We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: nutrition is the foundation of health, and when it comes to our pets, a quality, balanced diet is key to living a long and happy life. Many pet parents ask about the “best” food to feed their dog or cat, but there’s no simple answer. The best plan for pet parents is to learn some basics about pet nutrition, then consult with an animal nutritionist to create a meal plan that caters to their companions’ needs.
In general, knowing some basic facts will help you make informed decisions about your pet’s nutritional health. The other thing to remember is that your pal’s meal plan needs to work for you, too! With some research, preparation, and of course, help from pet professionals, you can feel confident when it comes to making smart decisions about your companion’s health!
IT’S IMPORTANT TO CHOOSE A DIET STYLE THAT WORKS FOR YOUR PET … AND FOR YOU
Not only is it essential to feed your dog or cat the right diet, the wrong one can lead to diseases or other health conditions. Every animal requires a unique balance of nutrients for their bodies, and too much or too little of an ingredient can cause anything from mild discomfort to long-term repercussions.
The good news is, diet can help alleviate or even support the healing of tons of common conditions, from skin allergies to arthritis, to inflammation associated with cancer. With some simple dietary additions like herbs, oils, and even fresh produce, dogs and cats can get relief from uncomfortable symptoms (or avoid issues down the road).
There are lots of different meal plans out there, including kibble, home cooked meals, and raw diets. While it’s important to do your research about each one (there are pros and cons for all of them), it’s equally important to choose a diet for your dog or cat that you can stick with. For instance, organic, raw meals might seem best, but if you can’t afford the food or don’t have time to prepare it, this plan won’t help anyone. However, you can find ways to supplement your pet’s meals by adding fresh, healthy foods whenever you can.
EVERY PET PARENT SHOULD CONSULT WITH AN ANIMAL NUTRITIONIST
Yes, there’s a lot that goes into choosing a quality meal plan for a dog or cat. That’s why it’s important to consult with a professional. Animal nutritionists are experts in knowing how food affects health, and can help you design a plan that specifically addresses (or even prevents) certain issues or conditions.
With that said, it’s equally important to find a professional who’s qualified, objective (meaning they aren’t only pushing certain brands), and aligns with your core values. He or she should also be non-judgemental, and work within your limitations, whether they be time or financial constraints, or any other concerns you may have.
Once you find a pet nutrition professional that you trust, don’t be shy to ask all your questions — even if you’re a little embarrassed! A true animal lover will respect that you only want what’s best for your dog or cat, plus, there’s a good chance they’ve already heard it all. And after all, it’s up to us to advocate for the health of our beloved companions.