From the very first day, you bring a new pet home through the final days of life, nutrition plays a critical role in your pet’s overall health and well-being. Many pet owners take nutrition for granted, in part because the availability of so many nutritionally complete commercial diets appears to have taken the guesswork out of choosing a suitable diet for a pet.
However, did you know that your pet’s nutritional needs change with age and activity level? Did you know that specially formulated diets can assist in the management of various medical conditions, including kidney disease, diabetes, arthritis, and heart disease? Do you know how many calories your pet should have each day and whether you are over- or underfeeding? Are you comfortable reading and interpreting pet food labels?
Whether your pet has special dietary needs or simply needs to shed (or gain) a few pounds, our nutritional counseling services can help you accomplish your goals and keep your pet in good health. We offer counseling in dietary selection and feeding practices for pets during various life stages, such as growth, pregnancy, nursing, and the “golden years.” If your pet has a medical condition, we can help you select the most appropriate diet to suit your pet’s needs.
Pet food selection can be overwhelming as most claim specific benefits for pets. We can offer expert advice to help you negotiate the complicated array of choices. Let our nutritional counseling service help you achieve and maintain optimal nutrition for your pet.
The most recent findings regarding pet foods in the news have been alarming. Here at Eastern Animal Hospital, we are here to help you select the most appropriate diet for your family member. We recommend a diet that has been feed-trial tested, does not contain peas, lentils, or other legumes, and is not grain-free.
Feed-trial testing means that the diet was formulated to meet the nutritional requirements for a specific life stage and then was fed to a large number of cats and dogs. During these feeding trials, the food was shown to be safe and work. Foods formulated to meet the nutritional requirements for a specific life stage have not been demonstrated to work in scientific studies.
These ingredients, known as “pulses,” also referred to as “legumes,” have been linked to the emerging trend of heart disease in dogs. The mechanism as to how legumes lead to heart disease is still being investigated by many veterinary schools and research groups around the country. Given the overwhelming number of pets becoming ill on diets containing legumes we are recommending owners stop feeding diets containing legumes until the disease is better understood.
When grains are taken out of a diet, often other ingredients are added in their place. With grain-free diets legumes are often added in their place. Given the large number of pets developing heart disease on grain-free diets we are recommending against grain-free diets. Most pets do not require or need grain-free diets.
We recommend feeding Royal Canin, Purina, or Hill’s/Science Diet pet foods. These companies have a long history of providing excellent nutrition. All of their diets are feed-trial tested to ensure that they provide appropriate nutrition for pets. These companies also have several certified veterinary nutritionists on staff to help make the most appropriate recommendations for pet food recipes.
Want to learn more? Please see the trusted references below for more information about how to select a pet food, how to navigate the internet to read about pet foods, and how to ask the right questions of your pet’s food manufacturer.