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Vet Associates Hastings

814 Francis Hicks Ave

Raureka, Hastings


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The Importance of Quality Nutrition PDF Print E-mail








Do you know what your pet needs nutritionally?



The Basics:

'Nutrition' is the intake of food to supply the body with energy and nutrients for growth, repair and reproduction. The nutrients include Carbohydrates, Lipids (fat), Protein, Water, Vitamins and Minerals.

Cats and Dogs get these nutrients from what we choose to feed them - therefore we must make a smart choice. Cats are 'obligate carnivores' - this means they must have meat in their diet. Without meat they will be severely lacking in certain nutrients such as taurine, which they can only get from meat. They also cannot be on a meat only diet - in the wild they would have eaten the whole of their prey, include the vegetation in the intestines and stomach. Dogs are omnivores - they need to eat both meat and vegetables.


The Difference between Supermarket diets and Veterinary diets

Supermarket foods are made from lower quality ingredients, so your pet will not thrive as well. Cheaper, low quality supermarket diets usually contain approximately 15 nutrients, whereas the brands we stock contain approximately 50 different nutrients. The protein is from a different source too - animal protein instead of cereal proteins. Cats and dogs struggle to digest cereals - meaning they aren't getting adequate levels of good protein... And you will be picking up lots of smelly poo's!

The higher quality ingredients contain a higher energy value - they can eat less of it, and have more energy. You will be feeding smaller amounts compared to supermarket diets, so it can cost you less in the long run as well. Check out the 'recommended feeding guide' on the back of supermarket brands - you may be surprised at how much you have to feed to maintain your pets activity! By choosing a quality food, you are ensuring they are getting absolutely everything they need for a balanced diet, and nothing they don't.


Breed, Size and Age Specific Food

What you choose to feed your pet will depend on what size and age it is. Puppies and kittens must be on a puppy or kitten food until they are approximately a year old because they have very different requirements to an adult animal. Most specifically they need extra calories because of high levels of activity, and the calcium levels are specific to their growing bodies. Only pregnant and lactating bitches should be fed a puppy diet.

After they turn a year old (if it is a large breed dog then it is advised to feed them puppy food until they're 18 months old) then they will need to change to an adult food. This is advised to be fed until they are approximately 8 years old (sooner if it is a large breed dog) and then they will need to be changed a 'mature' diet. Mature diets have

Breed and size specific foods are great too - breed specific foods can help with genetic conditions of breeds (e.g. joint problems in Labradors, or skin problems with Spaniels). Size specific foods are very important since there are very big differences between a small breed such as a Chihuahua and large breeds like Mastiffs. The kibble size is different and they have different levels of minerals and vitamins - if you fed the same food to both dogs then one would get too much and the other would be deficient. By choosing a size specific food, you are making it very easy to ensure your pet gets a fully balanced diet suited to them.


Our New Foods:

We have a few new diets in store that may be beneficial to your pet!

  • Hills Metabolic: A fantastic new diet for our overweight pets. Not a subject we all like to discuss, but it is very important! It works on changing your pets metabolism rather than restricting calories, so speeds up the weight loss process without making your pet hungry. We run a free weight clinic here, so book in to see one of our nurses and we can tell you all about this fantastic new product.
  • Eukanuba Cat Range: Your favourite dog food brand has finally released their cat range and it is fantastic. This is the highest quality cat food we stock, and we have Kitten, Adult and Senior for all your pets needs. Wanting the best for your cat? Then this food is exactly what you need.
  • We also have a massive range of prescription diets - if your pet has more specific needs (such as arthritis, urinary problems, dental issues, sensitive digestion or skin, kidney or liver problems or diabetes) then ask us about what diet might be best for your pet. These can only be prescribed by your veterinarian, so come in and see us :)


Interesting Food facts:

  • Taste isn't very important to cats and dogs - but smell is. Humans have 9000 taste buds, a dog only 1700 and a cat has 500!
  • Cats and dogs do not get bored of food. Boredom is a human condition, pets only become 'fussy' if we spoil them for choice - so give them one option and stick with it.
  • Cats and dogs have very sensitive gastro-intestinal tracts so can feel ill very easily if their diet is changed. If you want to change their diet, please do so gently over a week.
  • Obesity can kill your pet - diabetes and arthritis are common diseases caused by being overweight and it can shorten their lives severely.
  • Cats are lactose intolerant. Dairy products can give them stomach upsets and diarrhoea.
  • Cats and dogs cannot absorb Vitamin D like we can - they have to have it in their diet.
  • Cats cannot taste sweetness! Dogs can, but not very strongly.
  • Home-made diets are not recommended for pets. It is very hard to get the correct balance of nutrients, so commercial diets are best for your pet.



Last Updated on Thursday, 10 July 2014 09:31