The Basics of Pet Nutrition

Today pet owners are spoilt for choice. There is an ever-increasing variety of food choices for your pet to indulge in. The pet food landscape is only becoming more and more confusing with every passing day, with a whole host of speciality foods and food tailor-made to suit specific nutritional requirements and health conditions. To add to the confusion, similar to food produced for humans, pet food has fancy advertising campaigns that seem, oh so good.

If you are confused about what you should be giving your pet, talk to Byford vet who can advise you on what is best in terms of the type of food and nutritional requirement for your pet.

You may be asking yourself several questions like, does my pet need vitamins similar to what humans need, can I give my pet squirrel a bit of the food I give my cat, should it be three meals a day during those growing years and one meal in old age. The best way to get started on these questions is to start understanding the basics of pet nutrition and with a little help from your vet, you will feel confident about your choices in no time.

·         Protein

Irrespective of what kind of pet you have, be it a rabbit or a dog, animals need protein. Protein can be provided to your pet in the form of meat, fish, poultry or nuts. When choosing your dry, wet or fresh food go through the nutritional content to ensure there is an adequate amount of protein provided to your pet each day.

·         Carbohydrate

While providing a good source of energy, carbohydrates in the form of fibre also help your pet’s digestive tract function well.

·         Fats

Fats can provide a good source of energy to your pet and is, therefore, an essential nutrient in their daily diet. Be mindful though that regular food, snacks and treats with high-fat content are loaded with calories that can add to weight gain in pets that do not get much exercise.

·         Vitamins

It is commonly understood that, unlike humans, pets do not require an additional source of vitamins. Not unless there is a health condition that specifically requires it. A balanced diet of protein, carbohydrates and fats will adequately provide your pet with the vitamin it needs to live a healthy life.

Is pet food universal? There is a consensus that it is not

Have you ever wondered if you can give your cat some of your pet dog’s food or thought there possibly couldn’t be a difference in the nutrient content of cat vs. dog food? You may think the only difference lies in the size and texture of the food. However, cats require a minimum of 26% protein in food while dogs require much less, about 18%. The nutrient profile of cat food is therefore different to dog food. So, if you feed your cat, dog food, then your cat will not be getting the required nutrition it needs.