Nutrition and Healthy Weight for Dogs & Cats
What you feed your pet is one of the most important decisions you will make regarding your dog or cat's health and longevity. With so many pet foods available, it can be difficult to know what to choose. Here at Oasis Animal Hospital, we are committed to improving your pet's health and well-being. We demonstrate both the nutritional knowledge and relationship with our pets and clients in order to make the right recommendation.
How do I decide which food to feed my dog or cat?
Pet food recommendations can be broken down based on the presence or absence of nutritional risk factors. Examples of nutritional risk factors include obesity, food intolerances, allergies, and organ specific disease (e.g., kidney disease, diabetes, GI disease, & arthritis).
For dogs and cats without nutritional risk factors, we recommend feeding an appropriate diet based on the life stage and life style requirements. For example, nutritional needs vary drastically for puppies/kittens, young adult animals, pregnant/lactating animals, and geriatric animals. Additionally, a pet's nutritional needs will defer depending on activity level and the spay/neuter status.
If your dog or cat has a nutritional risk factor, our veterinarians will likely recommend a prescription diet according to your pet's medical condition.
Which commercial pet food companies can I trust?
With hundreds of pet food companies to choose from, picking the right food can be a difficult choice. When you examine a commercial pet food label, you will likely be bombarded with terms such as “holistic,” “human grade,” or “premium.” These terms are not regulated and offer no practical value in assessing the food's quality.
A pet food company's reputation and quality is not always easy to determine. Pet owners can be assured of a company's quality and reputation by confirming the following:
The company has a veterinary nutritionist or equivalent on staff
A veterinary nutritionist or equivalent PhD scientist formulates the foods
Their diets are tested using AAFCO feeding trials
They utilize third party or industry recognized quality control measures to assure the consistency and quality of the product line
Their foods are produced and manufactured in a disclosed location that can be visited
They provide a complete product nutrient analysis, including digestibility values
They clearly state the caloric value per gram, can, or cup of food
They conducted research on the products, and the results are published in peer-reviewed journals
Most pet parents don't have the time or energy to research every pet food company. Our team at Oasis Animal Hospital is knowledgeable concerning animal nutrition and diet recommendations. While we can't speak for every pet food company, we trust the following companies to adequately meet the above criteria (in no particular order): Hill's Science Diet, Purina ProPlan, Royal Canin, Iams, and Eukanuba.
How much and how often should I feed my dog or cat?
The amount and frequency of feeding your pet is determined by factors such as life stage, lifestyle/activity, spay/neuter status, body condition, and current medical conditions. For example, puppies and kittens should be fed 3-4 times per day compared to adult animals which are normally fed twice per day.
Some pets can maintain good body condition when fed free choice, however, most cats and dogs require a feeding schedule in order to prevent unhealthy weight gain.