As pet parents we want nothing more than for our pets to have a long and happy life, so we follow the rules, advice and even trends to keep them healthy; we exercise them, schedule regular vet trips, give medical attention and of course, lots and lots of love. These things keep them in a good physical condition, but we should also pay attention to their diet. We as humans often say we are what we eat, so surely this applies to our four legged friends too. Does a healthier diet help your furry ones live longer? For that matter, what is a healthy diet?
Lots of commercial dog food tends to have harmful ingredients or aren’t species appropriate. Many foods may also include sugar which is extremely harmful to your dog and cat, so try to avoid it at all costs. Look at the ingredients included in your pets’ food and do some research before you buy.
We personally recommend raw or home cooked food and natural treats either dehydrated or freeze-dried, so that you can make sure it is the quality that your buddy deserves.
What is a Species Appropriate Diet?
Species appropriate nutrition means a diet that is appropriate for a specific species. In order to thrive, an animal must eat a diet that its species has evolved to eat – a diet that its body is able to consume and digest.
Humans are omnivores – we can eat a mixture of predominantly plant material and some meat and thrive. We have flat molar teeth, adapted to grind plant material down and long intestinal tracts that allow for digestion and fermentation of tough plant cell walls. In contrast to that, dogs are carnivores. They have teeth adapted to catching live prey and pointed molar teeth adapted to cutting meat off bones, rather than for grinding. Have you ever noticed the difference between a dog and say a cow, when it comes to eating? Cows spend hours chewing their food, slowly grinding it down on flat molar teeth. Dogs and cats on the other hand don’t chew their food. They may gnaw tough pieces into bite sized morsels, but these are swallowed whole.
Carnivores also have shorter digestive tracts and predominantly secrete digestive enzymes that break down animal proteins and fats. Their entire digestive tract, from teeth to gut , is adapted to digesting meat. Hence, it is super important that we acknowledge our pet’s diet requirements and how they have evolved to eat and digest their meals.
A healthy balance
For a diet to work, it must be balanced. This means it must include every nutrient needed for your pet. They need protein, which can be found in meat, not meat byproducts. Vitamins and minerals should be included in the food your pet consumes but make sure to do your research or speak to a vet beforehand if your pet really needs it as most balanced raw food contains natural occurring vitamins and minerals.
Last, but definitely not least, water. It is an extremely important part of your dog’s diet, and they should always have plenty available. Be sure they have water after exercising, and always keep their bowl filled with clean fresh water, in case they get thirsty.
Talk to your Veterinarian
Before reducing your pet’s calorie intake or changing their diet, we can recommend speaking to your vet, since your dog might need a special diet or have certain special needs. Find a vet that supports not only commercially available food but also supports a holistic approach.
As our Premium member, you can also ring up our vet line and have a chat.
A healthier life is what we want for our pets, and the ideal diet is sure to help achieve that. On top of this they need exercise, the normal precautions and medical attention when it’s needed. And no matter what, give them all your love 🙂