There is such a variety of food available it
is difficult to know what is best for you and for your pet. There are homemade diets, raw diets and lots of options to choose from. The reason
there are so many choices is because not one food is good for all pets, just as
humans could not tolerate the same diet. For example, broccoli is a vegetable
that is good for us, but not everyone likes it or can eat it.
Commercial Pet Foods for Dogs and Cats
At our clinic we offer Medi-cal Royal
Canin diets and Hills Prescription diets.
Medi-cal dog and cat food was developed by a veterinarian in Guelph and is naturally
preserved using high quality ingredients. Did you know that the Medi-cal plant
is right down the street from us? This plant is the main distributor of its
foods for all of Canada. As of right now Medi-cal uses 50% of its ingredients from
local sources. Please click here for more information about the company.
Reading Pet Food Labels
When it comes to food you get what you pay
for. Lower priced diets have more "filler" and lower quality
ingredients. You might be surprised to know that it is impossible to determine
the quality of the food by the ingredient list. For example, some pet food
manufacturers boast that meat is the first ingredient in their food, implying that
there is more meat than any other ingredient, which is misleading. One way they
accomplish this is by breaking the grain component into several different
categories such as wheat flour, wheat shorts and wheat, thereby lowering their
place on the ingredient list.
Another way is to put "whole chicken" as the first ingredient. This
is the precooked weight and most of this weight is water which evaporates during
the cooking process. Also the percentage of protein listed does not tell you
what the quality or "bioavailability" of the protein is.
Unlike dogs, cats have no carbohydrate requirements.
They are true carnivores and are designed to live on high protein and fat
diets. Recent research suggests that the relatively high carbohydrate content
in most commercial cat foods may be contributing to the high prevalence of
obesity seen in our household cats (in addition to the sedentary lifestyle of course).
Obesity in cats, just like in humans, significantly increases the risk of
diabetes. Watch for foods that claim to have “high protein.”
For those of us who have the time to cook for our pets, a well balanced,
properly formulated homemade diet is a good option. We have some diets listed
under “recipes” which use a variety of fresh ingredients. The recipes can be
made up in large batches and frozen in individual portions for convenience. When
making your own pet food, it is always important to ensure that the food is
balanced and that a supplement is given.
We also carry a recipe book for dogs by local pet
nutritionist Hilary Watson. This book contains 101 different recipes. Please stop
by the clinic to have a look at this informative book.
Raw Food Diet (BARF Diet)
This type of diet became popular a few years ago but its popularity is fading
today. One line of reasoning behind feeding this type of diet is that it mimics
the diet of wild dogs but we still do not know a lot about this type of diet
and any true benefits. We seem to have an idealized image of the health and
longevity of wild animals when, in fact, wild animals live shorter and more sickly
lives than their domestic counterparts. Dogs have now been domesticated for
over 400 years - it has been a long time since they had to hunt for their own
food. We do know that raw meat can carry dangerous bacteria such as salmonella
and E. Coli. Not only are you exposing your dogs to these bacteria but also
your family who will be handling the food preparation and clean up. If you
choose a raw food diet, take extra care to ensure the safety of your family.