by Pauline Clayton, DVM and Katy Johnson, DVM
Memphis Animal Clinic
733 East Parkway South (at Central Ave.)
Memphis, Tennessee 38104
As pet parents, we all want what is best for our faithful companions. The choices and resources available for everyday care can become overwhelming. Even the most basic need, such as diet and nutrition, come with endless options. The most popular types of diets are commercial, grain free, prescription diet, homemade, and raw.
How do you know which to choose? The best resource available is your local veterinarian. The doctors and trained technicians are happy to evaluate and determine which type of diet is best for your pet. A proper diet needs to start during the puppy and kitten stage. Puppies and kittens should eat a diet specially formulated for this stage of life for the first eight to twelve months. The adult stage in life ranges from one to seven years of age. Senior formulated diets should be incorporated thereafter.
Good choices for all stages of life can be found on any budget or for any health concern. Major commercial brands can provide well balanced nutrition for your pet, however a recent influx of recalls could easily cause a pet parent to question what type of diet is best.
Wanting to know exactly what goes into your pet’s diet can lead an owner to try a homemade diet. Veterinarian concerns for homemade pet foods are making sure to provide the best nutrition without causing other health issues. Home cooked pet diets often lead to issues such as pancreatitis. Transitioning to a raw diet triggers concern for salmonellosis or zoonosis concerns for humans or other pathogenic contaminants. Raw diets can spread illness to pet and pet parent if not prepared with extreme caution. Studies have shown that an estimated 6-10% of raw diets were positive for salmonella while none of the conventional diets showed any trace. Escherichia coli (e-coli) were isolated from all types of diets. It was found in almost 50% of the raw food diets but in only 8/24 (33%) dry and 2/24 (8%) canned diets.
Fad diets become as popular with pets as they do humans. Grain free diets have become a major focus in recent years. Grain free has been sensationalized to aid with minimizing suspected allergies. The fact is that food allergies are very uncommon, so there’s no benefit of feeding pet foods containing exotic ingredients. And while grains have been accused on the internet of causing nearly every disease known to dogs, grains do not contribute to any health problems and are used in pet food as a nutritious source of protein, vitamins, and minerals.
Prescription diets are directly prescribed from your veterinarian. These diets are highly specialized to aid with chronic disease and provide the best nutritional support for your ailing pet. Diabetes, kidney disease, obesity, urinary issues, and allergies are some illnesses can all be positively supported through prescription diets.
To ensure that your pet has the best quality diet for their specialized needs and/or stage of life, consult your local veterinarian. They are your trusted partners and want what is best for your pet.
Want more info? Go to https://avmajournals.avma.org/doi/abs/10.2460/javma.232.5.687 or https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Dominique_Bureau/publication/242411975_Rendered_products_in_fish_aquaculture_feeds/