Diet Matters: Answering questions your clients have about nutrition for dogs and cats

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Published on: 21.08.2018

Presenter:

Marge Chandler DVM, MS, MANZCVSc, DACVN, DACVIM, DECVIM-CA, MRCVS

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About The Webinar

There is no one right diet for all pets. The basic requirements for a diet are to be complete, balanced and safe. In Europe, nutrient requirement standards are set by FEDIAF. The diet should be appropriate for the pet’s lifestage, activity and body condition.
More expensive diets may use more expensive ingredients. They also may use a fixed formula, so that the diet contains the same ingredients every time regardless of cost. Some larger companies have excellent and expensive quality control of ingredients and processing. Some diets have added “functional foods” such as anti-oxidants, prebiotics, omega-3 fatty acids, or other ingredients with a positive effect on health. Some addition costs may be due to marketing on quality claims that don't improve nutritional quality, e.g. natural, grain free.
Hypoallergenic has no meaning as a general term and “human grade” food is also ambiguous in Europe. “Natural foods” are perceived as more wholesome by some owners, although there is only a definition for guidance but no legal definition or regulation.
Commercial diets may include meat derivatives (by-products), which are nutritious parts of animals slaughtered for human consumption that humans choose not to eat. Their use in petfoods decreases food cost and is an environmentally sound way of decreasing waste.
Homemade diets are frequently nutritionally incomplete, and feeding raw foods includes risks to pets and public. The concept of a natural diet is based on an inadequate understanding of nutrition. Feeding bones does not prevent dental plaque or tooth loss and may result in GI obstruction and fractured teeth.
Gluten sensitivity appears to be uncommon in pets. Grain free diets have recently been associated with canine dilated cardiomyopathy, as have some exotic ingredients (e.g. bison). In some cases this is associated with taurine deficiency.

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