Today, I will be presenting you with an educational guest post on dog health and nutrition.
Special Requirements for Pet Nutrition – Medical and Age Related Concerns
Animals of different ages and specie have different nutritional requirements. Very young animals may need an excess of protein to grow their bodies; and a large amount of calcium to promote rapidly growing bones and teeth. They may also require more distilled elements, for example amino acids, which are the building blocks upon which protein synthesis is based.
The choices a person makes about the food he or she wishes to feed his or her cat and/or dog (there are of course other pets available, all with their own nutritional needs, but for the purposes of this discussion it is the cat and the dog that we will look at), then, may be guided by age and known infirmities as well as by species. Some animals, for instance, have an aversion to wet or dry food and must only be fed the other. Some are allergic to the compounds that hold wet food together. Others may have specific ailments that require assistance through nutrition.
In general, it may be seen that there are two types of pet nutrition – the basic nutrition given to cats and dogs at different stages in their lives, which is designed to assist with the known nutritional requirements of the cats and dogs in question at those times of their lives; and medicinal nutrition, which is either given in supplement, or is given as a total regimen to assist an animal in an ailing state.
Diabetic cats and dogs, for instance, may be treated using special food, or food supplements, which aim to balance out the insulin deficiencies in their bodies.
There are a number of different kinds of pet food that can be used for these purposes: some brands, such as Hill’s pet nutrition, offer both medical and basic nutrients, while others are directed specifically according to the need at hand. For medical nutrition, the recommendation of the vet should always be the key guiding factor in a decision regarding brands or food types.
It is important to balance dry food with plenty of moisture. Cats, for example, have bodies that are evolved through thousands of years of hunting and killing small rodents and other small animals. As such, the cat has been evolutionary used to getting moisture from its food. If a cat is fed on dry food alone, the potential moisture content in its natural food intake may drop by as much as 65%. The thirst requirements of the animal are low in a normal behavioral state, as the setup of the body is mainly geared towards finding moisture from food (as noted) – so if more than normal water is not supplied, the cat may exist in a permanent state of dehydration.
The same calculation applies to dried dog food, which is roughly 10% moisture as opposed to the near 90% achieved by some canned food. As such, it is important to keep a dog well supplied with moisture if dry food is its only diet. It must be noted that dogs are more likely to drink in quantity than cats, and therefore that the potential problems associated with using only dry cat food may not be quite so prevalent in the use of purely dried dog food.
As noted, all pet nutritional requirements should be ratified by a qualified veterinary professional before being set in stone.
Marcia Grey is a pet lover. Click here for more information on her research.