Your pet's nutrition has a lasting effect on their overall health. After all, the saying 'you are what you eat' applies to your cat or dog too. Here, our Snellville vets talk about the connection between your pet's diet and health and the benefits of discussing their nutrition during routine checkups.
The Relevance of Nutrition For Your Pet's Health
Proper nutrition for any animal (including humans) affects their overall health. All animals need a specific diet that consists of protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals and water in order to meet their needs. When looking into food for your pet it's important to note that each brand's manufacturer focuses on ensuring a proper blend of all necessary nutrients.
No matter your dog or cat's unique needs, the right food for them is out there. Whether they are young or old or if they have an underlying condition, your vet will be able to recommend the right food to keep your pet strong and healthy.
How Diet Helps With Weight Management in Pets
If your vet has concerns about your pet's weight, the first thing they may recommend is putting them on a weight management diet. This might mean switching their food to one that specifically helps with weight loss. You can also change the type of treats that you offer them along with decreasing the frequency that you provide them with treats.
What You Need to Know About Weight Management
Your pet may not look overweight or underweight. Unfortunately, most pets in North America are obese which can make it difficult for pet owners to tell when their own pet is putting on weight.
Your vet will steer you in the right direction. If your vet thinks that your pet may not be at a healthy weight they will take the time to thoroughly examine them and evaluate their weight. If they deem it necessary for your pet to lose weight they will offer recommendations that include a change in diet as well as daily activities and more.
Nutrition is crucial to weight management in pets. Your vet will ensure that your cat or dog's nutrition plan contains everything they need to stay healthy.
Weight management is needed permanently. Your vet will continually monitor your pet's weight at each of their annual visits. They will note any changes in weight and offer advice as needed.
It depends on your pet's unique needs and lifestyle. When helping you develop a nutrition and weight management plan for your pet, your vet will take a number of factors into consideration. This includes:
Treats should only be 10% of your pet's daily food intake. Your pet should only be eating 10% of their entire caloric intake as treats. This includes table scraps!
You should use interaction as a reward for good behavior rather than treats. While treats can be great for motivating pets, this is also an easy way to end up with an overweight pet. Instead, you should opt to offer cuddles and pets as a reward.
What you do at home is vital to weight management. In the end, it will be how diligent you are at home that determines the success of your dog or cat's weight loss.
How Nutritional Requirements Change at Each Stage of Your Pet's Life
While there are general guidelines for dog and cat nutrition, this can be refined based on each individual pet based on the stage of life they are in and other circumstances.
Puppies & Kittens
Puppies and kittens generally require a higher intake of vitamins, fats, minerals and more compared to their older counterparts. This is because their nutritional intake directly affects their physical and mental development. All puppies and kittens should have a diet geared to their needs until they reach about 12 months of age.
Adult Cats & Dogs
Most adult dogs and cats between the ages of one and seven require moderate amounts of nutrients. This includes calories, protein, fat, vitamins and minerals. As long as your dog or cat is healthy and doesn't suffer from underlying health conditions a standard food formulated for adults should contain everything they need.
Seniors Cats & Dogs
Once a dog or cat becomes a senior they may no longer be as active as they once were. This means that their diet should take this into consideration as they will no longer need as many calories to keep going. A well-balanced food for senior pets should also include any vitamins and minerals to help combat conditions that they may begin to face as they age.
The Benefit of Nutritional Discussions During Routine Visits
Your vet will be a wealth of knowledge throughout the life of your pet. You should take some time during each wellness exam to discuss the nutritional needs of your pet and any dietary changes that may be needed. Because their needs are ever-changing you should be sure to have this conversation every year and don't hesitate to reach out to your vet if you have any questions between regular exams.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.