Nutrition for Your Pet – Do You Know What They Need?

You might be familiar with the nutrition pyramid to maintain an active and healthy body, but do you know what the most important elements of your pet’s diet should be? Don’t just assume the pet food you buy is complete because it says so on the bag or can! Take your pets nutrition into your own hands by familiarizing yourself with their individual essential needs.

Top Pet Nutrition Needs

  • Dogs: Did you know dogs create their own Vitamin C? That doesn’t mean there still aren’t lots of other vitamins and minerals they need! Calcium, Iron, and Magnesium are three important ones. These can be found in fish, milk, and grains. Scientifically dogs are omnivores like us!  This means their nutritional needs are similar to ours. Their body’s require large amounts of proteins, fats, and fatty acids like omega-6 too. Poultry can be a great source of protein, fat, and omega-6 for dogs. If you prefer to take a vegetarian route just ensure that there is plenty of protein, amino acids, and vitamin B in their diet!
  • Cats: Cat nutritional needs have been greatly misanalyzed in the past.  Taurine is an essential nutrient for cats that was originally left out of commercially produced cat food until a deficiency in it led to a lot of pet deaths. While cats largely have the same nutritional needs as dogs, their systems have a harder time metabolizing plant base sourced nutrients. It’s important that cats receive their nutrition from fish, poultry, or other meats. Taurine is found in adequate quantities in a meat based diet.

  • Rabbits: Contrary to popular belief, a healthy rabbit diet isn’t composed of carrots! Where protein is primary for carnivores and omnivores, fiber is number one for herbivores! Feeding rabbit pellets alone is not recommended for a long and healthy life. An essential source of fiber for rabbits is timothy hay and should be provided in unlimited quantities at all times. 2-4 cups of fresh greens & veggies like kale, carrot tops (not carrots, too much sugar!), broccoli, or spinach per day should provide them with all their essential nutrients. Just remember not to rely on rabbit pellets as the primary source of nutrition – a healthy rabbit must have it’s food source fresh and varied!

Be sure to ask your vet if your pet has any further specific nutritional needs based on their breed, age, or existing conditions!

photo credit: Total tininess via photopin (license)

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