‘You are what you eat’ is a saying that not only applies to humans but to animals too. Meeting a pet’s nutritional needs is an integral part its healthcare regime.
Essential nutrients can be divided into six classes and they include protein, fat, carbohydrate, minerals, vitamins and, most important of all, water.
Naturally, food requirements vary depending on a dog’s (or cats) age, breed and sex. Other factors that must be taken into account are level of activity, environment, reproductive status and age.
Dogs’ and cats’ food requirements change over a lifetime so it is important that diet is adjusted accordingly. For example, a dog’s need for calcium is higher during growth and lactation than during a normal adult dog maintenance diet. Phosphorus, sodium and protein should be reduced in elderly pets to help support body organ function.
It has only been in relatively recent times that the nutrition of companion animals was considered significant, particularly in healthy dogs and cats. Fortunately companies under the guidance of scientists and veterinary surgeons have formulated excellent foods that fulfil all the nutritional requirements and are palatable too, so these days a lot of the onus has been taken off the dog owner.
There are still people who prefer to cook home-made diets for their pets but there is a risk that they may be too high in calories and will encourage over-eating and weight-gain. Homemade diets are often too high in salt and many of the nutrients may be lost in cooking thus producing an unbalanced diet.
To give a dog (or cat) food is a way of expressing our love to our pet, so by buying healthy food products formulated by those that truly understand the companion animal’s dietary needs will ensure that the object of our affection remains healthier for much longer.
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