For the main course I would like…Part Two
Let’s beam clarity over the type of complete diets lining an increasing number of aisles in the pet stores and supermarkets. Take the eye away from clever and trendy packaging for a moment; the basics of diets (bar prescription or specialised diets) are the basics for all of them. Get this down, and then we may progress from our solid foundation onto more fancier interesting factors.
Dilemma number one:
Dry or wet food?
From a nutritional angle, both of these are the same, which one do we choose to invest our money in, is primarily our decision. Dried food (biscuits/kibble) wins more rounds in the ring, in my humble opinion.
In the blue corner, dried food:
❀ More convenient and less messy.
❀ Easy to weigh out.
❀ Helps clean their teeth and maintain dental hygiene. The abrasive action of crunching the biscuits results in a mechanical -almost brushing action – against the tooth and gum lines.
❀ Easy to store.
❀ Allows you to use part of their daily allowance as treats or in treat balls/puzzle games.
❀ Can’t cut your finger on those cringing tin lids – clear winner for me.
❀ Smells less.
And weighing in at the red corner…wet food
❀ Tendency to be more palatable, especially for felines as it smells rank stronger.
❀ Easy to eat – those with painful mouths may struggle a little with biscuits.
❀ Opened tins and pouches require storage in the fridge. Pets have a dislike towards cold food… salad however chic will never smell as good as a roast. Waiting for it to reach room temperature involves remembering to take it out in the first place, and a bit of a bore all round.
❀ Can be more expensive.
❀ Dental hygiene and the teeth take a battering. Wet food sticks to teeth like superglue. A perfect environment for already present bacteria to multiple, increasing; staining, gingivitis, bad breath and dental disease (more from the tooth fairy in later blogs).
Dilemma number two:
Life stage or breed specific diets?
The lovely pet food companies are widening our choices with more personalised food. Age, breed, neutering, illness, weight, pregnancy and activity all influence nutritional demands. Single out, note or tick with a posh pen which is more tailored for your pet’s requirements and lifestyle, it’s a the new fashion quiz…Yes, food shopping just became more fun.
Life stage diets, yo!
Puppy and kitten – Energy dense, increased in protein and minerals, because being cuddly is hard work!
For large breed puppies (i.e. weighing 25Kg or more as an adult), feed large breed puppy diets. Energy is lower to prevent excessive weight gain, plus calcium and phosphorous are controlled to aid bone formation and joints.
Adult – Contain the standard amounts for maintenance. Again, if your dog weighs over 25Kg they need to be fed a large breed diet.
Neutered pets – Post neutering, your pet is at a higher risk of gaining weight as calorie requirements are lower and metabolism is slower. Chomping their way through their pre-neutering diet and allowance will whip the pounds on. Neutered diets control the amount of energy and allow for the metabolic changes of the body following neutering. Alternatively a light version of the said adult diet may be fed.
Pregnancy – Pregnant bitches and queens request puppy or kitten diets darling. Continue to serve this during pregnancy and whilst they are feeding their young.
Working – e.g. racing Greyhounds, the agility dog crew and so on, require higher energy and digestibility from their food.
Senior –Reduced in energy and protein mixed with increased vitamins. Organs start to slow down and deteriorate as age creeps upon them. Senior diets allow for this, enabling it to be as smooth as can be for the body to digest and use the nutrients. Senior life begins at around 8 years old for our furry friends, unless they are a large or giant breed in which case, it is around 5 years old, crazy huh.
Breed Specific diets
As the name suggests, these are diets for individual breeds of dogs and cats. Personally I love these; they’re very Desperate Housepets.
Most breeds are prone or pre disposed to certain problems or diseases. Breed specific diets tackle those little devils and aid prevention. Each diet usually targets three or more issues, or devils.
Attention to the shape of the biscuit has also received fabulous scientific investigation and different for each breed. Some examples include almond shapes, squares, or round with a hole in the middle. There are no heart-shaped ones yet though (sad face). This aids your pet picking the food up and chewing it properly – a difficulty faced by many flat-faced breeds, where biscuits disappear into jowls never to be seen again.
Examples of some predispositions and breeds:
Weight gain – Labradors, Cocker Spaniels, Pugs. It’s formulated to try and maintain an ideal weight.
Skin problems – West Highland White Terriers, Bulldogs, German Shepherds. It’s formulated to support the skin barrier, promote and maintain healthy skins and coats.
Heart function – Cavalier King Charles, Boxers, Persians. It’s formulated to support and maintain heart function.
Dental disease – British Short Hair cats, Shih Tzus, Yorkshire Terriers. It’s formulated to help maintain dental care and reduce the build-up of tartar.
Joint problems – German Shepherds, Great Danes, Maine Coon. It’s formulated to aid and support joints, and mobility.
Digestive problems – German Shepherds, Siamese, Great Danes. It’s formulated to maintain often very sensitive digestive systems.
It may feel like pick a card, any card but we’ll do it. Choose the best for your pet, your lifestyle, your standards and what your intuition tells you.
If you have further questions or would like guidance please do give me a shout. If not, proceed to the next step of coolness – How to serve your pet’s dinner… And you thought you could just throw it in a bowl, ha!
Rave on gang
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