Does It Really Matter What I Feed My Pet?

5 10 2010

If you’re like most pet owners, your dog or cat is a large part of your family. You wouldn’t feed your human family members anything that could potentially harm them, so why shouldn’t your furry family members get the same treatment?

Choosing the proper diet for your dog or cat is not very different from choosing a proper diet for you. A diet consisting of whole foods enhanced with vitamins, minerals, enzymes and supplements as necessary. These extra steps are important for preventing disease, promote good health as well as address any health issues that may arise.

We have to remember that the pets curled up at our feet or in our lap are descendents from hunters. Dogs are direct descendants of wolves. While they have become domesticated over the years, their digestive system hasn’t changed. Their short intestinal track is ideal for consuming and digesting raw foods. The same is true for your cat. Cats are true carnivores, meaning a meat only diet, and their digestive tracts are also designed for raw foods.

Because of cost and convenience, kibble has become a standard mainstay in our pet’s diet. While veterinarians and other pet experts understand the reasons behind using kibble as a large portion of your pet’s diet, they are becoming more and more aware of the nutritional needs of our pets and encouraging a proactive approach to nutrition by choosing quality of ingredients combined with preparation over diets based on cost and convenience. This generally means a raw diet for most dogs and cats is best. Experts know this is just not always feasible and recommend that plenty of decision is put into choosing the healthiest options possible for your pet. Putting as much thought as possible into this decision now can help prevent costly illnesses caused by poor diet and nutrition later on.

There are many factors that determine the healthiest choices for your pet’s diet. Two of the most important, and the two we are going to focus on for this posting, are Freshness and Rotation.

Freshness

First rule of thumb: the fresher, the better. Fresh food is full of important vitamins, minerals, enzymes and antioxidants all in their natural state which make them more digested. Heat is a nutrient’s worst enemy, as it breaks down the important vitamins and minerals. The less food is heat processed, the less the vitamins are broken down, the easier the food is digested and the healthier overall your pet will be. If you are set on using kibble for your pet, perhaps adding fresh or frozen foods, fresh cooked meat, or even canned foods can enhance his diet.

Rotation

We don’t eat the exact same food every day, neither should your pet. We enjoy a good meal and so do our dogs and cats, so variety is every bit as important as freshness when it comes to your pet’s diet. Diversity when it comes to your pet’s diet will provide more complete nutrition than a more formulated diet. Eating the same foods over a long period of time can also cause your pet to develop food allergies and sensitivities.

Varying your pet’s diet is important. If your pet is already on a raw diet, you won’t need a transition period when switching between foods. If you are using kibble, you will need a gradual transition period of one to two weeks. As a general rule, cats should never have kibble as a main portion of their diets.

Please subscribe to our blog and come back tomorrow when we continue our discussion of how to choose the best diet for your pet.

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2 responses

6 10 2010
anythingdogz

I think this is an interesting article. I was told by a trainer some time ago, that dogs don’t really know the difference between all the foods available. Clearly my dog does know and decided that he didn’t after a while really like the food that we gave him and just picked at it over a period of time. We decided to switch to a well known canned variety of dog food and since then I have never seen a dog get so excited at meal times!

6 10 2010
animalrescuesuperhighway

Thank you for your comments. I’m glad that you found the article interesting. We’ve had many come to us and ask us why we recommend certain types of foods, etc., and thought it would help to put the information out there. I couldn’t disagree with your trainer more – I do believe animals know what they like or don’t like just as much as we do. Plus, as mentioned in this article, their digestive systems are geared toward certain types of food. Please note, we won’t be endorsing any one type or brand of food, just providing information for pet owners to help make the right choice for their pet. I do hope you’ll subscribe and keep reading on this topic and others. Thank you again for your comments!

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