Friday, September 23, 2011

Diet- Pet Care Tips During Tough Economic Times

In part two of the series I will discuss the importance of pet foods / diets & helping you make a choice during these tough economic times.

Now a day you can go to almost any store and find pet food, whether it is a convenience store, a drug store, super market or pet store. More often than not, there will be many choices of foods from dry to can, store brand or premium brand, regular, all natural or holistic, for specific breeds, good for specific things such as a nice coat, the teeth, sensitive for the stomach or for hairballs and the list keeps going.

So how do you choose between all of these? Now that times are tough you might find yourself wondering if the $5 bag is just as good as the $50 bag and whether or not you will place your pet at risk by feeding a cheaper diet. With all the pet food scares that have occurred what brand do you trust?

Honestly, I have my own dog on a basic diet from one of the major brands, nothing fancy, yet it is from a company that has been around for a long time making dog food.

So what is my recommendation? Well, for starters routine veterinary exams are recommended to make sure your pet is healthy and that there is no reason for your pet to be on one diet versus another. I tell my clients with a healthy pet to pick from any one of the major brands that are out there (usually I throw out a few names in no particular order) as they are all complete and balanced (AAFCO approved). I also ask them to name a few of the brands/types they were thinking about and see if there is any reason to give or not to give that particular product. If there is one you had used in the past or one your family or friends use for their pets without a problem you may think about trying that type.

Having your pet on the right diet will ensure that they are healthy, poor quality diets may cause health problems down the line that may harm your pet and end up costing you a lot more to treat. Also, feeding your pet table scraps is not the best idea. Not only can they develop severe gastrointestinal signs (vomiting, diarrhea) or inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis) that requires hospital stay, they are also not completely balanced and missing many of the nutrients, vitamins and minerals a pet needs. If you plan on cooking for your pet make sure you have consulted with your veterinarian before hand to make sure you are supplementing what is necessary to make sure your pet is receiving a healthy meal.

So next time you are contemplating switching foods (for whatever reason), speak with your veterinarian first to make sure it is OK and also to get instructions about slowly changing over to the new diet. Start by purchasing a small bag or a few cans to see if your pet likes it, even if it is more expensive initially. You wont save any money if your pet hates the new giant bag or case of food you purchased. Remember the most important rule, no matter how healthy or nutritious a food may be, it wont work if your pets aren’t eating it!

Next time I will discuss supplements, are they really needed?