Choosing a food for your pet can be overwhelming. Walk into any pet supply store and the sheer volume of food in the building is staggering. With so many options for foods and treats is it any wonder that you reach for the one with the prettiest label and stick with it? So which food should you choose? Unfortunately, there is no magic formula for picking the best food for your pet’s needs. The ideal diet depends on a variety of factors and no one pet has exactly the same nutrition needs as the rest.
Puppies and kittens have different requirements from adults and seniors. Within puppy foods, there are different requirements for large breed puppies than smaller breeds. Once life stage of your pet has been determined, consider if your pet has any health problems. Conditions like obesity, diabetes mellitus, hyperthyroidism and kidney disease, among others, can be affected by the diet you feed your pet. Discussing all of these factors is beyond the scope of this article; however, if your pet has any medical conditions, Livingston Vet Clinic can help you formulate a diet plan that will be the most beneficial to your pet’s particular needs.
The biggest challenge to choosing a diet is assessing the quality of the diet. All commercial pet foods that have an AAFCO statement on them have been formulated to meet the minimal nutritional requirements for the life stage of the animal for which they are advertised, i.e. large breed puppies, all life stages, senior dogs, etc. The difference between the foods is the quality of ingredients, particularly the protein found in the food. Higher quality in this case simply means more digestible. The more digestible the ingredients are, the more benefit your pet will get from that diet. Side effects of a highly digestible diet include less food consumed in a meal and less stool.
Other ingredients to consider in a diet include the amount of carbohydrates and fiber. Depending on the needs of your pet these ingredients can play an important role in your pet’s diet. For example, if your pet needs to lose a large number of pounds but seems always hungry on his calorie restricted diet, a higher fiber content can help make him feel more full. If your cat is diabetic, a high carbohydrate diet is the last thing he needs.
Trying to choose a good diet for your pet and considering all the factors that can affect your pet’s individual needs can set your head spinning. Livingston Vet can help you determine what you should feed your pet and which diet has the best fit for his individual needs. Feel free to contact us today!