November 10, 2009

What our pets consume is more that just ‘fuel’. It is a source of many vital compounds that can represent the difference between top health and disease. Food is a major factor in total well-being and while investing in a good quality may seem costly compared to many of the budget foods available on grocery store shelves, a wholesome diet can help to reduce or eliminate many of the unnecessary vet bills that are incurred when nutrition is poor.

Consider the needs of the individual animal

Age, activity level, breed and health history as well as food intolerances or allergies, are all very important factors to consider when selecting a diet for your pup. There are many rather gimmicky diets being introduced to the market each year, designed for specific breeds, sizes, life stages and so on – but in actual fact, the nutritional needs of a dog should be based on his or her particular requirements for calories and other nutrients, rather than a ‘category’ that he or she falls into.

What are the downsides of a poor quality diet?

There is a direct correlation between chronic diseases such as cancer, kidney failure, or diabetes, and poor quality food. Of course other factors like vaccines and genetics also predispose pets to disease, but the incidence of these disorders has increased dramatically in the United States since the introduction of commercial, highly processed pet food in 1950’s.

The long term effects of feeding a highly processed diet can also lead to hypersensitivity to the environment. Did you know that when a pet who suddenly becomes terribly itchy, the cause might be narrowed down to something like a new cleaning product being used in the home or a seasonal allergy – but diet plays a role too; poor quality food can actually deplete the immune system, making the animal more susceptible to other health problems. Dogs who enjoy a high quality, fresh and varied diet are often noted to be far less bothered by seasonal allergies and fleas, than their junk-food fed counterparts.

Where does nutrition fit into holistic care?

Nutrition is a fundamental cornerstone to total health. But simply feeding a natural, raw or home made diet, or adding supplements to your pooch’s bowl does not constitute ‘holistic health care’ in the true sense of the term. Other decisions like vaccinations, veterinary choices, environment & lifestyle are also important to consider when giving your pup the best chance at great health. Your holistic vet or practitioner should be able to provide some useful guidance.