Note for Pet Owners
This information is provided by
Provet for educational purposes only.
You should seek the advice of your
veterinarian if your pet is ill as only he or she can correctly advise on the
diagnosis and recommend the treatment that is most appropriate for your pet.
You should seek the advice of your veterinarian if your pet is ill as only he or she can correctly advise on the diagnosis and recommend the treatment that is most appropriate for your pet.
We have been feeding cats and dogs prepared foods (homemade or manufactured) for many years, but our knowledge of the nutritional requirements of pets throughout their lifecycle stages of growth, adulthood, reproduction and old age is still far from complete.
What is essential ?
All animals need energy and this can be supplied by :
Vitamins, minerals and water do not supply any energy.
The following nutrients are essential :
Although carbohydrates, and fibre are beneficial to cats and dogs, they are not essential.
How does diet affect health ?
A pets ration can influence its health in various ways :
From a nutritional point of view, pets are not just small humans ! We need vitamin C in our ration, but cats and dogs do not because they can manufacture sufficient in their livers.
Also, cats are not small dogs !
Dogs, like us, are omnivores. That is, their digestive system and metabolic processes are designed to deal with a mixture of food types - animal origin and plant origin. So, dogs can be fed a vegetarian diet without any problems (provided it meets their basic nutritional requirements).
Cats, on the other hand, are obligate carnivores, which means they must have a diet that contains nutrients derived from meat. Cats can not be fed a vegetarian diet without serious risks to their health.
Cats have many different nutrient requirements to dogs including :
So, you should not feed dog foods as an exclusive ration for cats.
Nutrition in the management of disease
Dietary management is extremely important for the successful treatment of many diseases and your veterinarian may well advise a change in diet if your pet is ill
Some examples of the role of clinical nutrition include :
Choosing a pet food
It is almost impossible to make a home made ration that would meet all nutritional requirements and be digestible and acceptable to an animal. Pets allowed to roam might supplement their ration, but pets confined to a home are at risk if they are fed exclusively home made or "fad" diets.
The following are VERY BAD foods for pets :
It is safer to feed a manufactured pet food from a reputable company.
When buying a manufactured pet food read the label carefully. If it states that it is a "COMPLETE" food it must contain all the essential nutrients that the species it is intended for needs. However, if it states that the food is "COMPLEMENTARY" this does not guarantee that the food contains everything that the intended species needs. You have to give other foods to produce a balanced and COMPLETE ration, so, you must find out what should be fed with it.
In addition containing everything that your pet needs based upon it's chemical analysis, it is also preferable that the pet food should be tested in feeding trials. Reputable companies will be able to confirm that they routinely test batches of their products and meet AAFCO standards (the American food industry standards) or an equivalent..
Your veterinarian can advise you on the most appropriate food for your pet, especially if it becomes ill.
Finally, weigh your pet regularly because that will give you a simple and effective indicator of many food-related problems, and don't allow your pet to become obese.
Updated October 2013