Frequently Asked Questions about Pet Nutrition

Get insight and find the answers to the most frequently asked questions about pets’ nutrition and diet. For more information you can reach us!

  1. Canine Nutrition
  2. Canine Nutrition Requirements
  3. Grain-Free Dog Food
  4. Wet vs Dry Dog Food
  5. Dog Kong
  6. Home-Cooked Diets
  7. Brushing Dogs Teeth
  8. Dogs and Bloat
  9. Feline Nutrition
  10. Cat Nutrition and Diet
  11. Hazardous Cat Food
Frequently Asked Questions about Pet Nutrition

Canine Nutrition

What is the best type of food to feed my dog?

There is no specific food which is the best for every dog. Dogs are unique and as such, may require different foods based upon individual characteristics.

I have heard there are many disadvantages to beet pulp in food. What are the disadvantages?

There are several complaints regarding beet pulp in pet food. Beet pulp could potentially lead to swelling of the stomach and blockage in the intestines.

Why is it dangerous to feed my dog chocolate?

Chocolate is difficult for dogs because it is toxic to the heart and nervous systems in addition to causing diarrhea and vomiting. Learn more about Poisonous Foods for Dogs.

Is it okay to feed my dog table scraps?

Yes, to an extent. Your dog’s diet should not include any more than 10% table scraps. Bones and meat fat should not be fed to your dog.

What is a Conformational Defect?

Any abnormality in your pet’s physical form or structure.

What is the shelf life of my dog’s dry dog food?

Dry dog food is generally good for one year. Canned products are generally good for two years from the date of manufacture.

How should my dog food be stored?

Dog food should be stored at room temperature whether dry or wet. Neither food should be stored in under 50 degrees or above 90 degrees. Once wet dog food is opened, it should be used within 3 days.

My veterinarian recommended that I give my dog canine vitamins. I have vitamins at home, can I share my vitamins with my dog?

No, you should never share your vitamins with your dog. The vitamins humans take can damage the dog’s digestive system and become toxic to the liver and kidneys.

How much should my dog be drinking?

Your dog should be drinking 2.5 times the amount of water as the daily intake of food. For example, if the dog eats 2 lbs of dry dog food, he should be drinking 5 lbs of water.

Why is colostrum necessary for my puppies?

Colostrum is important to the development of the puppy’s immune system. When a puppy is born, their immune system is not fully developed. Colostrum is full of antibodies to help protect the puppies.

How old will be puppies be when they wean from their mother?

Puppies are generally fully weaned from the mother by 7 weeks of age. Around 3 ½ weeks of age, puppies often taste food for the first time.

Canine Nutrition Requirements

Why does my dog need fats in his diet? Aren’t they bad for him?

Your dog needs fats to have a well-rounded diet. The fat allows your dog’s coat to be healthy in addition to ensuring the nose, paw pads and skin is healthy. Fats also provide your dog with energy. Your dog should not be given an unlimited amount of fatty foods, though. Only nine to fifteen percent of your dog’s diet should consist of fat. It is extremely easy for your dog to get too much fat if fed too many treats or table scraps.

Should my dog eat carbs?

Carbohydrates are not as good for energy supply as fats and proteins and dogs should not receive as many carbs as you would think. There is no minimum amount required for dogs; however, dogs who are pregnant or lactating should be given more carbs than others.

I know my dog needs protein in her diet… but why?

Protein is an essential nutrient for a dog’s nutrition plan. Proteins provide the basic building blocks for your dog’s cells, organs, tissues, enzymes and so much more. These are essential for growth, maintenance of the body, reproduction and repair of the body. Proteins can be acquired by your dog via chicken, turkey, beef and/ or eggs.

Should my dog be given vitamin supplements? Do I really need to ask the veterinarian? Why?

A vitamin supplement; however, is not necessary unless the veterinarian requests it. The vitamins should be acquired via the food your dog is consuming. Excess vitamins can also be very dangerous so extreme care should be taken when introducing a vitamin.

Why does my dog need minerals?

Minerals must also be included in the diet and are essential for bones and teeth as well as for normal metabolic reactions.

Grain-Free Dog Food

Is grain-free dog food popular?

Yes, grain-free dog food is trending in today’s society. Pet parents are quickly becoming focused on feeding their dogs a meat-based diet.

Can a dog really meet all of the nutritional requirements on a grain-free diet?

Absolutely. If the diet is fed properly, the grain-free dog food diet could satisfy all of your dog’s nutritional requirements. Each diet of course, needs to be specific to your particular dog.

What are the pros associated with a grain-free diet? Cons?

Grain-free dog food provides your dog with a good source of energy and maintains their energy requirements. Unfortunately though, if your dog does not get a sufficient amount of exercise each day he could easily become overweight. Some dogs are also not very tolerant to this diet.

Is grain-free dog food easily digested?

Yes, grain-free dog food is easily digested since it is composed of primarily meat, vegetables and fruit.

My dog has allergies. Will switching to a grain-free diet get rid of these?

