This month on Just Ask A Veterinarian, we are talking about Pet Food In Canada. Dr. Susan Malone and I did our live video on March 14th and shared some tips for caring for both dogs and cats this winter.
This post is sponsored by Maritime Animal Hospital.
Pet food in Canada is regulated and there are very good standards on the quality of the products going into all Canadian pet foods. That being said, not all foods are good for all pets. In this video, we talked about some of the diets available, some options and preferences for cats, and more. Here are some highlights. Feel free to watch the video and post a question below in the comments or open the video through Facebook and comment on it.
Introducing New Pet Food
Regardless of the kind of diet or brand of food, any time you introduce a change in diet, you will want to gradually add the new food, and take away the old food. It will take 5 to 7 days, but may take a little longer for a pet who have some digestion issues.
If you notice vomiting or diarrhea, backtrack a little and change more gradual.
Cats are Carnivores
Cats are true obligate carnivores. They are not vegetarian, and never will be. They receive most of their water content from the meat they eat. They will take in their fluids better through their food, so offering some wet canned food each day will help keep them hydrated. If you can afford it, offering a canned food only diet is recommended.
Grain Free Diets
Grain free is not necessarily better, and dogs are omnivores, so they eat both plants and meats. Cardio Myopathy has been linked to dogs being on a grain free diet. (video explains a little more about this) Corn & wheat are generally very healthy sources of carbohydrates in their diets. The general recommendation is regular dog food unless your pet has a specific health issue requiring a grain-free pet food diet.
Raw / Homemade Diets
Consider the pet themselves. If they are healthy and have no health issues, then raw can be a great way to go. You should research and be sure the quality of meat, varied sources and vitamin contents are well balanced and offer everything they need in their pet food.
Puppies, especially large breed puppies are recommended a kibble diet to ensure they receive the nutrients they require for proper bone growth in their first year.
Take into consideration the family make up. If you have young children, having raw meat prepared and offered to your pet could increase the risk of contamination of their space (ie. salmonella).
Puppies & Kittens
Always purchase the Puppy or Kitten food as it is formulated to help them grow and provides the nutrients they need for proper development of bones. Feed the amount of food suggested on the bags. Take the time to find the right food, one your pet likes.
Do not offer milk to your pets. Humans are the only mammals who can digest milk after we are weaned. It can cause bladder and kidney issues in cats.
Cats Need Taurine
It needs to be included in their diet. It would appear on the wet or dry food packaging.
There are more details in the attached video. We went on to talk about the details of ingredients listed on packages, and the various ways they can be interpreted.
If you have questions about your pet's food and diet, be sure to consult your veterinarian.
If you are looking for more tips and ideas, you can check out Pets Section of the blog.