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As a responsible pet owner, you want to feed your dog or cat the healthiest diet, however finding one can be confusing. It depends on her breed, age, stage of life, activity, health, habits, tastes, and many more factors. In addition, there are so many conflicting claims, many with few or no data-based evidence, to consider. When you are stymied and worried about whether you are doing it right, please know that Dr. Rothstein, Dr. Freiman, and their staff at Apple Valley Veterinarians, your veterinarians in Southington, are just a phone call away.
Now let’s try to make things a little easier. Although some pet foods are labeled for particular stages of a normal cat or dog’s life, others are labeled for all stages. To read more about the changes that occur at the different life stages, we recommend visiting the Purina Pro Plan website for more information. When companies make these claims, they are required to show evidence that their claim is true.
Generally, there are two ways to accomplish this. The first is by analyzing the ingredients for nutritional value. Since the average nutrients needed for good health are well documented, foods that contain the proper ratio of nutrients in proper amounts are considered acceptable. A more rigorous method of testing is by feeding the food under controlled conditions to several generations of dogs or cats and closely monitoring their health, longevity, activity, and appearance. This information is printed on the food container.
We advise our clients to stick to name brand foods and avoid the discount brands. We also believe that moister foods are closer to the consistency of what dogs and especially cats would eat if they did not have us. And we believe that, as in foods meant for humans, there is an increased risk of pathogens in raw foods. You may have seen claims that these are better for your pet, but there is little to no evidence that this is so and plenty of evidence that raw foods have bacteria that sometimes make animals ill.
Although dogs and cats seem to be able to get along for a long time on diets that are not very good, there are animals that require a diet that is even more specialized than our good name brand pet foods. Cats and dogs with food allergies, kidney and liver disease, diabetes, etc. may require prescription diets to alleviate their symptoms. These diets are costly but have been shown to be effective. Hopefully, your big or little guy will never need them, but we are prepared to prescribe them when called for.
Choosing the best food for your pets is an ongoing process. Your veterinary team can make recommendations about the most appropriate diet for each individual member of your pet family throughout their lives. Speak with one of our veterinarians about pet foods and any other concerns at your cat or dog’s annual wellness exam. If you live in Plantsville or any other area in Southington, or the surrounding area, give Apple Valley Veterinarians a call at (860) 628-9635 to schedule an appointment.