Vet Services Hawkes Bay Ltd

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Pet Nutrition Q & A

By Helen Crawford, Veterinarian

What should I feed my new puppy or kitten?

Puppies and kittens should be fed a good quality commercial food for growth; these will meet all their nutritional requirements. Milk is not necessary after weaning and cow’s milk may result in stomach upsets. Adding any additional supplements could do harm by off-setting the nutritional balance of the diet. The premium diets such as Eukanuba and Hills Science diets further separate small, medium and large breed dogs. This is especially beneficial to large dogs as the diets have the optimal amount of calcium plus joint support supplements to support correct skeletal growth. They need to stay on growth food till 12 months of age or 18-24 months for giant breeds.

These diets provide a feeding guide – the daily amount should be divided into three meals a day until four months then reduced to two meals. Puppies and kittens should be transitioned onto new diets over four days to avoid stomach upsets. Kittens can often be fed unrestricted amounts of food but guides to daily amounts are provided.

What are the advantages of the premium diets?

These diets are highly tailored to meet the nutritional needs of your pet, depending on their breed, size, age and activity level. They offer a prescription range that can replace or reduce the need for medication for some conditions. Many years of research and development have gone into the diets and they are constantly being improved with new lines added as nutritional breakthroughs are discovered.

They are highly convenient to feed and make meeting your pet’s nutritional needs simple, quick and clean! We see a lower rate of illness and disease in pets fed good quality diets – mainly fewer obesity issues, better dental health, less constipation, fewer stomach upsets, and reduced incidence of bladder stones/crystals. Working dogs benefit from higher energy content of the food to promote endurance.

They have high quality ingredients; especially proteins which help minimise stool volume, and exceptional taste (money back guarantee). They support the function of vital organs and skeletal/joint health. Many include dental support systems to prevent tartar build up. Added omega -6 and omega-3 at the correct ratios for pets promotes healthy skin and a glossy coat.

The daily cost of feeding your pet a premium diet maybe lower than you expect and we offer free advice on which diet would suit your pets needs best.

Should I feed my dog bones?

Feeding bones is associated with many potential risks that unfortunately can cause your pet to become very unwell and possibly even require complex surgery. Bones cause fractures to the teeth and splinters can get caught between teeth or jaw bones and become tightly lodged. The worse place they can get stuck is in the esophagus (food tube before the stomach) as it’s a highly inaccessible area and the organ can become damaged quickly from sharp projections. If they get to the stomach they can be too large to pass further, requiring surgery to remove them, or lodge further down in the intestine. Sharp bits in the large intestine can cause pain and bleeding, or result in severe constipation.

We can recommend some bone-like products that are much safer for your pets and are proved to reduce tartar build up.

How do I get my pet to lose weight?

Middle aged and older desexed cats and dogs are very prone to weight gain. Overweight pets have shorter lives and are at risk of developing diseases such as arthritis and diabetes. A prescription diet designed for weight loss is the best approach as we can advise you exactly how much to feed your pet each day. Newer prescription weight loss diets are not based on low fat content, have improved taste and help them feel satisfied between meals. If you are concerned about your pet’s weight, book in with one of our nurses for a complimentary checkup. They can measure and weigh your pet to let you know their ideal body weight, then monitor their progress and make adjustments as necessary.


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