No, not necessarily .Some dogs may be allergic to some type of meat product. This means that feeding the dog a grain-free diet could increase the symptoms and signs of his allergies. If you are unsure, you could obtain an implementation plan. It is important to first consult with the veterinarian, though. The veterinarian will assist you in determining the allergies of your pet.

Wet vs Dry Dog Food

What are the advantages of dry dog food?

Food requires chewing/crunching which helps maintain oral health. Dry dog food also sometimes helps with dog anxiety.

What are the advantages of canned dog food?

Canned dog food provides a lot of water to the dog. The canned dog food is also more easily digested than the dry dog food; however, the canned dog food does not help with oral health so this is something that needs maintained by the pet parent. You could purchase the dog greenies or some other type of chew toy/treat to help the dog with oral health while feeding canned dog food.

How do I decide if wet or dry dog food is best?

The type of dog food you choose ultimately depends on your dog. Some dogs do best on wet dog food while others do best on dry. As the pet parent, this is your decision. What does your pet seem to enjoy the most?

Dog Kong

I hear people referring to Kong toys all the time. What is it?

A Kong is a rubber toy that has a hollow center. The hollow center is used to stuff full of food and provide your dog with entertainment and stimulation. These are excellent toys for all dogs and help relieve many behavioral problems found in dogs!

What can I stuff the Kong with?

You can stuff the Kong with meat (hamburger, steak, roast, etc), peanut butter, or even fruit chunks. Learn more about how to stuff a KONG

Home-Cooked Diets

Are home cooked diets healthier for my pet than buying from the store?

Home-cooked diets will help you be in control of what your pet eats. You will understand what is going into all of the food; however, most home cooked meals are unfortunately not calculated correctly unless done specifically by a pet nutritionist. Home-cooked diets are also significantly more expensive than a commercial diet.

Do I need to include a supplement with home-cooked diets?

Yes, supplements should be given; however, you should first consult with a veterinarian to determine what supplement is necessary.

What are some foods involved in home cooked diets?

Home-cooked diets often include lean chicken (skinless/boneless), liver, fish, boiled pasta, eggs, vegetables, peanut butter and fruits.

Can I make my dog snacks home-made?

Yes, there are many recipes available for dog snacks that can be made at home.

Should I feed my dog the same amount of home cooked food as commercial food?

You should start off with the same portions then move to more or less food once you see how your dog’s body reacts with the home-cooked food.

Should I feed my dog white rice or brown rice?

Dogs have a very hard time digesting brown rice so you should always feed the dog white rice.

My dog has kidney problems. Can I still feed her home cooked food?

Yes, definitely. You should make sure that all of the food you are cooking is high in water content, though.

I am putting eggs in my dog’s food. Should I use the entire egg or just the inside?

Yes, use the entire egg, even the shells. The shell is full of nutrients that are helpful for your dog.

Should I include vegetables in my dog’s home cooked diet?

Yes, vegetables should make up 1/4 of your dog’s diet and can include squash, pumpkin, carrots, green beans, sweet potatoes, yams and/or peas. You should stay far away from onion, potatoes, tomatoes, spinach, garlic and raw beans.

If not done correctly, I know there is a chance of salmonella from food. What are some signs of infection?

Some signs of infection from salmonella include lethargy, vomiting, blood in diarrhea and decreased appetite.

Can my puppy and adult dog both eat the same foods?

No, the puppy and adult dog can not eat the same food. Learn more about how much to feed puppy

Brushing Dogs Teeth

Is brushing my dogs teeth really helpful?

Yes, absolutely! Brushing your dog’s teeth is very important to your dog’s health. Brushing your dog’s teeth can prevent a very common canine disease- gum disease!

How often should I brush my dog’s teeth?

You should brush your dog’s teeth daily. Learn more about How to Brush Your Dog’s Teeth Properly?

What dogs are more likely to get gum disease?

Dogs which have their teeth packed together, like pugs, are more likely to get periodontal or gum disease than dogs with longer snouts.

Can I use human toothpaste for my dog?

No, you should use a toothpaste specially formulated for your dog. The toothpaste developed for your dog can be swallowed whereas our toothpaste should not be.

How old are dogs when they get gum disease generally?

Older dogs about five years old and older are likely to develop gum disease if their oral health is not maintained- even then it is a possibility.

Do Greenies really help my dog?

Yes, actually. Greenies significantly help improve oral health in your dog.

Dogs and Bloat

What is bloat?

Bloat is a condition in dogs which often occurs without us even knowing it. When we worry about it is when the stomach begins to rotate and cuts off blood supply. This also results in the inability for excess gas to exit the body. This is very painful for the dog and is extremely dangerous (could be fatal).

What should I do if I think my dog is suffering from a severe case of bloat?

You should rush to the veterinary hospital immediately. Your dog is likely to be heaving without the ability to produce vomit. The twisted stomach from the bloat will prevent the vomit from coming up.

Are some dogs more prone to bloat than others?

Yes, large dogs are more prone to bloat than smaller dogs. Great Danes, Saint Bernards and German Shepherds are among the breeds most common to experience bloat which requires immediate medical attention.

Feline Nutrition

My cat really enjoys canned tuna. Can I just feed my cat canned tuna as her diet?

