The elements of a healthy lifestyle are no secret; they consist of a balance of proper nutrition, exercise and emotional well-being. That’s true for humans and it certainly applies to our pets. Pet foods are formulated for the various stages of your pet’s life and management of various medical conditions. Proper nutrition through a lifetime provides many benefits to your cat or dog:
- Weight and disease management
- Good muscle tone
- A strong immune system
- Ease of digestion
- A healthy skin and coat
Nutritional needs change during your pet’s life due to growth and development, the aging process, and management of various medical conditions. The breed, size, energy level and environment of your pet are also factors in determining proper nutritional needs such as calorie intake and frequency of feeding.
The best way to determine the nutritional needs of your pet is to talk with your veterinarian. Regular exams are important in preventing and managing medical conditions and help determine if a nutritional counseling program would be beneficial. Pets in the later years of the adult stage and those in their senior years, or those with a medical condition should, at the minimum, have biannual examinations.
“There is an obesity crisis in adult pets, with excessive calorie intake being one facet of problem. Proper nutrition and annual exams are vital in preventing obesity. Food quality and nutrient content influence weight gain. Some pet foods are loaded with cheaper carbohydrates. Lower quality carbs are no better for our pets than they are for us. This is why considering nutrition and quality foods from the start are important,” said Dr. Laura Weis.
Choosing quality pet foods for your dog or cat during each nutritional stage is the first step in giving your pet a long, healthy life. However, diet alone cannot guarantee longevity. Physical exercise, emotional well-being and regular veterinary exams are vital to an overall health plan. Work closely with your pet’s veterinarian to learn more about the benefits of proper nutrition, exercise and ideal body condition.