- Nutrition

Puppy Nutrition What You Should Know

Bringing home a puppy is a joyous occasion that brings an exciting addition to any family. But taking on a canine can be challenging, from finding ways to expend their seemingly endless energy reserve to potty training to proper nutrition. Canine health professionals have some tips on what food will help puppies grow into healthy adulthood.

A jaunt through the puppy food section of any pet supply store is enough to intimidate any new pet owner. There are many choices and picking the right one isnt easy. As always, the first order of business is to consult a veterinarian. The vet can determine from the size and breed of dog what is best. This is also a good place to ask what time of day, how much food per serving, and how much water or supplements the puppy should get per day.

Most puppies are adopted at eight weeks of age. By the time theyve arrived at a new owners home, theyre weaned off their mothers milk and eating solid foods. Its wise not to take them off what theyve been eating at the kennel or breeder because a sudden change in diet can disrupt their digestive tract and cause diarrhea.

The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) has determined a standard in puppy foods that must contain a certain balance of puppy nutrition, including fats, minerals, protein and carbohydrates. While these recipes provide a good foundation for proper nutrition, a veterinarian might suggest supplements for any number of reasons.

Most pet food producers make it easier for dog owners by clearly labeling which items are for puppies, adults or senior canines. Puppy nutrition is generally packed with more protein. However, some producers also break it down into small to large breed varieties. Whats the difference? Puppies that fall into the smaller breeds have more active metabolism rates than larger breeds, so theyve got food packed with more ingredients that feed that energy. Larger breeds of puppies dont require as much of the energy-rich ingredients in their food. Packing too much into a larger breed will cause weight gain, which has a variety of risks associated with it, including joint issues.

Its important to follow a feeding schedule and to monitor how much the puppy is eating. A puppy less than 12 weeks old will likely eat four times a day. A thin or constantly sluggish puppy is likely not getting enough puppy nutrition and should be allowed more feedings per day. Most food packages have the recommended feeding amounts printed on the side, but veterinarians are quick to warn that those directions are merely suggestions.

Companies like ProLabs and others follow AAFCO guidelines to ensure that their products meet all the puppy nutrition needs.

- Nutrition

Your Cat’s Nutrition Making the Right Decision

In doing research for this article, I found a couple of different opinions on the proper diet for your feline. Nutrition was the common factor in these articles and they discussed the pros and cons of commercial, grocery store cat food, specialty pet store cat food, natural cat food, and homemade cat food.

Cat owners desire the best for the loving cat. We want our cats to live long, healthy lives. We want to know that we are providing the best care we can possibly afford.

When our cat displays irregularities that are of a physical nature, our emotions run high and the desire to help them get better escalates. Veterinarians have a vast amount of schooling and knowledge to help us cure our cat and we rely on them to give us the best advice. However, as with humans, there isnt a cure all. They will give us the best advice they can, and then we need to decide if we need to do further research.

One article described some research done in Texas that showed a disgusting, vile practice of products going into pet food, such as dead cat and dog caracaras, often with maggots, dumped into vats to be processed for animal feed. Where is the Federal or local inspectors? Where are the FDA and AAFCO officials that allow this policy? What company has such a loss of integrity as to allow this practice? This practice needs to stop! Is this what goes into the less expensive cat food? Unfortunately, I dont have the answers nor were these questions answered in the article. The research never revealed what companies were allowing these practices to occur.

It is important to read labels, but what should we look for? What company can we trust to provide our favorite felines good, nutritional foods? I dont have the answers to these questions either, but I can suggest some guidelines that you can use to help you make an informed decision on what cat food to buy.

1.The ingredients are listed on the container in order of weight. For instance, if there is beef, chicken or lamb in the cat food, and the meat is listed first, then that is the majority of what is in the product. If it is mostly filler such as grains like corn, rye, or rice, then it would be listed first. A specific meat should be listed first. High protein in necessary.
2.If the label indicates meat and bone meal, that does not indicate where the meat and bone meal came from. If it lists fats, from what animal?
3.If the label lists animal by products, that is acceptable. By products indicate brain, liver, or innards, and they can be a valuable source of nutrients. Chicken and lamb are important cat food ingredients.
4.Meal means that the meat has been dehydrated. Determine what animal meal is used. The animal meal would be concentrated because the water has been removed. Concentrated meat, or meal, means the product contains a high quantity of meat because it goes by weight. If the meal is listed first, the cat food would have a high quantity of meat, more so than with meat where the water has not been removed, or dehydrated.
5.Avoid preservatives like ethoxyouin, and maybe BHA and BHT. Preservatives derived from Vitamin E are good. Your cat should not be subjected to high amounts of preservatives.

The above referenced article indicated that quality cat food could not be purchased at a grocery store or a grocery superstore. That is a decision you would need to make.

Other articles suggested that natural cat foods would be the best for our cats. There are many natural pet foods available. There are also good quality cat foods with high protein content that have little fillers, such as grains. Your cats health is important. You dont want them to experience poor health just because they didnt have good nutritious diets.

Another decision for you to make is whether dry food or wet food is the best cat food for your cat, or is the best food a combination of dry and wet food. There are differences of opinion on this subject also. Your research will help to decide what is best for your pet.

I hope I have given you reason to ponder about the cat food you use and that you are interested in doing your own research to learn more. Whatever your cats age, she should have the best you can afford.

There are many articles you can read that are on the web under Cat Nutrition. If you want to do further research, I would suggest that you read as many articles as you can so you can be an educated shopper. Educate yourself enough so you can make the best decision for your cats nutritional needs by buying the right food for your special feline.