Pet Nutrition

 The Dangers Of Feeding Animals a Human Diet

Animals have very different nutritional needs to humans, their metabolism is different and they need different enzymes than humans. So diets that we humans think are so great, and may well be great - for us - are not always suitable for our pets. Many of these diets are not nutritionally balanced for pets.

Diets such as Paleo, Vegan/Vegetarian, Grain-free may not always be applicable to animals. WHY?

We must remember that cats are OBLIGATE carnivores - they must have a meat diet which contain essential amino acids, fatty acids and vitamins found in meat. CATS WILL GET SICK on a vegetarian diet - very sick - in fact these diets can be lethal for cats. Blindness and liver problems can occur very quickly. As cats are very good at hiding disease and learn to compensate for loss of sight quite well, owners may not realise the cat is going blind.

Grain-free and low carbohydrate diets are often fed on the belief that the animals are suffering from grain related allergies. However most pet allergens come from meat-based proteins so grain-free food may not be appropriate. Additionally our pets are easily able to digest carbs. This is why when we discuss with owners to feed a low allergy diet we advise using ONE or NOVEL source of protein only - kangaroo meat and potatos are the best hypoallergenic home-cooked diet an owner can feed for an itchy skin dog!

Balancing a homecooked diet is difficult - so a combination of good quality commercial food with a home cooked diet, is advised. This is especially true for young pups and kittens and large breed pups where a balanced diet is vital for skeletal growth. Pups can develop Ricketts from an all meat diet that is not nutritionally balanced. The condition is completely preventable so owners need to be aware of the nutritional needs of pups.

And remember - cats and dogs are carnivores - dogs actually omniverous. Apart from being unbalanced, raw food can also cause illness through the presence of bacteria and worm larvae cysts in meat. Bacteria and worm eggs in faeces can cause environmental contamination posing a risk to young children, pregnant women and the elderly. The classic scenario is the kids sandbox being used for a toilet by the cat or dog. Children should be taught to not allow dogs to lick their faces and to wash their hands often.

Insurance companies may not cover a pet for illness if the animal gets sick as a result from being fed anything other than appropriate cat and dog diets.

Welfare agencies take a dim view on a situation where an animal has become sick or emaciated due to incorrect diets being fed. Prosecution and fines can ensue.

Recent research into heart disease in Golden Retrievers has found a link between feeding grain free diets and development of heart disease. 

More info:  https://mckeevervetderm.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/543/2017/09/TaurineDef.Goldens.pdf

https://www.morrisanimalfoundation.org/article/researchers-getting-closer-understanding-dietary-taurine-and-heart-disease-dogs

"As vets we know that you like to do the best thing for your pets. However , even though you are looking after yourself with a particular diet, it does not mean that the diet is appropriate, nor healthy, for your pet."


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© Joan Deetman 2018