As most of the millions of pet owners can attest to, a sick pet can end up costing a lot of money. Whether the pet has a short term illness or a chronic one, it can mean multiple trips to the veterinarian. The good news is that there are things that people can do in order to help their pets live a healthier, happier life. A great place to start is by taking a look at their diet, which can have a tremendous impact on their pet’s health.
“People often don’t realize just how important the quality of food is that they feed their pets,” explains Will Post, president of Hound & Gatos Pet Food Corporation. “Yet it is something that is done every day and helps in nearly every aspect of the pet’s well being. The pet’s diet is so important and should not be overlooked.”
Just as diet impacts human health, so to does it impact the health of the millions of cats and dogs that people have as pets around the nation. An unhealthy diet prevents pets from getting the nutrition they need in order to be healthy. Here are five ways a pet’s diet can impact their health:
Allergies and sensitivities. It’s common for cats and dogs to suffer from irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease. Some of the items in food that you should avoid include things like corn, soy, dyes, and preservatives.
Urinary tract problems. Many pets experience urinary tract problems, including stones or crystals, and inflammation and infection. Pets tend to do better eating canned food that contains more water content that also usually contain more meat.
Weight issues. Just like people, dogs and cats have an issue with obesity. Some of the factors that contribute include being overfed, being given too many treats or being fed people food. Weight problems can lead to numerous other health and quality of life issues.
Diabetes. The dogs and cats that are overweight are also more prone to developing diabetes, which can lead to a variety of quality of life and health issues on its own.
Dental concerns. Pets who are not eating a healthy diet can also suffer from dental problems, such as periodontal disease. While many people buy dry pet food because it is more cost effective, it can tend to be harder on the teeth for many cats and dogs.
“People often give the lower quality pet foods to their cats and dogs because it is cheaper,” added Post. “But in the long run it is not cheaper, not when you add in the health problems that can arise. Better quality food can help your pet avoid being sick and having more visits with the veterinarian.”
When it cones tome to switch your dog or cat to a new food, plan to do it over the course of several weeks – even when you’re changing to a higher quality food. It makes the transition easier if you mix the higher quality food with their original food, increasing the amount each day until your pet is eating just the higher quality food.
Look for brand that more closely fits your pet’s natural diet – high in meat/protein – no fillers or by products. Foods such as rendered animal fats, corn, soy, wheat, sugar, and artificial flavors and preservatives, all of which can be difficult for a pet’s digestive system.