PET CARE: Animal health starts with best nutrition

Vet Kerensa Scott. INLT 15-CON
Vet Kerensa Scott. INLT 15-CON

For any animal, good health starts with nutrition: it is an important part of preventing illness, particularly in light of the rise in obesity among our pets.

Our expert columnist Kerensa Scott, from vets4pets, writes:

Our increasingly busy lifestyles can make it difficult to provide our pets with the amount of exercise they need to be happy and healthy. We also have a tendency to ‘kill them with kindness’.

I don’t use the word ‘kill’ lightly. Our pets can succumb to the same disease we do if they are over-weight. Our pets are increasingly suffering from heart disease, arthritis and diabetes.

It is no longer the case that pets are routinely fed scraps from the table.There is a wealth of specifically formulated nutritional products available. Food companies have spent a lot of money on research to produce pet food which contains all the nutrients, in the correct proportion for your pet’s needs. To be honest, it would be difficult for us to make a home-made diet for our pets which is of the same standard as a good quality pet food.

We also have the option of tailoring food to the individual needs of our pets. Young dogs require food with higher calcium and vitamin D and also more calories. Dogs and cats which have been neutered require a diet with lower calories in order to ensure they don’t become over weight. Senior pets require a lower calorie content again and senior diets also have a very specific protein level in order to protect the kidneys.

You can also get diets containing supplements to support your pet’s skin, or to ease the passage of furballs. Furthermore, there are diets designed to help manage diseases such as renal disease, diabetes, arthritis and skin allergies.

My rule of thumb is: feed what you can afford. By this I mean that the really cheap food is cheap for a reason. By feeding your pet in order to meet his needs at his various stages in life, you can be sure that your are doing your best to give him a long and healthy life.

Most vets are more than happy to talk to you about the best diet for your pet and we want to do everything we can to keep your pet healthy. There are so many options on the market that you’ll make the best choice to suit your pet if you get advice from your vet.