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The phrase "You are what you eat" applies to your pets as well -- but do you know what they should be eating? Here are some answers to frequently asked questions on the subject from our Overland Park vet clinic, Blue Valley Animal Hospital.
• Can cats and dogs eat the same foods? As convenient as it might be to purchase only one type of pet food instead of two, cats and dogs should stick to foods meant specifically for them. This ensures that each type of animals is getting the right nutritional mix.
• What do I need to know about dog nutrition? Dogs are omnivores, so they can get their nutrients from a wide range of sources. Ideal dog nutrition includes giving your canine about 18 percent of his calories from protein and less than 15 percent from fat.
• What do I need to know about cat nutrition? Cats are carnivores who must get their nutrients from meat. This is partly because, unlike dogs, they cannot manufacture the amino acid taurine; they must consume the taurine produced by their prey. Proper cat nutrition also calls for twice as much protein for their size as dogs.
• How often should I feed my pet? Your pet's diet will depend on age, size and energy level. Puppies and kittens may need several meals a day to fuel growth and activity, while adult animals may only need two feedings and sedentary senior pets only one.
• What are the dangers of obesity in pets? Unhealthy feeding habits can cause obesity, a dangerous condition that boosts risks of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, liver disease, kidney problems and joint pain.
• What are the symptoms of a pet allergy? Pets who are allergies to specific foods may display signs of digestive upset or itchy skin lesions. Some pets may have dangerous respiratory reactions, including narrowing of the airway that makes breathing impossible.
• Why should I avoid giving my pet human food? Not only do human foods contain too much fat, salt, sugar and other unnecessary substances for healthy dog or cat nutrition, but many common human foods are downright toxic to animals. Examples include garlic, onions, chocolate, grapes/raising and a sweetener called xylitol.
• Can you prescribe a special diet for my pet's health needs? Our veterinarian in Overland Park can weigh your pet and monitor his health through regular exams, dispensing cat and dog nutrition advice and recommending specific diets as needed. For instance, we can discover allergens and come up with a hypoallergenic pet diet. We can also prescribe the right pet diet for weight loss, diabetes, hypertension and other issues.
Your veterinarian in Overland Park, Dr. Spain or Dr. Gardner, will be happy to help you give your beloved pets the balanced nutrition and healthy diet they need. Call 913-681-2818 to set up an appointment today!
New Patients Receive Half Off Exam!
*Applies to Any New Puppy, Kitten, or Adult Pet
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