MAD Pet Health Week - Animal Nutrition & Diets
In terms of diet and nutrition, there are many options available to us and this can get confusing. There are a few considerations to make when choosing the appropriate diet and formula for your pet.
Commercial diets are formulated to provide optimum nutrition for pets based on years of nutritional research and studies. Diets are also designed to enhance digestibility, thereby making nutrients more absorbable in the animal's gastrointestinal tract, enhancing body condition and health.
Age/Life Stage/Activity Level
Young animals like puppies and kittens require higher nutrition profiles as they are going through a rapid stage of development and laying down the necessary body structures as a foundation to support muscle growth.
Highly active dogs also require more energy to replenish and condition themselves. And of course pregnant/nursing animals need extra nutrition to support foetal development and milk production.
Do note that it is inadvisable to feed puppies, pregnant or nursing animals with prescription diets unless advised by your attending veterinarian.
It is common for pets in warm, humid environments to develop allergies and skin issues such as yeast and bacterial infections. Animals in good condition would typically exhibit shiny, glossy coats that are full, with minimal spots of hair loss (unless the animal is of a hairless breed). Healthy skin and coat does not produce strong odours, and this can be used as an indicator to know if your pet has a potential skin condition. If a strong odour is present, along with signs of excessive scratching, head shaking and discomfort, bring your pet to our attending veterinarian as soon as possible to nip the issue in the bud.
There are specially formulated hypoallergenic and anallergenic prescription diets that are helpful for animals with food derived skin sensitivities.
Numerous other special diets are available to support kidney, liver, heart, joint and gastrointestinal functions for long term health conditions.
Another consideration is that of texture and diet consistency. Pets with oral issues may benefit from a soft food diet, as well as those that don't tend to drink much water ie cats. However, some animals may prefer certain foods due to palatability and smell preferences. TIP: For animals that prefer kibbles but have trouble eating them, try soaking their favourite kibble in water or a pet-safe bone broth to soften it up into a mash before feeding.
Treats are a vital part of pet training and we must consider our pets' daily treat rate when determining which their routine diets and portions. There are also options for specially formulated treats for skin sensitivities and chronic conditions.
Believe it or not, our pets actually thrive off a routine diet plan! This prevents upset stomachs and also conditions their intestinal microflora to work at its optimum to digest and support growth and maintenance. Whenever their routine diets are changed suddenly, you may notice softer, runnier stools, which indicates the gut microflora being upset and will take time to rebalance. When transitioning to new diets, it is important to gradually mix incrementally increasing amounts of the new diet in with the original one. This eases the transition and prevents upset tummies which can be a nightmare to fix (and clean up after)!
What do you think? Feel free to ask us your questions!