If you’ve been to my clinic for an appointment or we’ve shared a virtual phone consult, you’ve most likely heard my “food talk.” In fact, for a while, new clients would come in expecting to receive the “food talk;” that’s why they were here. Maybe it’s been a while since we’ve talked about food together, let’s review some of the highlights and why it’s so important to your dog or cat’s health.
The one thing we do for our pets day after day is feed them. We do that more than walks, baths, play time, anything really – treats, prewashing the dishes, and meal times – somehow, we spend a lot of time giving food to our pets. And we know from our own nutrition that the better we eat the better we feel. Same thing for our pets.
At mealtime, my dogs wouldn’t care what’s in their dish, as long as they finish theirs first and have a chance to clean one of the others’ bowl. But WE can see what food does to our pets so WE know what’s in there IS important. Lower quality food is linked to bladder infections, diabetes, shedding, seizures, hot spots, ear infections, stomach ulcers and so on. As a result, each one of us feeds the best food we can.
To drive home the importance of high quality food, not well-advertised food, we’ve all seen the lawsuit against, then recall of, a nationally sold dry dog food. The lawsuit alleged dogs were bleeding internally from the food. We’ve seen that here at Healthy PAWsibilities® – about 2 years ago we had several dogs who had blood coming out every end of their body. I could find no cause on bloodwork or x-rays but the dogs got better when placed on a higher quality food. One dog went back to her national brand, bleeding came back, owners vowed to never buy that food again, and she has been great since.
How to identify great quality food is a challenge too – the labels all say the same thing! And there are great debates about what food is best – in my world, the food should look real. The more the food in our dogs and cats’ dishes look like meat and veggies, the better it is. Raw is great, cooked is fabulous, but what about convenience and time involved in making the food? Some pet families need to convenience of dry – there are some great dry foods that are better than grocery store and nationally advertised food that will still do great things for your four-legged family. If you top dress with real food or feed one real meal on the weekend, then you are doing great things to help your dogs and cats live healthier lives.
Need specifics? We can custom tailor a meal plan suitable to your new situation.
Looking to make your own? The updated edition of Dinner PAWsible is due out May 5, 2015 and available here – there are more recipes, more instructions and a section listing specific health concerns and how to modify the recipes for your pets’ special needs.
Dr. Cathy Alinovi DVM
As a practicing veterinarian, Dr. Cathy treated 80% of what walked in the door — not with expensive prescriptions — but with adequate nutrition. Now retired from private practice, her commitment to pets hasn’t waned and she looks forward to impacting many more pet parents through her books, research, speaking and consulting work. Learn more at drcathyvet.com