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Pet Nutrition
Pet Nutrition

Feeding pets correctly is an important part of pet care, but what to feed, what not to feed and what's dangerous to feed are important questions.

These Information loaded pages will give you something to chew over!

pawprint  Diets that benefit behaviour

pawprint  Making a Meal of It

pawprint  Human Foods that poison pets

pawprint  Food Fads

pawprint  Easter Feast

pawprint  Bones

pawprint  The Ten Tenets of Pet Care

pawprint  Ten Tips for Perfect Pups

pawprint  Ten Tooth Truths

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Food Fads

'He's not really a pet you know! He's a little human. I feed him only the best and wouldn't dream of feeding him anything less than that which I eat myself.'

Feeding dogs
fatty foods is wrongThe pooch on the consulting room table was a portly lump of podge. He hobbled into the surgery, crippled with arthritis and was also panting and puffing with the exertion of transporting his portly frame.  His owner was concerned about why her big boy was limping but the fact was that the dog's lameness was entirely due to the owner's wrongful attitude to the pooch's diet.  He was being fed too much of the wrong types of food. Dogs are not little humans and should not be fed human food.

Humans and pets have totally different nutritional requirements.

For example, humans and guinea pigs cannot synthesise their own vitamin C whereas dogs and cats can. Cats need taurine in their diets whereas humans and dogs don't and dogs have a high requirement for thiamine. Dogs are much more sensitive to some common foodstuffs, such as onions and macadamia nuts, than humans and chocolate in large quantities can cause problems for pets

Let's look at some common food fads.

Do Pets Need Milk?

Pets older than three months of age do not need milk and further, many pets are intolerant of the lactose in cow's milk. Lactose intolerance is more common in pets, especially in cats, than in humans

If a pet has lactose intolerance, when given normal milk, the pet will get an upset stomach where diarrhoea and sometimes vomiting occurs.

While adult pets don't need milk they do enjoy it so if you are still tempted, purchase lactose-free pet milk that is available in supermarkets, pet shops and veterinary surgeries.

Is fat dangerous for pets?

Excessive fat is dangerous for pets, just like it is for humans. Fat fed over a period of time causes obesity and the related diseases of arthritis andDangerous Foods diabetes.

However, even one fatty meal can cause pancreatitis in dogs and, less commonly, in cats.

Pancreatitis can be a nasty disease. Whereas alcohol is a common cause of pancreatitis in humans, fatty foods are the equivalent cause in pets. Leftovers from the barbeque, the fatty tails from chops and steaks, the marrow of bones and the fat from the Christmas leg ham are common causes of pancreatitis.


Even one fatty meal can cause pancreatitis in dogs and in cats.

Dogs with pancreatitis can become very sick. Affected pets have no interest in food and will vomit. They are lethargic and dull and are often dehydrated. They usually show pain when touched in the front area of their abdomen, just near the end of the rib cage.

Is raw fish a good diet for cats and dogs?

Raw fish, particularly tuna and salmon, contains large amounts of an enzyme called thiaminase. This enzyme breaks down thiamine in the food and, where raw fish is fed for a long time, cats and dogs can become quite unwell and develop seizures, stupor and coma. Death is possible.

Thiamine is also known as vitamin B1 and it is an essential part of the diet of dogs and cats as they cannot synthesise their own.

This condition is easy to prevent by providing your pet with a complete and balanced diet. Fish as a sole or primary food source is not adequate. Also be aware that some cheaper, meat-based, pet foods may contain sulphur preservatives that will also remove any thiamine that is in the diet being fed.

Can cats and dogs be fed large quantities of liver?

In moderation, cooked liver will cause no problem. However liver is very high in vitamin A and if liver is fed excessively for more than two years, cats in particular will develop a condition called Hypervitaminosis A.

Cats are particularly at risk as they often love liver and owners therefore feed it to excess.

Hypervitaminosis A causes changes where bones will fuse together. This is common in the spinal column where vertebrae fuse, resulting in a cat that is very stiff and which cannot walk properly.

Is a vegetarian diet suitable for cats and dogs?

Food for CatsCats can not be fed a vegetarian diet. They cannot synthesise their own taurine and taurine is only found in meat. Affected cats suffer from blindness, heart disease and deficiency of the immune system.

Dogs can be fed a vegetarian diet with caution but, like humans, a vegetarian diet must include soy and other protein sources to be a balanced diet.

Is an all-meat diet suitable for dogs?

An all-meat diet is dangerous. Meat is very low in calcium and very high in phosphorous. The correct ratio between calcium and phosphorous is essential for proper bone formation and growth and when fed an all-meat diet, the pet's bones are poorly ossified and rickets and similar conditions result. .

Calcium deficiencies were common years ago when meat was a popular sole diet for pets but with the advent of commercially available, balanced diets, calcium deficiencies are rare.

While we love our pets, our love is misguided if we feed them like four-legged furry humans. Feeding our pets a balanced diet is easy and will prevent the problems listed above.

 

For a similar article on those human foods that are dangerous for pets, follow this link.

 

Get help from Dr Cam!