Nutrition for Dogs & Cats
Rotation and Variety
Rotation and variety help prevent food sensitivities and allergies by not overexposing animals to the same proteins all of the time, plus it’s more exciting for your pet! A varied diet will result in a healthier animal who doesn’t suffer a stomach upset from changing foods. Variety also provides a more complete spectrum of amino acids, essential fats and trace nutrients.
Switching your pet’s food can be an easy and positive experience! If you are switching the brand/manufacturer of the food, make a gradual switch to a new food by starting with 25% new food and 75% of the current food for 3 days. Then mix 50%/50% for the next 3 days. Finally mix 75% of the new food to 25% of the current food.
If your pet has diarrhea or loose stools, back off on the new food and stretch the transition out longer. Digestive aids with probiotics like acidophilus or even 100% canned pumpkin (not pie filling) can help aid in the digestion of new foods, as well. Kitties seem to like Sweet Potato better than pumpkin.
If just switching proteins within the same brand/manufacture, most pets don’t need any transition at all – those foods are made to rotate. I personally switch the manufacturer every 3 months or so.
Types of Food:
Least processed (closest to nature), high in moisture and protein, low in carbs, nearly grain free. A diet of fresh, unprocessed meats, organs, bones, and vegetable matter is closest to the evolutionary diet of our pets’ wild canine and feline ancestors. A raw brings outstanding results, with beautiful coats, clear eyes, sweet breath, great teeth, calm dispositions, and dogs and cats that are rarely sick. We do caution with buying meat from your butcher or grocer; human meat is meant to be cooked and not fed raw and supplements are required!
Cooked and processed (but not as much as dry food), high in moisture & protein, lower in carbs, most premium brands are grain free. Canned foods are a good choice for both dogs and cats. Like fresh foods they have a high moisture content, 78% versus 10% for kibble. This extra moisture is especially important to cats. Canned foods have a higher meat content, contain little or no grain, and are cooked more gently than dry foods. Kibble is processed twice, once in the vat where the ingredients are cooked down to a thick slurry, and again in the extruder where the nuggets are shot through nozzles with hot steam under tremendous pressure.
Dry pet food is an invention of convenience that has come a long way since its inception 50 years ago as a way to feed pets on inexpensive grain and very little actual meat. As carnivores, dogs and cats are far healthier eating more meat and fewer carbohydrates. Some very conscientious pet food companies now make high meat kibble using human quality ingredients – fresh (not rendered) chicken, turkey, lamb, fish, dairy products, eggs, fruits, and vegetables. These ground-breaking products are preserved naturally with Vitamin C and E, and contain no by-products or fillers.