Pet Nutrition with our Mifflintown Veterinarian
There is a myriad of advice out there about pet nutrition. Some say any commercial pet food that claims to be nutritionally balanced will suffice for your pet. Others swear by making their own food from human food sources, and want to make sure that they are providing necessary nutrients, and dealing with any dietary needs specific to their pet, such as the need for higher protein, a grain-free diet, or other considerations.
Fortunately, at Pleasant View Veterinary Clinic we are a Lewistown animal hospital that can help you sort through the confusion in order to select the best food for your cat, dog, or exotic pet.
Nutritional Needs of Dogs and Cats
Dogs and cats are both classified as carnivores, and much of their nutritional needs have been determined on what is appropriate for their instinctual needs. While feral cats for the most part are true carnivores, interested in food from primarily meat sources, dog’s needs are more omnivorous, and include a variety of fruits, vegetables, and some often grains.
Commercial diets are tested with these needs in mind, and will contain necessary extra ingredients, such as taurine. Food packages labeled with Guaranteed Analysis information will inform you of the balance of protein fat and carbohydrates. Grain free diets are popular for both cats and dogs, but it isn't always necessary if your pet isn't showing signs of allergies or intolerance.
There are several things to look for in quality pet food, such a substantial level of meat protein, as a low fat to protein ratio, a modest level of carbohydrates, and the absence of chemical preservatives, generic animal fat, and anonymous meat ingredients.
If your pet has digestion or allergy issues on their food, consider what treats or table food they have access to on a regular basis as well as the possibility that grains in their food may be affecting them. Some grains, such as rice or oats are more tolerable than wheat or corn for many pets. If problems persist, your veterinarian can help you explore more options, including limited ingredient food or even prescription or a breed specific diet. Always pay attention to recommended portion sizes listed on your pet's food and feed accordingly in order to keep your pet at a healthy weight.
People Food and Your Pet's Diet
The food you eat isn't always good for your dog or cat, because they are strict carnivores, most cats will not care about your food unless you are eating poultry, fish, or eggs. Dogs are more likely to be interested in everything, whether it is good for them or not. If you do feed table scraps, do so sparingly, and not as a replacement for their food, unless part of a recipe approved by your veterinarian.
Lean cuts of meat, and most plain fruits and vegetables are okay options, however, you should be careful not to feed food with excess sodium or fat, and avoid dangerous foods such as onion, garlic, grapes, and chocolate.
Nutrition for Other Pets
Other pets, such as hamsters, guinea pigs, rabbits, birds, and reptiles need to eat as well. Commercial foods as well as fresh fruits and vegetables are good choices for many of these pets. While they may seem down to earth to you, they are actually classified as "exotic" pets and need care from a specialized vet who can answer questions about any specialized needs.
At Pleasant View Veterinary Clinic, our Lewistown animal hospital serves not only cats and dogs but is also knowledgeable on the biological, behavioral, and nutritional needs for a variety of "exotic pets" including various rodents, rabbits, and birds.
Contact Us Today
To keep all your pets on the right nutritional path, contact our Lewistown, PA location at (717) 436-9790.