Pet Health: Am I Feeding My Pet Properly?

Most South Africans are aware that leading a healthy lifestyle contributes to improved mental and physical wellbeing. One of the main aspects of this is, of course, diet. In fact, it’s becoming well understood that the health benefits of organic, fresh foods from health shops and farmers’ markets far outweigh those of non-organic alternatives. However, when it comes to our pets, many of us do not apply the same principles to their diets, and often choose processed kibbles that are laden with preservatives, synthetic digestives, colourants and flavorants over the healthier alternatives available. And as with human bodies, artificial foods with little nutrition can lead to a variety of health problems in our pets. Click here to find out whether it’s okay to bring your pet along wherever you go.

How do I know if my pet is on the wrong diet?

First, do research into the brand of pet food you’re buying. Many store-bought pet foods use very little real meat, in order to
make it cheaper, and the majority of nutrients the food should contain are then destroyed, due to the fact that it gets extruded at extremely high temperatures. And, of course, various preservatives are then added to prolong the product’s shelf life.

Once you’ve done this, take some time to examine your pet. Usually, their skin or coat will be the first to indicate poor nutrition or a health problem, as it’s the largest eliminatory organ in the body. Signs to look out for include itchiness, excessive hair loss, bald patches, inflammation, sores and scabs.

If you’re still unsure whether your pet is getting the nutrients it needs, there are other signs to look out for. Your pet should be slender, have sparkling eyes and a shiny coat, and produce firm stools that aren’t too odorous. Without these positive attributes, it’s time to visit your local vet.

Should I opt for whole foods?

A wholesome diet that contains a fair number of vegetables will do wonders for your animal companion’s health and wellbeing. In 2014, a groundbreaking study conducted by independent animal researchers in West Hollywood was presented at the annual symposium of the American Academy of Veterinary Nutrition (AAVN). It demonstrated that feeding dogs fresh and healthy whole foods instead of highly processed kibble results in improved health.

If you find that you need to improve the quality of your dog’s diet, it is advised to do it slowly, introducing it over a period of a few days or a week. Just remember, a whole food diet has to be balanced and needs to follow veterinary-approved nutritional guidelines if it’s going to work. Click here to find out why your dog loves to see you smile.