dog and cat nutrition.

The old adage “you are what you eat” isn’t limited to people. The same could very well be said of our pets, too. In fact, the quality of a pet’s food is directly linked to both vitality and longevity. There are many ways to ensure the best health outcome for a pet, and providing excellent, balanced nutrition is one of them. If only there were just a few pet food products to choose from. Instead, there are dozens of dizzying choices that make choosing pet nutrition a confusing experience. 

Ways to Simplify

How are pet owners supposed to make sense of the aisles of choices at pet food stores? For starters, separate the choices by species. Cats and dogs have very different nutritional needs. As obligate carnivores, cats need a higher ratio of protein to carbohydrates. Dogs, on the other hand, can thrive on a diet that has more carbohydrates than protein. 

A balanced diet for pets will have protein. Responsible for cell growth, tissue regeneration, and muscle repair, protein delivers numerous essential amino acids, including:

  • Arginine
  • Taurine
  • Lysine
  • Histidine
  • Leucine
  • Methionine
  • Phenylalanine
  • Tryptophan

What’s Up With Carbs?

Carbohydrates are important components of pet nutrition. They provide energy, assist digestion, and add to a pet’s daily well-being (they can add to a pet’s sense of “fullness”). 

Some cats love crunchy kibble products, but if they continue to receive carb-heavy dry food cats can become vulnerable to a variety of health conditions, including obesity. A combination of both crunchy and wet food can appeal to even picky cats’ palates. 

More About Wet Vs. Dry

Kibble is arguably the more affordable choice, but it does impact a pet’s hydration. Water is crucial to their survival and should always be available for them to drink as much as they want in a day. However, meal times can be a special opportunity to increase a pet’s water intake, and wet/canned foods are a fantastic nutritional device. Dehydration can impact the kidneys and affect long term health. 

Good Fats

Did you know that Vitamins A, D3, K, and E are fat-soluble? This means that a pet cannot absorb these vitamins without fat in their diet. Fats can be incredibly helpful to digestion as well as achieving healthy skin and coat. 

Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, as well as some fish oil products, can provide nutritional benefits to pets with allergies or other conditions. Before your pet receives these, please contact us regarding the product. 

Packaging and Marketing

Every product is competing for your attention and dollar. Read pet food labels carefully to ensure what you think you’re buying is exactly what your pet is consuming. A reputable company will provide their contact information so you can reach out about sourcing ingredients, quality control, and manufacturing protocols. 

Investing in high-quality pet food can support their lifestage, daily routine, and many health conditions. If you have any questions about your pet’s nutritional needs, certain commercial products, or prescription diets, we are always happy to assist you at Sunrise Boulevard Animal Hospital. Our staff is available at (916) 726-2334.