact our veterinarian today to see if they can offer pet nutritional counseling.