Archive for April, 2009

Choosing the right pet food - what to feed your dog or cat.

Friday, April 3rd, 2009

Eating food  is more than  just ‘fuel’. It is a source (or not) of many vital compounds that can represent the difference between top health and disease or symptoms. Food is the major factor in our pets total well-being and while investing in a good quality cat or dog food  may seem costly,  compared to many of the budget pet foods and generic brands available, a wholesome diet can help to reduce or eliminate many of the unnecessary vet bills that are incurred when nutrition is poor.

Consider the needs of the individual dog or cat

Age, activity level, breed and health history of your pet, as well as food intolerances or allergies, are all very important factors to consider when selecting a diet for your pup or kitten.

There are many  gimmicky diets for our dogs and cats being introduced to the market each year, designed for specific dog breeds, sizes, life stages and so on – but in actual fact, the nutritional needs of a dog or cat should be based on his or her particular requirements, rather than a ‘category’ that he or she falls into.

Beware generic dog foods and cat foods

We are seeing more and more ‘generic’ pet foods coming on to the market each year. In fact there is one pet food manufacturer in the midlands who has a telephone message while your waiting,  advocating that you can arrive in the morning and leave with your brand in the evening. You don’t need to have knowledge of food, nutrition, diet or anything else for that matter. The company offers you a product it is turning out hundreds of tonnes a year  and only stopping to put it in different customers  brand bags. The customer only needs to add their own ‘bells and whistles’ as the pet food manufacturer claims.

What are the downsides of a poor quality pet food?

It has been suggested that there is a direct correlation between chronic diseases such as cancer, kidney failure, diabetes and other degenerative disease and  poor quality food in humans. In fact the NHS is overrun now with degenerative disease and the advent of the industrial revolution and food processing has been blamed in many quarters . The same for our dog foods and cat foods. Of course other factors like vaccines and genetics also predispose pets to disease, but the incidence of these disorders has increased dramatically in the western world since the introduction of commercial, highly processed pet food in 1950’s.

The long term effects of feeding a highly processed diet can also lead to a compromised immune system and in turn hypersensitivity to the environment. Dogs who enjoy a high quality, fresh and varied diet are often noted to be far less bothered by seasonal allergies and fleas, than their junk-food fed counterparts.

Where does nutrition fit into Holistic Health Care?

Nutrition simply means providing the nutrients to sustain life. Health is something completely different. Diet is  the fundamental cornerstone to total health. But simply feeding a natural, raw or home made diet, or adding supplements to your pooch’s bowl does not constitute ‘holistic health care’ in the true sense of the term. Other decisions like vaccinations, veterinary choices, environment & lifestyle are also important to consider when giving your dog or cat  the best chance at good  health.

Remember your vet only receives training in diet and nutrition from the pet food companies who’s food they are selling. They have no specialised knowledge as a rule. Always ask your vet how much training they had in nutrition and who provided it!