Feeding a balanced diet is difficult to do with home cooking and preparation. It can be done, but requires guidance and a tailored approach for your specific dog or cat’s needs, as well as trace minerals and vitamins. If you prefer to cook for your pets, take the time to get a Nutritional Consultation done by a veterinary nutritionist. We can assist with this at Bark and Bliss to make sure your pet is getting a complete and appropriate diet.
Knowing the Proper Diet
Balanced diets will note on the bag of food what life stage they are meant for. Diets that have been tested and proven to be complete diets will have a seal that notes, AAFCO feeding trial approved.
The Role of Your Pet’s Diet
The food your pet eats, has a big effect on how they function. Much like in humans, where the correct nutrition can prevent disease, improve our sport performance, build healthy muscle, the same is true for pets. Feeding them the right food, with proper nutrients, vitamins and minerals, leads to the best functioning pet. The opposite is true as well, feeding your pet a poor diet without the proper minerals, vitamins, and healthy proteins can cause reduced growth and muscle development, poorly functioning immune systems, poor skin and haircoat, diarrhea and poor gastrointestinal function.
How does Nutrition Affect Pregnant Pets?
Proper nutrition should start from gestation of puppies and kittens. Pregnant pets should be fed a quality puppy or kitten diet early in their pregnancy and throughout, to give them the nutrition to form healthy fetuses with proper mineral and vitamin content for development of healthy cartilage, bones, eyes and organ development. Mother’s that are fed limited or poor nutrition, will and often do have smaller young born, that could have congenital abnormalities that aren’t noted until the pups are older. This can lead to failing pups and kittens, that do not live long or pets that have chronic issues throughout their life.
Feeding Growing Animals Properly, Building Blocks for Life
Nutrition is of the utmost importance in growing animals. It is paramount that puppies and kittens are fed the right food for growth. Feeding them a high-quality food, results in the most appropriate growth rate, well-functioning immune systems and healthy skin and coat. Puppies should also be fed a puppy diet based on their expected full-grown size. Those expected to be over 50lbs need to be fed a Large Breed Puppy diet to get them the right balance of minerals and vitamins for proper bone growth. Small breed puppies, and toy breeds, should also be fed a Small Breed Puppy diet, again so they get the proper nutrients for appropriate bone growth and organ function.
Nutrition for Managing Disease Conditions
Specific diets have been created for many ailments to manage disease processes with the support of nutrition. For example, dogs that have demodectic mange will often have better hair-growth when on a proper diet in combination with mange treatments. This is because the food is boosting the immune function and the body’s own ability to fight the mange.
There are diets for managing skin allergies, kidney disease, liver disease, thyroid and neurological conditions as well. There are even diets that help reduce allergens in cat saliva, to make them less allergenic to their owners. All of this , helps support even further how important the role of nutrition is in the health of our pets and ourselves.
Grain Free Diets
Grain free diets were created by well-intentioned people. Unfortunately, pets do not get celiac disease and for dogs this lack of grains has led to cardiac abnormalities in thousands of dogs as they are omnivores and require appropriate grains for normal heart function. We do not recommend ever feeding your pets a strictly grain free diet, but it can be incorporated into a complete diet that does include grains.
High Quality Diets
Most of the larger food companies have done a great deal of research on their brands and have a quality product. We recommend Purina Proplan®, as it is a thoroughly researched, extremely high-quality product that produces great results in our patients. Our staff is very familiar with these diets and feeds it to their own pets. Ask us what food is right for your pet.
- Firstly, when your dog gets worked up give them a verbal cue that works to both catch their attention and provides them with something to do. That cue can be “sit,” “down,” or even “relax.” You just want to make sure you can use it consistently.
- Secondly, use the word until your dog performs the behavior that you want, such as lying down, sitting at your feet, or even just stopping what they are doing and looking at you. You may have to show them what to do the first few times until they get the hang of it.