Pet Care Series: 8 Steps to Keep Your Pet Healthy
At University Pet Hospital, it is our mission to be the most reliable, responsible and respected providers of veterinary services to pets and their owners. It is through continuous education of our staff that we are able to better provide the care your pet needs to live a long active life.
In our pet healthcare series, we will take a look at the eight steps you should take to ensure your pet remains in prime health.
This week, we will take a look at the first step: Proper Nutrition. What does proper nutrition do for your pet? The proper balance of nutrients is essential when feeding your pet. Animals (and humans) need a certain combination of protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals and water every day in order to function properly. However, your pet’s nutrition needs are not the same as ours, but many of us are clueless about what exactly they are.
Consider these facts:
- Small, low-activity dogs need only about 185 to 370 calories daily, while a large pooch between 67 to 88 pounds may need between 1,000 to 2,000 calories, depending on activity level and gender. Yet many of our dogs get far more food than they need. More than one-third of U.S. dogs over 1 year old are overweight.
- A healthy 10-pound kitty needs just 220 to 350 calories a day — about the number in a few ounces of cheese. No wonder the weight stats are about as bad for cats as dogs. At least one-quarter of U.S. felines are considered overweight or obese.
Each and every nutrient in your pet’s food serves a purpose. Without adequate nutrition, your pet would not be able to maintain muscle tone, build and repair muscles, teeth, and bone, perform normal daily activities with ease or fight-off infection. Proteins provide a source of energy and help with muscle function and growth. Fats provide energy, help the brain function, and keep the skin and hair coat shiny and healthy. Carbohydrates supply a quick energy source that allow your dog or cat to be active and energetic. Vitamins and minerals are necessary for muscle contraction and nerve conduction, as well as work to prevent disease.
Make sure you are feeding a quality food once or twice daily; do NOT give them table scraps. If you find yourself sharing bits of your dinner with your kitty, be careful. Obese cats can suffer many of the health problems people face, including diabetes and arthritis. Same goes for your fluffy puppy. Obesity boosts a dog’s risk of degenerative joint disease and chronic pain. If your companion doesn’t have a waist, you can’t feel her ribs without pressing, or there’s no “tuck” in her tummy, she may be too heavy for good health. Ask your veterinarian to be sure.
So is your cat or dog getting all the nutrients he needs? It can be difficult to understand all the fine points of pet nutrition and incorporate them into your pet’s daily diet. Your veterinarian can help you optimize your pet’s diet for good health, offer advice on exercise and behavior modification, and help your much-loved companion get the preventive care he needs for a long, healthy, and active life.
For more information about proper pet nutrition, please visit our website or contact our hospital at 619-333-8006 to set up an appointment to talk to our veterinarians.