Pet Nutrition

Latah Creek Animal Hospital - pet nutrition services

Pet Nutrition

Ensuring good nutrition is a critical part of your pet’s well-being. The nutritional status of your pet is an important indicator of their health and welfare. Any deficiencies or excesses in calories, vitamins, and minerals can significantly impact your pet’s lifespan.
Our team would be happy to assist you in choosing a diet for your pet based on their age, breed, and lifestyle. Prescription diets may be required for patients with ongoing conditions, such as kidney disease, diabetes, osteoarthritis, and many more.

Some initial guidelines you can follow while selecting a pet food include:

  • Feeding dogs a grain-inclusive, WSAVA (World Small Animal Veterinary Association) recommended diet. Grain-free diets often include high levels of legumes, which can block taurine absorption. Taurine is a necessary amino acid for heart health, and this can lead to heart disease in susceptible individuals. Our team follows the most current research, and is ready to discuss the most up to date information regarding potential concerns with grain-free diets.
  • In general, we recommend diets that have undergone AAFCO feeding trials to ensure not only nutrient balance, but also proper absorption of nutrients. Diets formulated by Hill’s, Purina, Royal Canin, and IAMS undergo these feeding trials.
  • Feeding cats a diet where the protein is derived from animal origin. Cats are obligate carnivores; they cannot synthesize their own taurine and rely on animal proteins for this crucial amnio acid. A taurine deficiency leads to heart disease in cats. Vegetarian diets are not appropriate for cats.
  • Do not be fooled by trendy marketing! Dogs, unlike cats, are not strict carnivores. While meat makes up the majority of their diet, domestic dogs can also derive nutrients from grains, fruits, and vegetables. These non-meat foods are not simply fillers, but can be a valuable source of essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber. A good dog food will contain meat, vegetables, grains, and fruits. The best dog foods contain high-quality versions of these ingredients that are appropriate for your dog’s digestive system. For most dogs, grains are actually a source of wholesome nutrients. Quality animal byproducts are also nutritious for both dogs and cats. These include organ meats and entrails, which often contain more nutrients than the muscle meat consumed by humans. Regulated byproducts do not include hooves, hair, floor sweepings, intestinal contents, or manure.
  • Feeding a diet appropriate for the life stage of your pet. Kittens and puppies have different requirements than adults or seniors. Feeding an “all life stages” dog food disregards the individual requirements pets have at each life stage. For example, puppies and kittens need a food higher in protein and fat, with different compositions of minerals than adults. Large breed puppies need a specific Calcium: Phosphorus ratio to ensure optimal bone growth. Seniors may need a prescription diet or a food lower in fat to help prevent weight gain as they become more sedentary.
  • Feeding a diet appropriate for your pet’s breed and lifestyle. Large breed dogs may need to stay on their specific large breed puppy food longer than small dogs. Working or highly active dogs need more calories and fat than more sedentary dogs do. Small dogs may prefer a smaller kibble size that is easier to chew. Cats do not range in size to the extent that dogs do, but their breed considerations include considering a hairball control diet for long haired cats.

What if my pet is overweight?

Weight gain in pets can be multifactorial. We recommend scheduling an appointment so any underlying medical concerns can be ruled out. Our team can then offer guidance and create the best diet plan for your pet. Opting to simply reduce the food can lead to frustration – we recommend a diet specially formulated for weight loss. For dogs, this often means a food higher in fiber, while for cats, this would mean a high protein/low carbohydrate diet.