Dietary Dilemmas- let us help you fix them!“What is the best food for my pet” is one of the most commonly asked questions we are asked. There are so many opinions and so much choice, how do we chose? The breeder recommends one thing, the trainer recommends something else, your friends pet has another food altogether. Well, let’s start with the basics. The phrase “you are what you eat” is applicable to our pets as well as ourselves. Good quality nutrition begins at birth. Of course, it is usual for puppies and kittens to be fed with mum’s milk, the most natural and balanced nutrition available. But after weaning, it is up to us to provide the best we can to ensure healthy growth and development, and a diet specifically made for youngsters fills the requirements for them as they grow. These usually cover the period from weaning to approx. 1 year old. As they approach the one year old mark, the dietary requirements change. They no longer need the energy dense food to grow, but instead we should be trying to ensure good long-term preventative health. Adult food should be less calorific with appropriate levels of protein and fat to maintain an ideal weight. This is particularly important for dogs, for whom excess weight can cause mobility issues. A good quality dog food will provide the building blocks of healthy joints – glucosamine & chondroitin. Cat food should help maintain a healthy urinary tract through controlled levels of minerals and pH, in addition to having safe levels of sodium and phosphorus to support healthy vital organ function, particularly the kidneys. And as our babies move into their golden years, good nutrition is as important as ever, but the requirements change again. Mature adult dogs need just the right balance of nutrition to keep healthy. Staying active and fit (and young at heart!) requires healthy bones and organs, strong immunity, healthy teeth, and more. Feeling great means feeling younger and avoiding conditions which can lead to disease. Additionally, some older cats don’t need as many calories to maintain their ideal weight, so they run the risk of gaining weight more easily. Over time, excess weight makes them prone to other related health conditions, making it imperative to keep cats fit and slim after neutering. Other cats may lose weight due to underlying medial conditions, for which a specialised diet may be more appropriate. Easy to digest food with the right fibre blend keeps cats’ digestive systems running smoothly, and high antioxidant levels help bolster natural defences for a long, healthy life. This Friday, 15th July, we have invited Nikki Morgan RVN, Nutritional Advisor and territory manager for Hills Pet Nutrition to stay with us for the day at Walnut Tree to meet with anyone who would like to discuss their pet’s nutritional needs. It will be an informal day, from 9.30 to 4.30, no appointment required. Please feel free to bring your dog or cat along to be weighed and to show you how to check their Body Condition Score, an important way of monitoring obesity or weight loss. Further information can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1125803034109689/ And here: http://www.hillspet.co.uk/en-gb/vetessentials/index.html
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Andre Cilliers BVSc (Pretoria) GPCert(SAM) MRCVS I joined the practice in 2002 after qualifying for the University of Pretoria and became a partner in 2012. I hold a ESPV General Practice Medicine Certificate and have a keen interest in Feline Medicine. I work mostly between the Walnut Tree hospital and our Stoke Road branch, where I hold Cat Only Clinics on Tuesdays. I have three cats Bobbi, Marco and Ludi - possibly the best cats in the world.