With an abundance of recent news stories focusing on pet food recalls and the growing pet obesity problem in the U.S., many pet owners may be left wondering what to feed their pets.
When it comes to choosing the right pet food, doctors from BluePearl Veterinary Partners provide these recommendations:
• Always consult with your veterinarian about what you should be feeding your pet.
• Review the list of ingredients and ensure you understand what it means in relation to the nutritional content your pet will be receiving. (Visit BluePearl’s article Pet Food Labels – How to Read Them)
• Make sure you choose a brand that uses quality ingredients. It will be worth it in the long run to provide your furry friend with a quality diet.
• Whatever you and your veterinarian decide, make sure you stick to proper portions and avoid giving table scraps that can throw off their diet. Like humans, many health problems in pets can be avoided with a proper diet.
• If your pet appears on the heavier side or is gaining weight, talk with your veterinarian about adjusting the portions or obtaining a prescription food. Also like humans, diet and exercise will lead to a healthier pet and a longer life.
• Some people may choose to prepare home-made meals for their pets. Make sure you have consulted with your veterinarian to ensure you’re using certain ingredients that will provide the right amount of nutrition for your pet to promote a healthy lifestyle.
• An uncooked, raw diet can result in gastrointestinal problems for your pet due to the potential presence of bacteria like salmonella.
Even with all of these considerations, your pet may reject the selected food or be allergic to the food you choose. Signs of dietary upset include abdominal pain, dehydration, diarrhea, increased thirst, lethargy, vomiting, or blood in vomit or stool.
“Most importantly, we want pet owners to develop a good relationship with their family veterinarians,” said Dr. Neil Shaw, chief medical officer of BluePearl Veterinary Partners. “Anytime they have a question or concern regarding the health of their pet, that is what their veterinarian is there for.”