March is National Pet Food Nutrition Month

National Pet Food Nutrition

The original purpose of National Nutrition Month was to promote the importance of nutrition for children and adults. Over the years, the veterinary industry has used the month of March to highlight the importance of healthy food choices for companion animals. The most important thing you can do for your dog, cat, or other pet’s long-term health is to select nutritious food, limit treats, and ensure that he gets plenty of exercise. 
 
People don’t always put a lot of thought into the food they buy for their pet. They may naturally choose the brand with the lowest price or pick up something at the most convenient store. However, some pets have special health issues such as joint problems or food sensitivities that require owners to consider their food more carefully. It’s also important to keep in mind that your pet’s nutritional needs change as she passes through each stage of life.
 
Evaluating Food for Your Dog
You may see the word premium on a dog food label and assume that it’s a higher quality than other dog foods. What you probably don’t know is that a dog food manufacturing company can call a product premium as long as it contains a minimum of one percent beef. We encourage you to look closer at pet food labels and have higher standards for the products you purchase. 
 
The healthiest diets for dogs have animal protein listed as the primary ingredient. If you notice grains, fruits, or vegetables, they should be in pure form and not processed. That is because processing these ingredients strips the food of nutrients and vitamins that your dog needs to maintain good health.
 
Evaluating Food for Your Cat
Cats also receive maximum nutritional benefit when an animal protein is the most plentiful ingredient in their food. Some cat owners try to avoid grain-based ingredients because they’re concerned about their cat maintaining a healthy weight. In this case, it’s important to note the carbohydrate content in your cat’s food. Anything containing vegetables or potatoes can have a high carbohydrate count. Small amounts of carbs are okay since your cat can easily convert them into energy.
 
All pet food should have a Guaranteed Analysis on its packaging. This symbol means that the food has met minimum requirements for protein, water, fat, and fiber. For cats, it’s especially important that the food contain fish oil.
 
Speak to Our Staff About Your Nutritional Concerns
Every pet has different nutritional needs based on age, species, lifestyle, general health, and other factors. The annual preventive care exam is an excellent time to go over your pet’s diet with Dr. Palmquist or another member of our staff. We also encourage you to schedule an appointment soon after bringing a new pet home to get off to a great start.

If your pet requires a special diet, keep in mind that we carry Royal Canin, Purina Pro, and other brands in our online store. We also carry the same brands as well as Taste of the Wild directly at Grantsburg Animal Hospital and Wild River Veterinary Clinic.

Photo Credit: Bluebeat76 / Getty Images

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