The importance of good nutrition for your pet

A balanced and nutritious diet equals a happy and healthy pet, but there is so much advice out there.  What to believe? Kibble? Grain Free? Organic or not? And what does a happy and healthy pet look like anyway?

Vets and vet nurses are the experts in pet nutrition and we are always keen to talk to you about the best nutrition for your pet. Different life stages, breeds, body conditions and health issues can create different nutritional requirements, and no one is better placed than your vet or vet nurse to give you the right advice on this.

What is the difference between ingredients and nutrients?

Ingredients are the raw materials in a diet that are the vehicles to deliver nutrients. High quality ingredients are easily digested and absorbed by the gut.

The higher the “digestibility” of a diet, the less waste produced; and the less we have to clean up in the back yard or from the litter tray.

Nutrients are absorbed and used by the body; examples of nutrients are proteins, fats and carbohydrates.

Essential nutrients cannot be made by the body and must be provided in the diet (eg taurine in cats)

Like us, animals can’t make essential nutrients by themselves – so a balanced diet that has a high nutritional value is sure to meet all their dietary requirements. These are the diets you will find in our clinic.

The key nutrients your pet needs are:

Carbohydrates:  don’t believe everything you read! These nutrients are a vital source of energy for your pet.  They are also a rich source of fibre supporting good gut health.  Carbohydrates form an important part of your pet’s diet, and some type of carbohydrate is found in almost every pet food. Gluten intolerance is incredibly rare in dogs and has never been documented in cats*

Proteins: Meat, fish and chicken are great sources of protein – the benefits can be seen in healthy muscles, skin and coat.

Fats: Naturally found in meat, chicken, fish and oils. Fats are another excellent source of energy as well as being vital for promoting a healthy skin and coat. Don’t forget your pet’s skin is the first line of defence against disease and so keeping it healthy with lots of essential fatty acids keeps your pet looking and feeling great!

Vitamins and minerals: Vitamins are vital for the healthy function of many important bodily processes such as clotting of blood and healthy vision.

Minerals are essential for normal muscle and nerve function.

Ask your vet for dietary advice

To ensure your pet is on the best plan of nutrition, ask your vet or vet nurse for advice on what you should be feeding, and how much he or she should be getting per day.

Talk to us about the benefits of mixed feeding (wet and dry food) and ask why premium foods are not necessarily more expensive to feed in the long term.

We can provide you with a nutritional plan, and also help track, manage and maintain your pet’s weight.

 

*Only ever diagnosed once in one line of Irish Setters