As the weather cools off and gets even colder as winter approaches, its really important to ensure your dog gets the right nutrition to stay healthy. This time of year also heralds many holiday occasions around food, whether it’s Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Year parties; lots of opportunities for pets to snack on human foods – definitely a no-no for the canine waistline!
Recently, I had an opportunity to take part in a You Tube Live session with Dr. Evan Antin, a veterinarian in private practice the Conejo Valley Veterinary Hospital outside Los Angeles, California but better known nationally as People Magazine’s “Sexiest Veterinarian” alive and currently the magazine’s Pet Vet. We chatted about healthy nutrition and food safety for pets in general.
“ Avoid table tidbits,” confirmed Dr. Evan. “The great foods we enjoy at our table, especially around the holidays, contain a lot of oils and fats that can lead to health problems in our pets such as diarrhea, vomiting and pancreatitis. Additionally, there are several people foods that are highly toxic to dogs like onions and garlic. My advice is to stick to foods and treats that are made specifically for your pet at all times, but particularly around the holiday season.
Healthy nutrition for your dog can be a tricky highway to negotiate, especially when you are confronted with so many options on the food shelf. It can be confusing to compare formulas. It’s also important to take your dog’s age general health and activity levels into account when making a final choice.
Because of the complexity, many pet parents tend to look to the latest human and pet food trends to help them make decisions about their pet’s food.
“The truth is, pets aren’t humans, and so there’s a lot more that goes into choosing pet food from individual pet needs to finding quality food with the right ingredients,” says Dr. Evan. “Speak to your veterinarian to determine the best nutritional approach for your pet.“
And, he advises, do some research on ingredients used in pet foods such as grains and by-products – and the benefits they bring before you have a food discussion with your veterinarian. This way, you will glean a better understanding of what your veterinarian is suggesting.
Here are some tips from Dr. Evan.
Grains: Dogs aren’t wolves, they’re omnivores. This means they’ll need a vegetable-based or a lower-protein diet as part of a complete and balanced diet. Research has shown that grains deliver more complete nutrition than the ingredients typically used to substitute for grains.
By-products: Many pet food manufacturers use high-quality by-products – such as beef, chicken or pork that may include hearts, livers, kidneys, lungs and spleens. Cats and dogs in the wild typically eat these organs first because they are highly palatable and nutrient-dense.
Raw: Some people believe pets should eat a raw food diet because it’s allegedly more like what they would eat in the wild. However, raw pet food may not provide all the nutrients pets need and can contain dangerous bacteria when food safety regulations aren’t met.
Natural and organic: Although pet foods labeled as natural, organic and/or holistic are increasingly popular, the use of these terms can be misleading or confusing. Natural and organic foods are not necessarily healthier than conventional foods.
Many dogs are less active in colder weather because they are restricted from their usual walks and play times. Often this means they need to eat less. Never guess it! It’s a determination that once again should be made by your veterinarian.
To understand more about your pet’s nutrition, the quality of the recipe you serve and to learn if the food meets or exceeds FDA and AAFCO standards, you can check on the manufacturer’s website. And you will find a lot of information here at www.purina.com/nutrition
This post was sponsored by the Nestle Purina PetCare Company who arranged the opportunity for me to chat with Dr. Evan Antin. However, all opinions are my own. I only write about topics, events and products that I consider readers will consider useful information and relevant to their interests.