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Last Updated: 3-29-2019

What do I feed my pet?

Nutrition.  What a complicated world it is out there! As a veterinarian, the amount of information and misinformation out there is extensive these days.  Mostly what I will tell you is beware.  The amount of marketing to tug at your purse and heart strings is at an all time high.

My job as a veterinarian is to make recommendations based on science and research.   I add to that 27 years of veterinary experience as well as continuing education, research journals, industry research as well as seeing what the so-called experts down the street at the pet stores are telling you and me, the consumer.

Nutrition is required to live.  That’s a fact that we can all agree on.  There are adages like “you are what you eat.”  If one consumes more calories than needed, weight gain will occur.  Good food can cost more than “cheap” food but the value can be priceless for the body.   I believe in moderation in everything including moderation!  I do not eat 100% organic.  I know I feel better when I eat more whole foods, fruits and vegetables.  Some days I clearly eat better than others.  I know nutrition is just one of many factors that fuel my well-being. If I ate well but never exercised, I would not be well.  If I ate well but smoked a pack of cigarettes a day, I would not be well. 

For now, I strongly advise our clients to use these resources when you are asking questions about feeding your pet.

Talk to us at every appointment with questions that you may have.  While people may have the best intentions in mind, please know that scientific proof and  research is lacking in so many internet articles out there. 

Please check out Petfoodology as well as this article, Selecting the Best Food for your Pet from WSAVA.

I feed my pets a variety of brands as well as treats.  There is not any one brand that I recommend.  Unless you grow it or raise it, there is a level of not knowing everything about it.  And even if you grow or raise it, it’s not without risk.  Our cucumber crop is not good this year due to a soil imbalance.  Tufts researchers uncovered lead in eggs from backyard chickens that free-ranged in contaminated soil of owners with the best intentions to have chickens produce eggs from them.

I feel variety in brands helps protect against recalls and availability issues.

For my feline patients and my own cats, I recommend canned food as their primary diet and dry can be fed as well but should not be the only source.  Cats are not as big water drinkers as dogs.  Having a smaller dish like the size of a ramekin often entices a cat to drink more.  Having a few around the home really helps with cats. For dogs, I recommend dry as well as canned.   

I do feel “toppers” or “people food” is acceptable as long as it does not make up more that 10-15% of the pet’s diet. 

Do not feed your dog grapes, raisins, onions or chocolate.  Here is a link to a more extensive listing of articles for both dogs and cats can be found here:

***This is my most recent update to this section on the BANHC website mostly in response to the tremendous amount of “stuff” about feeding your dog grain free diets.  I decline calling it information as most of it is marketing and not based on scientific research. 

Please talk to your veterinarian about the health of your pet!

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