Helen Woodward Animal Center: What should I feed my pet?
RANCHO SANTA FE (KUSI) – Veterinarians from Helen Woodward Animal Center said they are constantly asked about the available diets and which are the best for dogs or cats. According to Dr. Gaeto “there is no simple answer to that question because the best diet available for each pet depends on age, breed, current health, and lifestyle.”
Types of diets are available:
There are many, many types of diets available which is why the average pet owner if often confused about what diet is best for their pet. The first diet to consider is also the most popular, dry kibble. Dry kibble is a processed diet that is mostly dry matter.
The benefits of dry food are ease of administration, long shelf life, and consistency. The types of dry food vary greatly and not all are created equal. Canned food is the next type of food to consider. Canned food also has a long shelf life, is easy to administer, and consistent in preparation. The high moisture content in canned food is also a benefit because it provides pets with hydration as they eat. A downside of canned food is that pets do not need to chew it so it adds to the accumulation of tartar on teeth. There are also freeze dried diets. These tend to be whole food diets with limited processed ingredients and also have a consistent amount of moisture because it’s added to the diet before feeding.
Finally there are fresh food diets. These can be raw, lightly cooked, or meals prepared entirely at home. The benefits of these are variety and minimal artificial ingredients and preservatives. The cons of these diets are the lack of preservatives give them an unstable shelf life and when improperly prepared can lead to serious infections and health issues. They also tend to be more expensive and time consuming to prepare.
What should I feed my pet?
There is no one right diet for every pet. Each pet should have its diet chosen based on age, caloric need, and health. Many pets have health issues that can be wholly or partially controlled by diet such as allergies, diabetes, pancreatitis, inflammatory bowel disease, kidney disease, and arthritis.
There are over the counter and prescription diets that can help with many medical issues. Talk to your veterinarian to find the right diet for your pets health. Age should also be taken into consideration.
With aging, metabolism slows down so older pets need less calories and fat. Therefore senior diets with higher fiber content and less calories can be a good choice for older pets. Finally lifestyle should be taken into consideration. Certain pets require more calories and protein due to their activity. Pets who are constantly in motion, working animals, and breeding animals require more nutrition due to the demand on their body. Be sure to consider all of the facts about your pet before selecting a diet.