Your pet's diet is essential to its overall well-being, health, and energy. Knowing what to feed your pet is as important as keeping them on a regular feeding schedule. Pets are creatures of habit; getting them used to eating healthy foods and making their feeding time predictable is the best thing you can do for them.
Which Foods are Best for My Pet?
Depending on your pet type, beneficial foods may vary. While cats are strictly meat-eaters because they are carnivores, dogs are omnivores like humans! This means dogs need to have a mixed diet made of animal protein, fibers, vegetables, and fruits. Your veterinarian can help you ensure your pet gets their correct amounts.
For cats and dogs, water, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, proteins, and minerals are the six primary nutrients needed in a their diet. However, due to differences between cats and dogs, the amount of nutrients required by each pet may differ.
Fun Facts About Pet Foods
As a pet owner, it is beneficial to know the below information:
- A cat can eat dog food, but a dog can't eat cat food
- Most cats are lactose intolerant, so avoid cow’s milk
- You can find lactose-free milk available for cats in pet stores
- There are vegetarian foods available for dogs, but not for cats, they are omnivores and can't survive without meat!
Which is Better for My Pet Dry or Wet Food?
Below is a comparison between dry and wet pet foods in terms of convenience, nutritional value, and other factors:
Preservatives: When it comes to preservatives, canned food wins as it is preserved through an airtight canning process and requires few or no chemical preservatives. Dry food often requires preservatives to maintain its long shelf-life.
Nutritional Facts: Both dry and wet foods are beneficial. However, wet canned food is usually made from more whole meat and fewer carbohydrates, and no colors or artificial flavors.
Convenience: Dry food is mess-free, easy to take anywhere. It is also easy to store and fast to present during feeding time.
Hydration: Feeding your pet strictly dry kibble may increase the risk of dehydration. Dry food has an average of 7-12% moisture, while wet food contains 50-70% moisture. Try to choose wet or canned foods with 70% moisture content.
Food Safety: While dogs typically eat once a day, some cats are grazers. Dry food is ok to be left in a bowl all day. Be careful not to place the water where it can mix with dry food as it could cause bacterial contamination.
While cats and dog digestive systems can handle bacteria better than humans, wet food cannot be left out for more than four hours. After every wet meal, make sure to store leftovers in the fridge for a maximum of seven days and clean the bowl thoroughly.
Dental Health: Dry food is considered better for a pet's dental health compared to wet food. However, nothing substitutes good dental hygiene. Make sure to regularly brush your pet's teeth to reduce the bacteria that cause gingivitis and bad breath.
Feeding Your Kitten or Puppy: If you have a kitten or puppy, or your pet has lost teeth or has a sensitive stomach, wet food maybe your best option. The soft texture allows for easy chewing and digestion.
Our Recommendation: We recommend you balance between both types of foods. In some instances mixing both foods may be a good, tasty choice for your pet. We recommend you consult with our veterinarian to help you make the best choice for your pet's health.
Foods Your Pet Needs to Avoid
It is essential to know the foods you need to avoid as much as which foods are beneficial for your pet.
Some of the foods considered good for humans are very dangerous for animals and can even cause death.
For foods not indicated for animal use and not included in this list, please consult with our vet before feeding it to your pet.
Foods pets should avoid:
- Candy, such as chocolate, sugary foods containing sugar or xylitol
- Fruit seeds from apple, apricot, cherry and peach
- Chewing gum
- Caffeine in drinks like coffee and tea
- Garlic and Onions
- Tomato, potato green leaves
- Walnuts and Macadamia
Your pet's healthy nutrition is key to achieving optimal health. That's why, at Medical Pet Center of San Antonio, Dr. Scott Weeks gives special attention to your pet's nutrition and is always happy to provide you with advice. For any questions or to book an appointment, contact our San Antonio office today!