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  • Northern Illawarra Veterinary Hospital

Discussions Around Diet

Updated: May 20, 2020

We get asked a lot of questions about what is the best diet for your dog or cat.

It is hard to generalise too much as sometimes one diet is well tolerated by one individual but not by another. Here are a few tips that may help you in deciding what to feed.

If feeding a commercial diet, ensure it is a complete balanced diet not just a tasty treat that should only be fed on special occasions. In general the better quality dry foods do have better quality ingredients that are more nutritious and better for health. To some extent you get what you pay for.

There is no evidence that a raw diet is better than a cooked diet. Raw diets risk being contaminated with bacteria and parasites that cause disease.

Bones have to be given raw as cooked bones become hard, indigestible and can splinter and cause gut blockages or even perforations.

Raw bones are great at keeping our pet's teeth clean, keeping them entertained and stimulated but are not without potential risks including broken teeth, choking and obesity or constipation if fed in excess.

There is no evidence that a grain free diet is better than the alternatives. There is evidence of some grain free diets being associated with a serious heart disease known as dilated cardiomyopathy.

A home prepared diet can be a great way to feed your pet but you do have to pay attention to the ratio of meat, fat and carbohydrate content as well as the levels of calcium and phosphorous, especially in growing puppies and kittens or breeding females.

Avoid rich foods such as fatty or preserved meat. Cheese may be tolerated in very small quantities but in some dogs and cats even this is a no no.

The most common nutritional problem we see in dogs and cats is obesity, causing health issues such as arthritis, breathing problems, diabetes, pancreatitis and digestive complaints.

In summary, there is no need to get too complicated with the diet, keep it simple don’t make it too rich and don’t give too much!


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