Nutritional Needs: How Nutrition Can Help Pet Ailments

pet medication

There is no question that we all need to eat in order to live. Many people will even wear a bold “I live to eat” kitchen apron to show the world that food is not only a mere survival tool.

Equally, it is fair to say that animals enjoy their food too. As pets are honorary members of the family, it is important to provide them with quality meals that are both filling and nutritious. Our four-legged friends rely on us to receive the adequate nutrition that they require to support their bodily functions. Not only that, but a suitable diet will also keep potential illnesses at bay.

Nutrition is incredibly important for your pets. This article will look into the nutritional needs of different pets, while also detailing how correct nutrition can help prevent common ailments.

Water

Before outlining the significant role that a good diet can have on the wellbeing of your pet, it is crucial to pinpoint the importance of water. This is fundamental to your pet’s diet and should always be available for your loyal companions. On warm days, they should never be left without. If sufficient water is not available, your friends can quickly suffer and possibly fall very ill.

Furthermore, ensure that their water is clean at all times. In fact, if their water is not changed every so often, it can become dirty and contaminated with bacteria. Ultimately, this may lead to illnesses in the future. Therefore, it is wise to wash their bowls on a regular basis to prevent the build-up of dirt, pests, or flies.

While fresh water is vital to all animals, what are the specific nutritional needs of each pet?

Dogs

Luckily, most dog food you find in shops comes complete with all the minerals that your pooch needs. As with humans, dogs require a mix of nutrients to function properly, from protein and fats to carbohydrates and vitamins. Without an adequate combination of nutrients, they may run into several different health conditions. The ailments brought on by inadequate nutrition can range from heart diseases to bladder stones and pancreatitis.

An adequate intake of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, for instance, will keep your friend’s skin healthy and help them grow a shiny coat of fur. In fact, these acids also have an anti-inflammatory effect, help tackle allergy irritations, and reduce itching. Conversely, your dog’s skin may risk becoming sore and dry, which causes hair to split and fall out.

Moreover, food that is rich in protein, such as chicken and beef, is fundamental for your dog to build and preserve strong muscles. In fact, one of the functions of proteins is to repair damaged cells and renew them. This function is always essential, but it is particularly important in young pooches and pregnant dogs.

Carbohydrates will also aid with your dog’s digestion. They will also provide your furry companions with the right nutrients and facilitate the elimination of waste products inside their bodies.

Cats

In comparison to dogs, cats tend to be quite independent and go about doing their own thing. However, your feline friend requires at least 41 essential nutrients (as opposed to 37 in dogs). To ensure that they stay healthy, you may need to give some extra consideration to their diet.

In truth, this is no real problem as cats are carnivores and should not be fed as vegetarians anyway. Indeed, they rely massively on the intake of ‘taurine’, an amino acid that is found in meat, shellfish, and poultry. Taurine is particularly important for cats as it enhances their eyesight, bile formation, heart wellbeing. Additionally, taurine enhances reproduction for female felines.

As with all animals, you should always monitor their food portions. Cats eat several small meals throughout the day to keep their energy levels high, but you should ensure that their portions are not too abundant. If they consume more than they actually need, cats can easily become overweight or obese. This may trigger an array of health issues, including bone and joint problems. Overeating and obesity can lead to arthritic and joint issues, which often require the prescription of medications such as Loxicom to mitigate the pain.

Horses

To build and keep their majestic physique, horses require a significant amount of nutrition. Horses need an adequate water intake to function normally. Ensuring correct hydration also helps prevent problems like impaction occurring in the intestines, often referred to as ‘impaction colic’.

You may find that you need to encourage your horse to stay hydrated. Pouring a bit of flavouring such as apple or cranberry juice into their water will make their drink much more enticing.

Moreover, it is crucial to provide growing foals with a wide variety of nutrients. Their diets must include many specific nutrients, from calcium and phosphorous to fibre (forage) and protein. A mix of nutritious food will prevent the development of orthopaedic diseases that can affect the joints, bones and plates of your foal.

Rabbits

As for most domestic animals, prepared pet foods in supermarkets contain all the right nutrients that your bunny needs. Rabbits’ teeth grow continuously, so it’s important that their diet is just right. The wrong intake of food may lead to painful conditions, including dental abscesses and the misalignment of teeth.

By chewing hay and grass that are rich in fibre, rabbits can trim their teeth before they overgrow. Moreover, it will also help them maintain an efficient gut movement. Equally, it is fundamental to balance the right consumption of calcium and phosphorus to keep their body in shape.

Finally, vegetables provide your bunny with all the vitamins and roughage that they require. They can start eating them as early as three months of age, but be careful to introduce new greens one at a time. Some, indeed, may cause tummy upsets. For instance, kale and spinach contain high levels of oxalates which may obstruct the digestive system in the long run. That is why it is crucial to balance their intake accordingly (perhaps once or twice a week).  

All pets need fresh water and nutritious food to stay healthy and full of energy. What is also true is that each animal has their own dietary requirements. Following these requirements is essential in preventing the onset of unpleasant and discomforting health conditions. If you are aware of your loyal friends’ nutritional needs, you are on the right track to nourish them. You can prevent common ailments and satisfy the culinary wishes of your beloved pet.

We hope that this article will help you ‘cook up’ the perfect menu for your beloved pets.    

Sources

https://www.acseduonline.com/blog-managing-animal-nutrition-and-health-157.aspx

https://www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/pets/dogs/diet

https://www.pfma.org.uk/the-nutrients-your-cat-needs

https://www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/pets/cats/diet

https://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing/articles/135233/using-nutrition-to-prevent-and-manage-equine-disease

https://equimed.com/health-centers/nutrition/articles/your-horses-diet-as-it-relates-to-diseases-and-conditions

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