A Complete Guide to Pet Nutrition

Two pink blows containing pet food

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

We all want the very best for our pets. We ensure to give them a good home, comfy beds and fancy toys. We take them to the best veterinary clinic in town, and buy them the most expensive treats. 

But the question here is, is that enough? 

Pet parents tend to provide extensively for the “wants” of their fur babies, and in this process, they often forget about their “needs”, and what your pet needs above all, is the right amount of nutritions in their daily meal plan.

We tend to lean towards the advertised brand of food, that fits our budget, often forgetting about the dietary requirements that each pet comes with. This is important to make sure that your pet not only grows to right size, and does not become malnutrition or obese, but also does not develop any underlying health conditions.

The per-day calorie requirement of each pet varies greatly, as per their weight. For example:

For a 10-pound cat, 200 calories a day is sufficient and ideal; a 50-pound dog needs around 700 to 900 calories a day; whereas larger dogs may require up to 1,350 calories per day. 

So, what are the nutritions that provide the right amount of balance in your pet’s food? 

a list of nutrients needed for your pets
Needed nutrients for your pets
  • Protein

Protein is the foremost important element of any pets’ diet. It is a common misconception that dogs and cats can survive (healthily) on vegan or even vegetarian meals. Both these animals are descendants of wolves and tigers and are natural hunters, therefore they are carnivorous animals, with protein being the primary substance of their diet. 

When meal-prepping for your cats, make sure that their wet food or dry kibble includes Taurine, which is one of the most important elements for a cat’s healthy life. Taurine is essential for their vision, hearts and to maintain their ability to reproduce. 

Arginine, Histidine, Isoleucine and Leucine are four of the top amino-acids that is essential for your dog food to contain. 

  • Fats and Energy

Pet food can extract dietary fats from either animal fats or plant-seed oil. It is essential for you to check if your pre-packaged food contains enough dietary fats, because this is where your pet gets their energy from. Dietary fats contain twice as much energy as compared to protein or carbohydrates. One of the most vital fatty acid, omega-3, is responsible for keeping your pets’ fur and skin shining and healthy. They also absorb vitamins, insulate the body against extreme temperatures and protect their organs. 

ADDED BONUS: Fats makes food taste better to your pets!

  • Carbohydrates 

Always check for fibre in your pre-packaged kibble or wet food when buying them for adult pets. Such carbohydrates maintain their digestive health. It also makes sure that your pet is energetic enough for all your play sessions. 

Note: High-fibre foods are not recommended for young cats and for dogs that are still in the growing stage of their lives. Because they need more energy, their food should comprise of more protein and fats.

  • Vitamins and Minerals 

A balanced diet of protein, carbs and fats usually gives your pet all the vitamin and minerals that they require, and it's often not advised to give them additional supplements unless specifically recommended or prescribed by their veterinary. In fact, overload of vitamins have been known to cause several problems in dogs and cats, for example, too much of Vitamin A in their diet leads to brittle bones and joint pains. 

Overall, it is best to make sure that they are getting the right amount of minerals such as calcium and phosphorus for bone health along with a healthy dose of magnesium, potassium, and sodium for developing strong muscles.

Last but not the least, we as veterinarians, as part of vet care, prescribe plenty and plenty of water and exercise to bind in all the healthy food they’re eating. Be it running behind a frisbee, an ominous red dot, climbing up a cat tree or playing ball with the children at the backyard, constant exercise should always be a valuable and non-negotiable in your pet’s daily routine. They should also have perpetual access to clean, fresh water for them to gulp on as and when they get thirsty.