Pet Nutrition: Choosing the Right Food for Your Dog or Cat?

Pet Nutrition: Choosing the Right Food for Your Dog or Cat?

diet healthy for pets

Do you know the saying “We are what we eat”? If it is true for us humans, it is also true for our four-legged friends.  

A healthy and balanced diet is indeed a key ingredient to the good health of dogs and cats. Not only does it keep them fit and vital, but it also slows down and prevents the onset of certain diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and even certain cancers. Find out without further delay which diet to choose in order to have a healthy dog or cat.

The importance of a balanced diet for the health of dogs and cats

A balanced diet can be defined in several ways. 

A balanced diet is first of all a diet that provides the right amount of calories according to the animal’s life stage. For example, growing puppies and kittens have different caloric needs than adult dogs and cats, just as an adult dog or cat has different caloric needs than an older dog or cat. 

As for us, this caloric intake must also be proportionate to the energy expenditure of each. A dog living in an apartment does not have the same level of energy expenditure as a hunting dog. The same goes for an apartment cat versus a cat living in the country with easy access to the outdoors. It is, therefore, necessary to adapt the quantities and caloric intake according to the age and lifestyle of each animal.

A diet containing the right balance of nutrients

A balanced diet is also a diet that contains the right balance of nutrients. Minerals, proteins, fats, vitamins, carbohydrates, and water are the six groups of essential nutrients recognized by science. An imbalance in any one of these nutrients, whether it is a deficiency or an excess, can have consequences for the well-being and health of our pets. 

A diet too low in calcium, for example, can lead to muscle weakness, while an excessive intake can contribute to bone loss. Too little protein can cause muscle loss, while too much protein can lead to high phosphorus levels, which strain the kidneys and unbalance the gut microbiome. Too little vitamin intake will cause fatigue, while too much can cause loss of appetite.

 As you can see, if your pet does not receive each of these nutrients in the right proportions, depending on its life stage and possible specific needs, it can be detrimental to its well-being and health over time.

The importance of specific needs

Even if your pet is in good health, it may have special needs that require an adapted diet. For example, your pet may be spayed or neutered and therefore more prone to obesity and urinary problems, have sensitive skin, a tendency to digestive problems, osteoarthritis or be overweight, be an active and athletic dog, or be a cat that is particularly prone to hairballs… In all of these cases, and more, it is important to provide your pet with a diet that is adapted to meet its unique and specific needs.

The right diet for your pet depends on its life stage

Puppies and kittens need a lot of energy because they expend a lot of it. In particular, they need a high protein intake to recharge their batteries and feel fit.

As they reach adulthood, the needs of dogs and cats change, and if you continue to feed your young adult pet a puppy or kitten food that is richer in nutrients to promote growth, it can lead to weight gain. 

Just like us, cats’ and dogs’ metabolism slows down with age, a process that starts around the age of 7 (a little earlier for large breed dogs). At this stage, your pet needs a diet specially formulated for his new needs… A diet that promotes the health of his bones and vital organs, preserves his muscle mass, helps him fight the signs of age, stay active and mobile for as long as possible, and promotes his desire to interact with his environment. 

Hill’s Science Plan cover covers all life stages of dogs and cats. So, as your pet ages, you can offer him a diet adapted to his needs, with a constant nutritional quality.

The right diet for your pet according to its specific needs

Behind the apparent good health of your pet, there are specific needs. For example… 

  • Nearly one animal out of two is experiencing weight problems today.
  • From the age of 3, a large majority of dogs and cats show signs of dental fragility.
  • Each year, cats swallow an average of 73 grams of hair, which causes hairballs to form.
  • One in five dogs has joint and mobility problems.
  • Nearly 90% of cats are sterilized, which leads to overweight and urinary problems. 

In the Hill’s Science Plan line, you’ll find products specially formulated to meet any of these specific needs, and more. 

Ready to change your diet?

When changing your pet’s diet, always make sure there’s a transition phase. Not only will this help your pet accept the new food more easily, but it will also help avoid some digestive problems. To make this transition, you can refer to the guide on the package or watch this video for even more interactive advice.

Your pet can’t choose its own diet. It’s an important choice you have to make for him, one that can transform his life… and yours too! Offering him a balanced diet adapted to his needs will give him a better chance of living happily and in good shape by your side for as long as possible. When in doubt, don’t hesitate to talk to your veterinarian. Together, you can determine your pet’s unique nutritional needs, based on his age, lifestyle, size, and any special needs he may have.

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