Your Pet's Nutritional Needs
Making sure your pet is eating the right food is necessary for maintaining good health. It is important to make sure that your pets food has the essential ingredients for a well balanced diet as a juvenile, adult, or senior companion.
Some of these ingredients include, protein, fiber, carbohydrates, and fatty-acids. The proper nutrition for your pet will help build muscle, strong bones, maintain a healthy coat and skin, and digestive tract.
Check the contents of the bag to ensure they are receiving the proper ingredients at the right stage of life. Because they have done extensive testing of their diets, including feeding trials, we recommend Science Diet, Purina, Iams, and Eukanuba as over the counter food choices.
Puppy and kitten diets tend to have a higher calorie count due to more amounts of protein and fat. Their diets are formulated with greater nutrient sources to promote strong muscles, bones, and teeth as well as healthy growth and development.
A major nutrient source for dogs and cats is high-quality protein. Protein can be found in beef, chicken, fish, or whole grain sources. Other important nutrients include digestible carbohydrates which provide a great energy source for your growing companion, as well as antioxidants which help boost healthy immune systems.
Most diets help promote good dental care by offering a daily protection for clean teeth and fresh breath. One prescription diet called T/D has extra large chunks to encourage chewing, which helps to prevent the build up of plaque and tarter. But don't rely on their food to provide good dental care. Brush their teeth daily or contact our facility for more dental options.
Puppies and kittens should be fed smaller proportions, more often. Since each breed grows at a different rate, it is best to ask your veterinarian when it is time to switch to an adult diet.
As an adult companion your pet needs to maintain the strong bones, muscles, and coat it gained as a juvenile. Adult maintenance formulas have a lower caloric value to maintain a healthy weight and continue an energetic life style. An important concern for our pets is obesity. Common health problems associated with obesity include: arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, increased anesthetic and surgical risks, and reduced life span.
The best ways to avoid weight gain are exercise, portion control, and monthly weight checks at your veterinarian's office. Stop in at anytime and we can assess your pets weight and evaluating their body condition score. There are adult "light" formulas available over the counter, as well as prescription diets that promote weight loss available at our clinic. Discuss feeding portions with your veterinarian as guidelines on the bag are too generous.
When our pets reach seven years of age we consider them our "senior" companions. As seniors their nutritional needs change to help promote joint and bone health. Senior formulas have appropriate amounts of sodium, protein, and fatty-acids to keep internal organs functioning properly.
Many canine formulas also contain glucosamine which helps protect aging joints and cartilage. Here at Carver Lake, we carry a glucosamine supplement called Cosequin which helps aging joints. Senior diets have a superior antioxidant blend to help support overall health and natural immunity so your senior companion remains healthy throughout their senior years.
Another important nutritional need to consider when switching your pets diet from puppy or kitten formula to adult or adult to senior is to make the transition slowly. This transition period is an essential element of a healthy and safe diet change for your companion. It is best to switch formulas gradually to avoid any gastrointestinal upset. To start the transition phase, begin by adding a very small portion of the new formula to the old food, keeping the total amount of food the same. Continue this small portion change for about two days. After day two or so, add a little more of the new food, and decrease the old formula. Continue this gradual transition phase of more new food, less old food for a week to ten days until the transition is complete. If your pet's stool is soft or loose as a result of the transition, introduce the new formula more slowly.
Maintaining a healthy diet for our companion animals is a very important factor in their overall health. Before making any changes to your pets diet or adding any supplements, it is important to have a discussion with a member of our veterinary team. We encourage you to call our clinic anytime you have questions regarding your pet's nutritional health.