Please note that all information that is found on the Did You Know Pages are from my own research and experiences if you are concerned at all about your pets health and wellbeing, please seek professional help from your Veterinarian, Behaviourist or Trainer.
Pets and Nutrition
Nutrition is so important when it comes to your pets health and wellbeing. I have done a lot of research into this over the years and I have completed an advanced cat and dog nutrition course through the animal care college.
What food you feed can affect behaviour, weight issues, bad breath, teeth problems, flatulence, excess waste production to name just a few, ingredients in your pets food can also lead to more serious problems like pancreatitis and digestion issues, joint issues etc.
There are two main things to do when looking at food for your pets and they are read the labels and do lots of research, speak to other owners find out what they are feeding and why, what experiences do they have with the food?
Reading the labels and what they mean.
Ingredients are listed by weight so the first ingredient will be what the food contains the most of.
Dog food and Cat food
This could mean anything, wheat, oats, barley, maize, rice, sorghum. Quantities could change from batch to batch unless it is stated on the ingredients list with a percentage.
Meat and animal derivatives
This can be anything that isn’t used for human consumption. This means that the meat is low in quality. It can contain items like eyes, feet and feathers to name a few.
Meat meal is ok as long as it is a name meat source for example chicken meal, lamb meal etc. Meal is basically ground down clean parts of the carcass ground down in to a powder.
Fresh meat is the higher quality of the 3 meat sources found in food.
Dogs and cats don’t need sugar and colorants in their food, a lot of manufacturers put sugars in to make the animal to eat it because it smells and tastes sweet. Colorants are generally added for us humans because a multi coloured food makes it more appealing to us and we believe that just a plain brown biscuit is boring and that our pet must get bored of this.
Food for Dogs
So in my experience I have found that dogs do really well with a low grain and a high meat content, as long as they are both named sources and have percentages. Most dogs can only digest around 10% of the grain that is in the food. Dogs also get their energy from the carbohydrates that are in the food, because the carbohydrates get made into sugar which then gives the dog its energy, if the food had a high amount of carbs it can cause behaviour issues, especially if the food then contains sugar and colorants as well. The dog has all this energy and is unsure how to use it, then the dog gets frustrated and behaviour issues can start.
Food for cats
Cats are funny animals, they really do like a variety. Cats do really well on a high good quality meat content food and either low or no grain content. Unlike dogs if cats refuse a meal they cant be left with no food, cats generally are graziers so they will generally eat little and often. They generally also like moving water so a water fountain or even a dripping tap.
Rabbits need a Pellet food because if they are fed a muesli mix they will pick what they want and leave the rest so they wont be getting everything they need from their food. They also need lots of long stranded hay and fresh fruit and veg daily. Their diet should consist of 80% hay , 10% nuggets and 10% fruit and veg to give them a balanced diet and to keep their teeth down. Bunnies should be given lots of things to chew on because their teeth are constantly growing. Bunny food should be free from colorants and sugars they don’t need it and you could end up with a overweight bunny.
Guinea pigs are funny little animals and I love them. Guinea pigs are the same as rabbits in the fact they need 80% long stranded hay, 10% nuggets 10% fruit and veg. Guinea pigs must be fed Guinea pig food, now this might sound obvious but guinea pigs can suffer with vitamin c deficiency if they are not fed the correct food they can not eat rabbit food.
Hamsters should be fed a muesli mix because they are natural selective feeders and this is what they would do in the wild. However a hamster only needs a teaspoon of food a day, Hamsters are natural hoarders so they will collect that bowl of food and store it in their bed and then the next day they will do the same and so on, whilst snacking on it throughout the day and night. Hamsters will get very fat quickly. Did you know hamsters can travel 9 miles a night on their wheel.
Gerbils are again natural selective feeders but they prefer to graze feed, so with mine I don’t use a bowl I put the food all around the cage and he goes and finds it, gerbils are very intelligent they need a lot of mental stimulation. They also really like hay which not many people realize.