We are what we eat. Based upon this the feeding of our pet is one of the most important decisions that we make.
Within our practice there are two very different approaches that we promote.
This approach is based around a huge body of scientific research by numerous independent food companies that produce the quality products that we stock. They are backed by universities and form the entire basis of what we are educated to advise to feed.
The advantages of these foods are:
Balance: These foods are balanced and can be varied by life stage e.g. puppy, adult, senior pet categories. This allows us to provide for higher or lower protein or calcium levels depending upon these requirements
Simplicity: It is easy to educate our staff and from this our clients how to feed their pets. This can be easily broken up into frequency and amount. E.g. 1 cup twice a day and make sure water is freely available.
Consistency: This food is always produced to the same standard from essentially the same products. This means that if you are feeding your pet on this and it is doing well then nothing should change this.
Ease of use: easy to purchase, good shelf life, easy to store.
These foods are available in both wet and dry formats and are called super premium foods; they are available from Veterinary clinics and Pet shops only - where good advice and guidance can be given to help you get things exactly right.
In our practice we recommend these foods in the following order:
- Royal Canin Diet - an excellent, palatable food made from raw materials that are submitted to strict quality control processes. These foods are available in over-the-counter products for all life stages and prescription for specific, vet diagnosed, complaints.
- Hills Science Diet - is an excellent diet. It is well backed by extensive research by a company that is constantly striving to benefit pets by the continued development of both its main range of foods but also by the development of an extensive range of diets - the prescription range which really form the cornerstone on our treatment plans for a wide range of medical conditions.
- Advance - an excellent company backed by the superb Waltham research institute. This company produces top quality pet food with the health of your pet at heart.
The links above will take you directly to the company sites and there are some superb references to look at.
The Raw Alternative
This approach is by many classed as alternative. It goes back to the days where our pets ate raw food and sometimes table scraps. This is a fact - there has been no food yet produced, wet or dry, that will exercise your dog's jaws, teeth and also mental well-being as will a bone.
These diets are based around the premise that cats and dogs would naturally eat animals they would catch and eat most parts of the animal.
The people who promote these diets feel that animals do better eating raw food than commercial largely grain based diets. What type of foods are we talking about?
- Chicken - frames & necks - whole.
- Possum mince.
- Rabbit & heart, rabbit legs, turkey & heart.
- Lamb,venison, chicken & heart (mix).
- Tripe - beef or lamb
- Lamb brisket bones, veal brisket bones.
All of which we now stock in freezers at the clinic.
So we really are talking full on raw food feeding.
It is a big change. This type of feeding requires a commitment to sourcing this type of diet, to have an area where you can store it - needs to be frozen. It even potentially needs an area to feed as it can be messier than the more conventional dry food diets.
This type of diet can provide significant benefits to dental health. The amount of this that we see in the practice in both dogs and cats is enormous.
The chewing of a bone can sometimes take a dog twenty minutes or so, it is great exercise for the jaw muscles and provides the dog with mental stimulation for an extended period of time. It allows them to fulfil a base premise of being a dog - chewing.
How many of our dogs eat their daily intake of dry food within a minute?
So these diets can provide not only health benefits but also behavioural enrichment.
For some good ideas and information about feeding raw food try these sites:
This company produces a great range of product that is based on raw feeding in the format of a frozen mince in a pelleted format it is a good component on the overall raw feeding plan and it also is a gentle step in this direction as it comes packaged in a very user friendly format. Beef, lamb, venison, salmon varieties are available. This site is a great guide to the product available.
Woofles has been around since 2008, and has been growing in leaps and bounds ever since. Their philosophy is to provide natural, preservative free, species appropriate raw food based diets for cats and dogs. They can also provide quality advice on pet food and nutrition essential for the optimal health of your pet.
This is a New Zealand based site managed by Lyn Thomson a Veterinarian and homeopath. Lyn has great experience in the implementation and endorsement of raw feeding. This site gives comprehensive information on raw feeding.
Raw Meaty Bones
Tom Lonsdale is a firm believer in the feeding of raw meaty bones only, his site provides some good information on this in a very colourful manner.
Increasingly there is a range of foods produced for both dogs and cats that are specifically formulated for various medical conditions such as urinary stones, diabetes and inflammatory bowel diseases. These diets are designed to be used after veterinary consultation and based upon clinical evidence for specific conditions.
The results with these foods can be fantastic and result in significant improvement in quality of life in the animals with these diseases.
As with all aspects of your pet's health we are happy to give you advice. Diet is a really important area that we feel we can help you with. Please do not hesitate to contact us or ask us about your pets needs the next time you are in to see us.