NUTRITION – ADVICE AND SUPPLY
We are what we eat. The animals “of today” now live longer and have healthier lives than their ancestors did. In the 1970’s the average age of a dog was 12 years and a cat was 14 years. Now the average age of a dog is 15 years and the average age of a cat is 17 years.
The main reason for this increase in life expectancy involves better health awareness by the owner and better nutrition.
As a profession we now recognise that animals have different nutritional requirements at different times of their life. We also recognise that different breeds need different nutrition, different life styles need different nutrition, and that neutered animals need different nutrition compared to non-neutered animals.
So when we give advice to owners concerning the animal’s nutritional needs we have to take into account the breed, the age, the stage of development, what activity the animal does, whether is animal is desexed or not, the overall weight of the dog, the expectations of the owner, if the animal has any medical problems, the dentition of the animal, and any other factor that may influence whether the animal will accept the product and the amount of effort the owner is willing to put into supplying the food.
We recommend and sell the complete Royal Canin product range for dogs and cats and we also develop diets that can be cooked at home for dogs and cats. But every animal is different and as the animal ages its needs also change, so we recommend at least once a year that the owner consults one of our animal health professionals to makes sure they are feeding the optimum food for their animal at all times.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best food to feed my dog?
We recommend Royal Canin and Hills for dogs. We only recommend the dry food (kibble).
It is important to use the right sized food product for your animal.
It is important to match the form of the food used to the lifestyle, age and the health or well being of your animal. For example there are puppy foods for small, medium and large breeds. There is food made for neutered (desexed) animals and non neuted animals. There is food for dental problems, intestinal problems, arthritic problems, age problems, weight problems, kidney problems, liver problems etc.
It is important to come and talk to our staff about your animal and we can recommend the best food to keep your animal happy and healthy.
Should I give my dog bones?
This is an area of contention within the veterinary world. There is variation of recommendations of “give no bones” to “give the dog up to 70% of its diet bones”.
It is my recommendation that the owner can give bones to a dog or cat but with some limitation. I do not recommend cooked bones as they splinter when eaten and the sharp ends can cause damage. We try to match the bone size to the dog’s mouth – do not give huge bones to a small dog. The large bones can cause fracture of the teeth – especially the back large teeth and the large bone can cause damage to the structure of the mouth as the dog tries to chew on the bone.
The large bone cut in half to expose the bone marrow can cause a medical condition called pancreatitis and we do not recommend that “marrow bones” are fed to any dog.
Bones do NOT clean teeth and will never clean teeth. The problem of tarter and dental decay occurs near the gum line and the animal uses the bottom of the teeth to chew on a bone – it is not feasible that the animal will get any cleaning action from chewing on a bone. If we want the “giving a bone” to help the mouth then make sure the bone has lots of meat attached – use meaty bones.
If we feed bones then remember the only beneficial part is the enjoyment the dog will get from chewing on a bone.
Can I feed chicken wings or chicken carcasses to my dog?
Yes you can but remember to not cook the bones and match the bone size to the dog. For example a Great Dane can have the whole chicken carcass but I would not recommend feeding the leg bones to a Chihuahua.
How often should I feed my puppy?
When puppies are weaned from their mother the puppy should be fed 6 to 8 times a day.
As the puppy ages it is normal to feed a 3 month old puppy 3 times a day.
At 4 months then feed the puppy twice a day.
Small dogs should be fed twice a day for life.
Big dogs only need food once a day.
What should I be feeding my puppy?
We recommend that puppies are fed Royal Canin Puppy food for their major meals. Depending on the breed of puppy we would be recommending small breed puppy food, puppy food or giant breed puppy food.
Our staff are trained to give you advice on what food to give to your puppy.
I have a new kitten. Does it need special food?
We recommend all kittens are fed food made for kittens but if you cannot find “kitten food” then most adult foods made for cats are OK.
Is dry food better for my cat compared to tinned food?
We recommend a combination of both – dry and tinned foods. Once the cat is over 4 months of age it is best to feed the animal twice a day. It is best to use a variety of different forms of tinned foods – chicken, fish, turkey etc.
We recommend Royal Canin brand for the dry food.
Should I feed milk to my cat?
No, cats are lactose intolerant. They do not have the enzymes necessary to break down lactose and milk can make them get diarrhoea or have flatulent bowels (gas that causes discomfort).
I want to feed meat only to my cat – is there a problem with this?
Yes there is a problem. Cats need very special amino acids and vitamins that are not found in meat. If the cat is not fed these amino acids and vitamins then the cat can develop permanent brain problems or permanent heart problems. It is best to feed dry or canned foods at least 50% of the time to makes sure the cat is getting its essentials products.
Also meat is very deficient in calcium – a mainly meat diet will lead to rickets and osteoporosis.
Can I feed chicken wings or necks to my cat?
Yes you can. Cats are usually very particular about what they eat and what they will swallow that it is very uncommon for a cat to have problems from eating chicken wings or necks.
But most cats do not like chewing on a chicken neck or wing as cats are usually only interested in the meat of the chicken. There is no harm in trying but if you cat does not eat the wing or the neck then maybe it is better to feed a good quality cat food instead.
I have heard you have special diets that I can mix up for my dog or cat?
Yes we do have home based diet recipes. It is important that these recipes are explained to the owner before they start them. If you contact our animal hospital the receptionist or the head nurse will supply these diets to you and explain each ingredient.
As my dog ages, should I be changing his diet?
Yes, as the age of the animal changes from an adult to a senior animal (this applies to dogs and cats) then the body becomes dependent on different products and the activity of the animal demands different ingredients. It is best to feed the dog (or cat) to its lifestyle and its age. We carry a large variety of different foods depending on the animal and its nutritional needs. Come and discuss your animal with our receptionist and get the appropriate food for your animal.
My dog has dental problems – is there special food to help clean his teeth?
Yes there is. Come in and our receptionist will show you the different foods to assist your animal.
Is there special food for arthritis?
Yes there is. There are certain products, when fed to an animal with arthritis, that are the building blocks for good, healthy cartilage. These building blocks include Glucosamine and Chondritin Sulphate. These products are included in some foods made for the more senior animal.We sell these foods and recommend that you come in and talk to one of our trained animal health professionals.