Canine and Feline Nutrition:
One of the most common questions with new pet owners is “What should I feed my pet”? Dogs and cats require specific dietary nutrient concentrations based on their current life stage. The American Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) publishes nutrient profiles for these requirements. This information can be found using the links at the bottom of this page.
As long as your dog or cat is fed a good quality, commercial, complete and balanced diet, nutritional disease is rare. Nutritional disease is far more common in pets fed an imbalanced homemade diet, a food formulated for a different species, or when our pets consume certain human foods. Cats require more specific nutrient requirements than dogs due to the evolution of their digestive tract. Several varieties of common human foods (examples: raisins, grapes, chocolate, macadamian nuts, onions, and others) are actually toxic to dogs and cats and may lead to organ dysfunction.
Nutrient deficiencies have been seen in dogs and cats fed with “natural”, “organic”, or “vegetarian” diets formulated by owners. Even some published recipes have been found lacking in some vital nutrients. If at all possible, it is best to purchase a commercially available diet as these formulations have undergone rigorous testing.
The current trend in the pet food market place centers around the feeding of a “grain free diet”. Proposed benefits of these style of “boutique” or “grain free diets” include limiting allergies and a decrease in clinical signs that may be related to a food allergy. In general, dogs and cats are tend to be more allergic to the protein component of the diet rather than any grain that may be found. The benefit of these particular diets is likely related to the novel protein which they contain. Recently, research at UC-Davis College of Veterinary Medicine has found a link between these diets and an increase incidence of cardiomyopathy in certain breeds of dogs. Links to several articles relating to these diets can be found below.
If you have any questions or concerns about your pets nutrition, do not hesitate to give us a call. We recommend you consult with your veterinarian before any changes to your pets diet are instituted in order to ensure they meet the nutritional requirements specific for your pet.