All About Food: Nutrients and Nutrition
Your pet may love to eat food fresh from your plate. But just because he likes it doesn’t mean it’s good for him. Those table scraps could lead to extra pounds on your pet. More than half of all dogs and cats in Canada are overweight or obese.
Cats and dogs have calorie needs that vary. For example:
A 10-pound cat needs only 200 calories a day.
A 50-pound dog needs 700 to 900 calories.
Larger dogs may eat up to 1,350 calories.
A balanced diet needs the following things to help keep your pet well. These calorie needs depend on breed type, current body condition and overall health. If you are interested in knowing what your dog's body condition score is and what are the recommended calorie needs of your pet is, contact our staff and book in for an appointment with a nutritional consultant Vilma Heinrichs.
Dogs tend to prefer foods high in protein. And cats are descended from hunters, so they’re natural carnivores.
Protein is important for cell growth, muscle repair, and general body maintenance. You have to be careful because not all protein is created equally. Not all proteins are digestible. All protein diets can be overtaxing on the liver and kidneys. Diverse proteins that are highly digestible and have a good amino acid profile is the ultimate diet choice. We recommend veterinary based diets most often because their foods have been tested and designed specifically for digestibility and specific amino acids complement based on a pet's growth needs, health status and life stage.
Animal-based proteins have all the essential amino acids pets need, including:
Fats and Energy
Dietary fats come from animal and fish fats or the oils of a plant seed. They’re the biggest source of energy in your pet’s diet. Per gram, fats have more than twice as much energy as protein or carbohydrates. They provide essential fatty acids, which a dog or cat’s body does not make on its own. Fatty acids, such as omega-3's and omega-6's, are needed to:
- Keep skin and fur healthy
- Produce some types of hormones
- Absorb vitamins
- Insulate the body
- Protect organs
Carbohydrates deliver energy, help maintain digestive health, and affect reproduction. Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that affects the bacteria in your pet’s intestine. For your pet to get the biggest benefit from fiber, the fiber should be fermentable. Fermentable fiber can be found in wheat, rice, or vegetables.
A lot of people feel that carbohydrates are bad for you. Research has shown this to be untrue unless your pet suffers from certain disease conditions.
Vitamins and Minerals
Dogs and cats must get vitamins and minerals from their diet. If you feed your pet a balanced diet of protein, fat, and carbs, they’ll get everything they need. Veterinary diets are designed to specific needs such as age, weight, size and specific illness parameters. Such as cats with urinary issues, dogs with skin or chronic diarrhea. Maintenance diets such as dental diets and adult formularies.
Vitamin supplements usually aren’t needed unless your vet prescribes them to treat a vitamin deficiency. In fact, an overload of vitamins can cause health problems. For instance, too much vitamin A can lead to brittle bones and joint pain. And too much vitamin D can cause overly dense bones and kidney problems.
Cats and dogs also get essential minerals from their diet, including:
About 60% to 70% of your pet’s body is made of water. Without enough of it, your pet could get sick or die. Much like ourselves our pet's often do not drink enough for complete healthly body function. Encourage drinking by having clean, cool water available at all times. Some pet's such as those with kidney disease require large amounts of water and you will likely be encouaged by your vet to feed a canned formulation.