The Basics of Pet Nutrition
I’ve talked a lot about eating a healthy and balanced diet in previous articles. I’ve also discussed the need for exercise and maintaining a healthy weight. This article will be no different, except I won’t be talking about humans living a healthy lifestyle; I’ll be talking about our four-legged friends! We hear all about the benefits of living a healthy life for ourselves, but what about for our pets? Jennifer Coates, a vet for PetMD.com has said that proper and balanced pet nutrition can act as a “preventative medicine” for our pets.
So what constitutes healthy lifestyle choices for our pets? ZooToo.com had an article discussing some of the myths of pet nutrition. One of these myths is that pets don’t require the same balance of vitamins, minerals and nutrients as humans, essentially it doesn’t matter what they eat. ZooToo explains that this is just not true, they say, “Cats require 33 percent protein and 25 percent fat in their diet as adults. When it comes to dogs, they need less protein, averaging about 25 percent of their daily intake. So if you feed a cat dog food, you're going to wind up with a sick cat, devoid of the protein that it desires.”
There is more to a healthy lifestyle than pet nutrition; we also need to consider the activity levels of our pets. According to vetbalance.com, “next to weight, activity is the second most important factor in determining dietary needs for a healthy pet.” However, there isn’t a set rule when it comes to the amount of activity your pet needs. The level of activity needed by your pet will depend on its type (dog, cat, etc.), breed, age, etc. Getting proper amounts of activity can help your pet maintain a healthy weight and hopefully avoid injuries as they get older (same as for humans, crazy, huh?)
So when it all comes down to it, the ways to keep our pets healthy and happy are the same ways we can stay happy and healthy: diet and exercise. Granted the specifics of these two things are very different for pet and owner, but the principle is the same. There are many tools online that can help you to know what your specific pet’s needs are, but trying to make sure they get proper pet nutrition through a healthy diet and possible vitamin supplementation is a good start.