cat with tongue out walking towards food.

If we were to tell you that there was a simple way to improve your animal family member’s chances at a longer life, wouldn’t you want to know what it was? Ark Animal Hospital knows that good pet nutrition isn’t a huge secret, but it can be a little overwhelming. Feeding your pet the right way can make a big difference, though, and we are here to help you. 

Benefits of Good Pet Nutrition

Knowing what your pet needs to eat is a good place to start. The most straight-forward choice for dogs and cats is to feed a quality diet that has been formulated by veterinary nutritionists and/or PhD animal nutritionists.

A good pet food provides balanced nutrition by strategically utilizing high-quality ingredients based on research and science.

By feeding a quality pet food you can provide many health benefits for your pet. These include:

  • Improved energy: Quality ingredients mean better and more efficient utilization of the nutrients in a diet, improving energy. Also, appropriate calorie intake can lessen the incidence of obesity. 
  • Healthy coat: A quality pet food contains good fats and oils, including omega-3 fatty acids that can help produce a shiny, healthy coat for dogs and cats alike.
  • Stronger immune system: Appropriate levels of antioxidants can support your pet’s immune function, which helps them to fight off illness and stay healthier.
  • Improved digestion: High quality, purposeful ingredients mean that your pet can actually utilize what they eat. Highly-digestible ingredients can also mean less waste for you to clean up. Some pets may also produce less gas when eating a better diet.
  • Less skin problems: High-grade proteins and fats can support dermatological health. Good foods often have fewer ingredients, which limits potential allergens and problem foods. 
  • Disease prevention: There is very solid evidence that good nutrition and management of weight can decrease the risk of disease in pets. Good nutrition can lower the risk of diabetes, cancer, heart disease and arthritis in dogs and cats.
  • Management of specific problems: Specialized veterinary diet lines exist that have been formulated to help manage or prevent specific disease conditions. Dietary management can be an essential part of managing many pet disease conditions including diabetes in dogs and cats, environmental allergies, food allergies, kidney disease in cats and dogs, and pancreatitis in dogs. 

How to Feed Your Pet Right

It is pretty clear that good nutrition is an important foundation for optimal pet health. As with many things, though, feeding your pet right can be easier said than done. 

So how do you make sure that your pet’s nutritional plan is where it needs to be?

Good nutrition is part of your pet’s wellness and preventive care plan. As with most things health-related, a great place to start is with a visit to see our team to discuss things like caloric needs, specific considerations, and needs for your pet’s nutritional plan. Request a call from us to set this up.  

When selecting a food for your pet, also keep in mind that you should pay attention to:

  • What life stage the food is formulated for (typically the more specific, the better)
  • Calorie amounts found in a cup or can of food
  • Easily accessible contact information on the bag
  • Ease of obtaining the diet regularly
  • Whether your pet seems to like it or not
  • What the manufacturer’s protocols are for quality control
  • Who is formulating the diet

Many of the answers to these questions can be found in the Pet Nutrition Alliance’s Pet Food Manufacturer Evaluation Report

Looking at the ingredient list, guaranteed analysis, and many label claims can be a bit tricky due to regulatory practices in the pet food industry. A certain percentage of protein means nothing when that percentage may include moisture in the diet or not, ingredient lists are easy to manipulate to look “better,” and buzz words like “holistic” carry no actual requirements. 

In the end, choosing a diet that works well for your pet that gets a veterinary stamp of approval will give you good results. There are certainly many considerations when it comes to feeding your pet, and there is no one right answer for everyone. 

Please remember that if you need advice, we are here to help you sort things out. A happy, healthy pet is our goal, too, and we are more than happy to help you reach that goal.