Walk into any super- market or pet store these days and you will be confronted with an enormous array of different products/brands.
This market is worth billions and, just like for people, the marketing departments have been very busy convincing you that their products are the right ones for your pets.
At our centre in Earlston we have a constantly changing variety of animals coming into our care so we try to use a ‘base’ to their food that comprises of a plain dry complete food. The hope is that it will be suitable to the majority. Clearly all of them would have been fed on different brands and types in their own homes but we simply could not feed up to 50 animals with the same they are used to; often we never know what this was anyway.
We top up our base with food that has been donated by the public.The staff and customers of a well known supermarket give us tremendous help and we regularly take in bags, boxes and tins that people bring to our centre.
I’m sure that most of you won’t have the number of pets that we have but the job is still the same but finding the food that is right for your dog or cat is, perhaps, not as simple as it sounds. The pet’s age, size, weight, health and constitution all need to be taken into account. We would always advise that you speak to your vet on your next visit to discuss your pet’s diet. Just like people, cats and dogs vary considerably but you can be sure that there is a product out there that suits yours. Foods are available for urinary problems, gastro issues, skin conditions, weight management to name but a few. Huge variations in price, weight for weight, exist in the market but we can make no comment on which would be best for you. Condition of coat, skin and, importantly, the stools can be good indicators of how well your pet is doing on the food you are using.
In addition to the right food it is really important that the manufacturers guidelines are followed in relation to the amounts given. Clearly, short portions may mean that your pet does not receive the nutrition it needs and over portions could result in weight gain.
Vets can advise on optimal levels of various proteins, nutrients, minerals and vitamins based on their knowledge of your particular pet. They would be happy to help.