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Home / Articles / Pets / Ask the Pet Expert /  Why is your pet’s nutrition so important?
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Monday, June 3,2013

Why is your pet’s nutrition so important?

By Kelly  

Nutrition is just one facet of a holistic approach to health, but it’s an important, if not fundamental cornerstone.

 

Simply feeding a natural, raw or homemade diet, or adding supplements to your pet’s bowl does not constitute “holistic health care” in the true sense of the term. Other factors such as the choices you make about vaccinations, veterinary care, environment & lifestyle (as well as the inherited genetic makeup and predispositions your pet is born with) are also important to consider when giving your furry friend the best chance at great long-term health.

However, what we consume is more than 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 our total wellbeing and while investing in a good quality food may seem costly compared to many of the budget foods available on grocery store shelves, a wholesome diet can help reduce or eliminate many of the unnecessary vet bills that are incurred when nutrition is poor. Look at it this way: you’re going to pay one way or another. Do your research and even consult with a pet nutritionist and then decide what is best for you and your budget.

Highly processed foods, which are produced under extreme heat and pressure, as well as diets that contain artificial chemical preservatives and hard to digest by products, can gradually deplete an animal’s immune system over time and actually make him more susceptible to long term health problems. Chemical preservatives in particular, such as Ethoxyquin, BHA and BHT, have been directly linked to an increased incidence of cancer in pets.

In comparison, a minimally processed diet containing real whole foods, is rich in vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, antioxidants and amino acids that any living thing needs in order to remain strong, healthy and resilient to disease. Just as we would not expect to maintain optimal health on a long-term daily diet of junk food, nor can our pets.

Even if you need a processed conventional type of pet food, incorporating at least some fresh real foods into your pet’s meals (even if it’s only a few times each week) will help to provide additional valuable nutrition, which will help to strengthen his immune system.

Some foods like onions, raisins, grapes, macadamia nuts and chocolate are highly toxic to pets, but many people-foods can be mixed right in with your pet’s meals. Examples include plain yogurt (my dog Friday’s favorite is Greek) eggs, (as long as he is not allergic to chicken) cottage cheese, blueberries, carrots, mango and leafy greens.

 

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