No, you should not substitute canned cat food for tuna. Large amounts of tuna will cause the cat to be malnourished and can lead to thiamine deficiency.

Can I feed my dog’s food to my cat?

No, you should not feed your cat dog food. Cat food has significantly more protein than dog food. As such, if fed dog food, the cat can become malnourished.

Why can’t cats eat fat trimmings?

Fat trimmings may cause pancreatitis.

Why can’t I feed my cat raw eggs?

Raw eggs contain an enzyme known as avidin. Avidin decreases the absorption of Biotin which leads to skin and coat problems.

What are the disadvantages of beet pulp in cat food?

Beet pulp can lead to swelling of the stomach and blockage of the intestines.

Can I give my cat milk as a snack?

Cartoons often show cats drinking milk; however, cats do not have the enzymes necessary for the proper breakdown of the sugar in the milk. They are lactose-intolerant. Some pets can tolerate some milk in small amounts; however, others cannot tolerate milk at all.

When looking at the ingredients, I see Taurine in all of the different cat foods. Why is this?

Taurine is an amino acid which is responsible for bile formulation, heart health and eye health. High amounts of taurine are necessary for proper feline nutrition. Learn more about How to Read Pet Food Labels?

Will spaying or neutering my cat make it fat?

No, not unless your cat no longer gets the exercise he or she needs. Neutered and spayed cats burn fewer calories than intact cats; however, this means feeding them less food throughout the day.

I have been feeding my cat as directed on the label and he is gaining weight. Why is this?

The labels serve as a guideline and are based upon what the manufacturer believes is necessary for the pet to consume. The amount of food the cat actually eats should be based upon individual characteristics.

What are some causes of obesity in cats?

Causes of obesity include food type, activity level, age, medications, metabolic disorders and genetics.

Cat Nutrition and Diet

I recently switched my cat to a new diet and he isn’t eating. What should I do?

When your cat’s diet is switched, it may take some time for him/her to get used to his/her new diet. You can try mixing the old food and new food together a little at a time and slowly moving to the new food. This is likely to get your cat’s attention.

Can I feed my cat a fish-based diet?

No, you should not feed your cat a fish-based diet since there are not enough nutrients to support your cat in fish. Fish can be fed occasionally but should not be the main food source for your cat.

I heard cats are obligate carnivores. What does that mean?

Yes, cats are obligate carnivore. This means they absolutely have to eat meat for optimum health. If cats do not have a meat-based diet, they are likely to experience heart attack or blindness.

The label of my cat food says beef; that is okay, right?

Although you know that cat food must consist of meats; you are not aware of what type of meat was used in many cat foods. I highly recommend Nutro brand products since they use the best of all ingredients. They are the brand I have the most experience with and know they are highly trusted.

What is the difference between kitten food and adult cat food?

Kitten food has far more protein in the diet than adult cat food. Kittens are on a “growth diet.” This means they are given the nutrients necessary to grow successfully. Learn more about What to feed kittens?

Can I give my cat vitamins?

No, you should never give your cat a vitamin, especially vitamins prescribed for people. Your cat could overdose on vitamins. It is important that you give your cat a proper diet so the cat has the ability to gain all of his nutrients and vitamins from the food he/she eats.

Is canned or dry food recommended for cats?

Canned food is actually recommended for cats. Canned food is high in water content and allows the cat to feel full which prevents weight problems in the future. Cats require a great deal of water and often do not obtain a sufficient amount of water from drinking; this is where canned food comes in.

Is my cat being overweight really a problem? He looks adorable.

Obesity is associated with a number of conditions harmful to your cat including diabetes, arthritis and UTI’s. This could extremely shorten your cat’s life so it is best not to overfeed your cat. Learn more about What is Pet Diabetes?

Do you have an idea of how many calories my cat needs?

The amount of food your cat needs depends upon each specific cat (activity level, age, gender) but generally most cats need around 30 calories per pound each day.

My cat is eating things that are not food. Is this normal?

This is called pica and is somewhat common in cats. This could be due to a range of things. It is important to first check with your veterinarian as pica is often related to felineleukemia.

How old should my cat be when I start her on senior food?

Cats usually start eating a senior diet when they are about 7 years old.

Hazardous Cat Food

What foods are hazardous to cats?

Chocolate, bread, onions and garlic are all hazardous to cats.

What happens if a cat eats bread dough?

If your cat eats bread dough, the dough will expand in your cat’s stomach which may affect breathing. Also, as the yeast in the dough is expanding, alcohol is being produced which may result in your cat becoming intoxicated. This often leads to vomiting and seizures and could be fatal for your cat. If your cat has eaten bread dough, he/she should be taken to the veterinarian immediately. Read more about 5 Foods your Cat Should Never Eat.

My cat ate some chocolate. Do I have to take him to the veterinarian?

If your cat is acting abnormal in any way, he/she should be taken to the veterinarian immediately.

Why are cats not able to eat onions and garlic?

Onions and garlic, if a cat eats enough (depends upon each cat), the red blood cells can be damaged which may result in the need for a blood transfusion. Often, cats will not eat enough garlic or onions to affect them but you must be extremely cautious.

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