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The importance of a well-balanced nutrition

 

By: Dr. Naama Manor
 

We are all aware of the fact that the quality of our nutrition affects our health. This applies to our pet friends as well.

When we discuss dogs and cats' nutrition it is important to realize they have entirely different nutritional needs. Cats are obligatory carnivores who need a high protein diet of animal origin whereas dogs' diet is much more varied. Feeding dog food to cats will cause nutritional deficits which might lead to serious heart problems, blindness and even death. Feeding cat food to dogs might cause high-protein related problems, such as kidney disease.

On top of specie differences, our pets' nutritional needs change with the different stages of their life. The nutritional needs of a lactating bitch are obviously very different from those of a 15 year old dog, and the nutritional needs of a miniature poodle are different from those of a golden retriever. Therefore it is important to choose your pet's food and establish feeding habits based on the animal's age, breed, demeanor, and lifestyle. This is where we'll be happy to advise.

In times of illness, the differences between cats and dogs become even more apparent. In dogs (and in people), the metabolic rate decreases in times of illness, lowering the food requirement. In cats on the other hand, both the metabolic rate and the protein requirement increase in times of illness. A sick cat that stops eating for a couple of days might develop liver failure which may be irreversible and lead to death (even in cases where the underlying disease was benign).

Nutrition also plays an important part in treating chronic disease in pets. The leading pet-food companies have each a line of products meant to alleviate symptoms of chronic illness such as kidney disease, heart failure and diabetes; for the prevention of bladder stones and "feline lower urinary tract disease"; for the prevention of skin disease, gastrointestinal upsets, arthritis etc'. Backed by years of medical research, feeding these foods to our pets improves quality of life and longevity. 

One of the most prevalent health problems of our pets is obesity. Obesity increases the risk for arthritis, diabetes and heart failure. The most important point in preventing obesity is feeding measured amounts of food and providing regular physical exercise. If the pet gains weight in spite of that there are low-calorie medical foods that assist in loosing weight.

 ·        All medical foods are available at  Ramat Hasharon Veterinary center