pet nutrition.

We all know how important a good diet is to our overall health and longevity. When it comes to the best information on pet nutrition, who better to look to than your own Arlington Animal Hospital? Healthy pets are what we do, and we know all about the nutritional needs of pets and how to help them thrive.

Pet Nutrition Demystified

Understanding how to properly feed an animal may seem straightforward, but there is often a lot more to it than meets the eye. A balanced pet diet is more than just throwing some chicken and veggies in a bowl. Micronutrients, mineral rations, and carbohydrate sources require some knowledge. 

For most pets, feeding a professionally-balanced diet is the way to go. While almost everyone is trying to sell you something and you need to exercise some caution, in reality, many pet foods provide acceptable nutrition.

How do you pick the best one for your pet? Pay attention to the following:

  • The manufacturer’s name and contact information on the bag. Being able to easily find this information is important to answer many of your questions and believe it or not, it’s not always easy. 
  • The life stage a food is formulated for—a growing pet has different needs than a senior pet. Some foods are labeled for “all life stages,” but this is often not ideal. 
  • Whether the pet food company employs at least one qualified nutritionist such as someone with a PhD in animal nutrition or board-certification by the American College of Veterinary Nutrition
  • If the pet food manufacturer owns the plant where their food is made—this typically means better oversight and quality control.
  • What quality control measures the pet food manufacturer has in place
  • Whether the diet is tested through AAFCO feeding trials versus formulated—testing is the gold standard for diet development. 

The Pet Nutrition Alliance keeps an up to date database of much of this information. How does your pet’s food stack up?

Pet Diet Tips

Feeding pets for health is a great goal. Choosing a good foundation diet is a great start, but there are definitely other things that you can do to support healthy pet nutrition. 

Be sure to:

  • Keep treats to less than 10% of your pet’s daily caloric intake
  • Encourage adequate water intake by offering fresh, clean water at all times
  • Know your pet’s daily caloric needs (contact us for help with this)
  • Choose low calorie options for treats such as baby carrots or Cheerios
  • Ask our staff before adding supplements to be sure that you are doing so safely and effectively
  • Enrich your pet’s brain by feeding meals out of treat balls or indoor hunting feeders
  • Avoid raw food diets 

A balanced pet diet is important for helping your furry best friend thrive. We are here to help support you in helping this happen. Don’t hesitate to ask if you have questions.