A common question asked of veterinarians is, “What is the best food for pets?” Of course, the answer is, “It all depends.”
The first thing to consider is your pet’s age. As with humans, there is a variation between the needs of young animals and old ones. A young pet, rapidly growing, will need more frequent feeding, say three or four times a day. It will also need a higher protein level for growth, and building tissues.
At Fairview Pet Clinic, we recommend all growing pets be supplied with a multivitamin until their growth is completed. To help get rid of baby teeth and to keep permanent teeth clean we supply Hill’s TD (Tooth Diet) biscuits to our clients.
If you have an older pet, its needs change. Two, smaller meals a day are sufficient. Senior pets should also be supplied a geriatric vitamin to slow aging changes.
Besides age, there also a pet’s special needs to consider when meals are discussed. Should a pet be showing food allergies, which are quite common, there are a number of diets that can control such a problem. Consult your vet if you think your pet has food allergies.
Perhaps your dog is an agility performer, or another working dog. In that case, the need for calories and protein would increase to supply the energy needed for such activities. Active dogs should also be supplied joint protecting supplements, such as glucosamine, MSM, and vitamin C.
We strongly advise against cat diets heavy in dry foods. Male cats especially, due to danger of urinary blockage, should never be fed more than one third dry food. The remaining two-thirds should consist of canned foods, leftover meats, fish or poultry. Female cats may be allowed slightly more dry food, but always at regular, twice daily meal times, with absolutely no food left out during the day. We also suggest feline Hill’s TD for tooth cleaning.
Dry diets are usually high in carbohydrates, a reason for our current obesity epidemic in pets. Small dogs under 20 pounds get along just fine on no dry food at all, just canned and fresh foods.
So just use your common sense and feed a mix of dry, canned and leftover food in reasonable amounts for a long, active, healthy life for your pet companion.
Bud Stuart DVM is a local veterinarian and owner of the Fairview Pet Clinic. He stresses nutrition and preventative medicine.
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